I meet very few people who say that they have a balanced life and wouldn't change a thing. For most, there is the ongoing struggle between work and home where one seems to overpower the other. A lot of this struggle has to do with the unfair demands that we place on ourselves.
Finding what you value can help with this dilemma. Company values are different but work on a similar process, they determine what the company holds as important which underpins their operations. Company values are described in many variations of the same general theme - one team moving in one direction to reach a common goal, respectfully. Your personal values can be seen in a similar vein.
There is a difference between what you value and your core values, what you value is simply what is important to you whereas your core values are much deeper. Think of your core values as being ingrained into your brain and what underpins your operations just as business values do.
To truly bring balance to your life, you need to establish your core values and act within those. Identifying your core values can be achieved by undertaking an exercise with a reputable psychotherapist/psychologist or through one of the many online questionnaires.
However, to start the process of bringing balance back to your life, identifying 'what you value' and is a great start. So how do we find what we value and bring a bit of balance back to our busy life? Here is a simple exercise that may work for you;
- Write a list of what you value the most - family, partner, work, a sport, a hobby, money, church, spirituality, recreation, career, your pets, tramping, etc. Get as specific as you can. For example, name your hobby, name your sport.
- Between 5 and 8 is a good number for this list of what you value - any more than that and you have way too much going on. Cut your list down and focus on the new list of just 5 to 8.
- Examine each item of what you value - beside each value, write a number between 1 and 10. 1 means you are not achieving everything that you want to achieve, you feel you should be doing more on that value, you struggle thinking about it all of the time. 10 means you are achieving everything that you want to, you are happy with it and content that everything is going well for that value.
- Examine the value with the highest number - then make a list of the tangible factors as to why you believe that you are achieving everything for this one value. It could be factors such as time, money, travel, friendship, reaching goals, etc.
- Select one of the values with the lowest score - the value that you most want to strengthen, the one that is very important for you to add value to.
- Select one factor from your strongest value - now introduce that single factor into your weakest value. For most of us, that factor is 'time'. Regardless of what the factor is, the way to get the greatest change for the longest period is by selecting the smallest introduction of that factor. How was Mt Everest conquered, not one step at a time, one SMALL step at a time.
- Assuming 'time' is your selected factor, what small thing can you do continuously that does not affect what else you value? If you want to spend more time with your partner for example, look at what you are doing at home - can you help them in a regular task, sit with them for 5 minutes, make them a tea or coffee - every day. Perhaps you can combine your strongest value with your weakest, walk your dog with your partner if pets was your strongest value.
Small things done consistently make a massive difference in our lives. Why, because most of our concerns around not achieving in areas that we value is based on our perception. It's in our mind. We are most often doing better than we think we are, we just don't know it.
Making a practical, tangible change in your life WILL change your perception and bring that much needed balance back into your life.