The man who works from 8 to 8 every day will both be very successful and fondly remembered by his widow’s next husband.
Why do so many smart business people work too hard, live too fast, and then feel strongly ambivalent about their success? It’s simple. They’ve never taken the time to figure out what they really, really want, and they’ve never learned the skills to make it happen.
If that sounds like you, it’s time to change. The problem is–it takes time to make time. You can’t figure out what you really want out of life, your career, or your relationships, if you don’t take time to think about them.
So the first step in simplifying your life, or getting more balance, is to make a small commitment of time. Free up one hour a day for thirty days to reflect on some simple questions: “Am I working too hard? Am I working at a job I don’t enjoy? Am I letting important things clutter up my life? Are my kids draining all my energy?” Then start thinking about how or what you can cut back.
The second step in simplifying your life, or getting more balance, is learning and using the appropriate skills. One such skill is the ability to say “no.” In fact, you will never have a simple, balanced life if you can’t say “no.”
Where do you start saying “no?” Start by knowing your priorities. No one can maintain more than three priorities. If you have a job you care about, that’s a priority. If you have a family, that’s a priority. And perhaps your third priority is serving the Lord, staying in shape, or becoming financially independent.
Once you know your priorities it’s easier to say “no” when people try to pull you in several different directions. It’s easier to say “I’m not taking on any new commitments for the next six months.” So figure out your priorities. And then say “no” to everything else if you feel a bit overstressed or a bit off balance.
Take five minutes today to think, to just think about one thing you want to cut back or cut out of your life.