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Stress-Free Living

Work-Life Balance: What It Really Means

Everybody talks about work-life balance, but what does it really involve? Glad you asked! Here are the six components of work-life balance. Master these, and you’ve got it made in the shade:

  1. Self-management

Sufficiently managing one’s self can be challenging, particularly in getting proper sleep, exercise and nutrition. Self-management is the recognition that effectively using the spaces in our lives is vital, and that available resources, time and life are finite. It means becoming captain of our own ship – no one is coming to steer for us.

  1. Time management

Effective time management involves making optimal use of your day and the supporting resources that can be summoned – you keep pace when your resources match your challenges. Time management is enhanced through appropriate goals and discerning what is both important and urgent, versus important or urgent. It entails knowing what you do best and when, and assembling the appropriate tools to accomplish specific tasks.

  1. Stress management

By nature, societies tend to become more complex over time. In the face of increasing complexity, stress on the individual is inevitable. More people, distractions and noise require each of us to become adept at maintaining tranquility and working ourselves out of pressure-filled situations. Most forms of multi-tasking ultimately increase our stress, versus focusing on one thing at a time.

  1. Change management

In our fast-paced world, change is virtually the only constant. Continually adopting new methods and re-adapting others is vital to a successful career and a happy home life. Effective change management involves making periodic and concerted efforts to ensure that the volume and rate of change at work and at home does not overwhelm or defeat you.

  1. Technology management

Effectively managing technology means ensuring that technology serves you, rather than abuses you. Technology has always been with us, since the first walking stick, flint, spear and wheel. Now, the rate of change is accelerating, brought on by vendors seeking expanding market share. Often there is no choice but to keep up with the technological Joneses, but you must rule technology – not vice versa.

  1. Leisure management

Leisure management acknowledges the importance of rest and relaxation – that one can’t short-change leisure, and that “time off” is a vital component of the human experience. Curiously, too much of the same leisure activity, however enjoyable, can lead to monotony. Thus, effective leisure management requires varying one’s activities.

Jeff Davidson is founder of the Breathing Space Institute in Raleigh, N.C. He offers keynote presentations and workshops on work-life balance. For more information, go to www.breathingspace.com.

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