“We have a credit or surplus when we invest or put in more than we’ve taken out.”
A balanced life style seems to be the solution to many situations we face. The balance must entail work, health, social, spiritual, mental and physical aspects of your life. If you’re not balanced you want to have a surplus or credit—you’re doing more than you need to. There are two states that we can find ourselves in when things are out of balance—surplus or deficit. These terms are a part of everyday economics, but they can be generalized to apply to all aspects of our lives. We have a credit or surplus when we invest or put in more than we’ve taken out. A credit is therefore something we’ve earned and have already paid the price to deserve it. Debt or deficit, on the other hand, occurs when we’ve taken out more than we put in the first place—an overdrawn account. We’ve enjoyed a benefit, but we’ve yet to do what it takes to earn it—we’ve not paid the price yet! Just like your bank account, a deficit is never a good situation to be in. A person who is overweight has an exercise deficit, they are eating (the benefit), but have not done what they needed to do (exercise) in order to keep their weight and health in balance.
Achieving balance is as much an art as it’s an important part of mastering our careers. It’s working smartly so that you’re not forgetting why you’re doing what you’re doing. It’s leaving time to evaluate and live a more complete life that is not skewed to any one particular task or responsibility you might have. There are many ways to achieve this, and the best way is the one that works for you. It is important that you’re able to measure in real time what one strategy does for you compared to another. It’s difficult to compare two situations categorically without some form of measurement or metric to track the difference. You might change your strategy and it feels good, but it doesn’t mean you’re getting any more productivity or efficiency. Examine the inputs and outputs related to your tasks and see if there are things that you can monitor that makes a difference between the two. Once you identify them, keep a log and track your performance over time. This will give you a metrics to track your performance, but also to track the task if you decide to delegate the responsibility to someone else.
“As long as your organization allows flex time, use it to your advantage to vary your arrival and departure time to maximize your productivity.”
The situation I am most confronted with under this heading is: “when do I draw the line on being over committed to a task?” Interestingly, we can easily justify working overtime on an assignment several evenings, but if we decide to leave the office early or spend a few hours less than required, we feel guilty. Or, we believe someone will question our commitment to getting the job done on time. This is clearly one of those instances where you’re in control and therefore understand the timelines involved in the project. As long as you are certain that you can meet the deadline, don’t get bothered by what others might think—a matter of fact, most times they don’t even care what hours you’re working. If you overwork yourself trying to complete the task too quickly you will suffer from burnout and severe tiredness, which reduces your productivity for the remainder of the week. As long as your organization allows flex time, use it to your advantage to vary your arrival and departure time to maximize your productivity.