How to Balance Your Personal and Professional Life

I was recently asked by an aspiring multi-professional about the busyness of the hustle, particularly how to manage irregular work hours and what effect that has on one’s quality time. Great question.

The answer:

Give equal priority to both your business and personal obligations.

It is not impossible, nor is it pointless. We don’t have to look any further than the biographies of some moguls to know that greatness cannot be defined alone by one’s accumulation of wealth or prominence. Walmart founder, Sam Walton, was one of the richest men in the world. And what words did he reportedly utter from his deathbed? “I blew it.” Yes. Quite an epiphany. Despite his fortune, he was among the most miserable of the needy, having let the relationships that matter most disintegrate into alienation.

Balance

Make no mistake. This isn’t one of those anti-money rants. Not even close. After all, the only way to create more individual and community autonomy is for each of us to have more financial competence. However, success ought not to be measured just on the career front. Success Principles author, Jack Canfield, believes there are seven arenas one should cultivate in order to possess true and balanced prosperity:

  • Finance & Wealth
  • Career
  • Free Time
  • Health & Appearance
  • Relationships
  • Personal Development
  • Community & Charity

Time Management

Seems like a lot, huh? Well, it’s manageable. Now, besides the why, I’m also going to show you the how. Understand that a person who flakes on simple meet-ups may either have their standards twisted or they haven’t yet learned how to maximize on the use of their scheduling tools. If you are among the former, I concede that there’s nothing I can do for you here; Caring about your relationships is certainly something that is internally motivated. If you are among the latter, take comfort in the fact that you aren’t alone. Productivity skills are for the most part learned. The key: Respect for and mastery of your calendar.

In my own setup in Google calendar, I’ve created these primary categories:

  • Make Money
  • Arts
  • Friends & Family
  • Home & Personal

Make Money is what others might label Work (I’ll explain the difference in semantics in a later post). It’s whatever is business-related: whether it’s an actual job, or it’s a consultation I offer or a seminar I attend that may positively affect the trajectory of my profession.

Arts. They’re a big part of my research, both as a creator and as a leader. So this calendar contains lots of art shows, performances, workshops, and conferences.

Friends & Family includes dinners, coffee talk, birthday parties, holidays, or even time with a buddy at the rock climbing gym.

Home & Personal is “me” time. Anything related to a visit to the beach, exercise, grocery shopping, laundry, a vet appointment for my dog, or home improvement.

It is critical that we catalog everything. Otherwise, we can too easily “Sam Walton” our friendships and family time, making the poor assumption that forgiveness will rewrite what people remember about our core ethics. In the method I describe above, EVERYTHING is scheduled. Not just the supposedly important Work stuff; All of it is important. Give each event a specific time and day allotment. This way, you can realistically (i.e. honestly) determine whether you can or cannot commit to any invitation, however big or little.

As a result, you will be able to shape a legacy that will far outlast any money you make and any growth your business may undergo. That of your sense of integrity, your propensity for congruency, and your strength of contract with your own word… so that you may save your voice for a message more poetic and serene when it’s time for you to slip away into that great unknown.

POST SCRIPT: Here’s another book I highly recommend for keeping your personal and professional projects in balance! GETTING THINGS DONE: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

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3 responses to “How to Balance Your Personal and Professional Life”

  1. […] week, I received this letter in response to my recent post: How to Balance Your Personal and Professional Life. Just read what you posted about scheduling every part of your life–it really resonated with […]

  2. […] a topic that I’ve touched on a few times in other blog posts: Sustainability Starts With Self and How To Balance Your Personal And Professional Life. And when I mention self-care, I am not referring to ‘treating yourself’, busting out the […]

  3. […] promised in my last post, I will explain why my “Work” calendar is labeled “Make […]

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