A few weeks ago, my 5-year-old daughter and I were having a conversation about a wedding she went to with Holly. She was telling me about how much fun they had on the dance floor, spinning in circles and dancing with the other kids her age. I told her, “I wish I could have been there, but I had to work.” She responded flatly, “I wish you could have been there too, Daddy. But you have to miss lots of important days because of your work.”
And there it was…the response I’ve been dreading for years. Up to now, my children have been young enough that they haven’t noticed my schedule that much. Luckily, I have yet to miss anything important of theirs – mostly just extended family events – and I do spend almost all of my free time with the family. But how long is that defense going to last. As they get older and become more involved in different activities, I’m sure that I am going to have to miss the occasional game, recital, or event – much to their disappointment.
These are the type of moments that make me wonder how much money is enough? They are moments that make me look at what is happening in my life and have me questioning if I am heading in the right direction. I find myself asking tough questions and making adjustments as I go along. Here are a few things I look at when it appears that I may need more balance in my life.
- Family Time – Obviously, we all need to make a living. While hard work certainly has its rewards, we sometimes get so wrapped up in our work that we forget to prioritize what is most important in our lives. Nobody ever looks back on their life and says, “Man, if only I had spent more time at the office.” No. They look back and wish for more time with the ones they loved. Make time for your family. Be truly present with the ones you love. Make some memories. Spend less time building your resume and more time building your eulogy. As we all know, time is the most precious resource we have.
- Find a Hobby – Do you remember what it was like to be a kid, always looking for things to entertain and excite you? I don’t know about you, but most of my childhood was spent carefree, just playing. All we did was look for ways to have fun. When we become adults, we often lose that sense of freedom, that sense of play. However, we all need ways to unwind – now more than ever. When you are feeling out of balance, look for things that make you feel like a kid again. Find a hobby. Have a snowball fight. Play a board game. Travel. Have some fun…and find some balance.
- Exercise and Diet – Honestly, growing up, I wish that my sports coaches hadn’t used running as a way to punish us for poor play because my adult self must associate exercising with punishment. Yet, whenever I’m not getting enough exercise, it shows through in my attitude and energy levels. The same goes for my diet. When I’m not eating right, I feel run down and crabby. Diet and exercise can have a profound impact on our life balance. If you want to take care of your mind, you have to begin by taking care of your body.
- Get Some Sleep – Do you ever wake up feeling like this guy?
Yeah, me too. That is usually when I haven’t been getting enough sleep. Sleep can be the key to acting like the decent human being that you really are. (You’re good! You really are!) Not only does it affect your mood and energy, it also helps with your productivity and creativity. So, turn off that last episode of Game of Thrones and hit the sack Jack (Gleeson).
- Control Your Finances – Do you wanna know what makes most people feel crazy? Not being in control. And, guess what…when you are not in control of your money, it can have a ripple effect on the rest of your life. So, balance that budget. Be deliberate with your money. Stay in control.
After reading my own words, it looks like I’ve got a little bit of balancing work to do. Here’s hoping these tips can help you bring some balance into your life as well.