“My goal this year is to go to my son’s training sessions,” a manager at a big company told me a few days ago. If he did not go more often in the past, it was because his department always threw him some last-minute problem: a very important report, an unmissable meeting or whatever other “fire to be put out” which stopped him from spending Friday afternoons watching his son train. “And what’s worse of all, is that most of the time what they ask me to do is not that urgent,” he added.
What do you have to do to ensure you have greater inner balance?
The problem rests in the whims of senior management or in the routines we let ourselves fall into without realizing it. So for 2018, a good resolution is to make time for what we really want to do and value: be that spending time with our family or friends or simply watching a television series. Whatever we want. Gustavo Piera’s book, The art of making time (El arte de gestionar el tiempo), has some tips on how we can achieve this.
The first step is to slow down. Who is the only person you are able to change? The answer is you. As much as you would like your boss or partner to act differently, it is fruitless to try. You can influence, give advice or even pester but in the end change is a door that only opens from the inside. To win back time, we need to slow down our daily routine and ask ourselves what to we want, where are we going, why we act the way we do, what makes us happy, what are we good at. Insightful answers will come when we get off the hamster wheel. So we need to put on the brakes a little and ask ourselves some uncomfortable questions.
The second step is to reflect on what makes us feel good. Self-awareness is an automatic system that we have designed perfectly. Looking a photo or video in which we appear, we immediately spot ourselves and make judgments about ourselves. However, when it comes to taking care of ourselves, this awareness is much less developed. We orientate ourselves to others, and to work goals, but we forget to dedicate quality time to ourselves. And that’s where we go wrong. Because if we feel good, the people around us will also feel good. Inner balance helps us improve our quality of life and that of those around us by bringing out the best of ourselves in every area of our life. Ask yourself: what do you have to do to ensure you have greater inner balance?
If we feel good, the people around us will also feel good
And, the third step is about analyzing and making decisions. To find more time for ourselves, we need to shed certain beliefs. It might seem that success is related to a great job, an extraordinary professional career or being popular on social media. But beneath all this there is often a darker reality. Over time, the stress of work or a life geared towards work, can leave holes in other parts of our lives. That’s why we need to analyze things from a broader perspective: to what point does my concept of success help me maintain inner balance, or to what extent does it just destabilize me more? Once we have reached a conclusion, we can make decisions and find the strength to commit to them. This could mean establishing certain habits in our personal life or at work, like making time for our interests, or, in the case of the manager I mentioned at the beginning of this article, learning to say “no” to whatever pops up on Friday afternoons in order to see our son train.
In the end, it is only when we find a strong reason that we are able to make important changes in our lives. And to do this, we need to learn how to slow down, reflect, analyze our lives as a whole and take decisions so that inner balance is our main priority.
English version by Melissa Kitson.