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Balance Is Key

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Submitted By Megpig79
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Balance is the key to living a happy and satisfied life. Too much focus on work can leave a person feeling empty and shallow but putting all your focus on your family and friends can leave the pocketbook empty and shallow too. Throw in a full time academic career and you have the makings for a real disaster. How do we find a good balance in order to have the happy and satisfied life that we desire?
There is a quote I heard once that says “No one can do everything, but everyone can do something”. I have always remembered that, I believe it was on television around the time hurricane Katrina hit. Although it was referring to volunteering but I think it applies to life too. Maybe we can’t do it all on our own, after all God didn’t put Adam here alone, he gave him a companion, Eve, and they worked together to raise a family and work and learn.
I would like to start off by discussing our work life. Although a person might want to climb high on the corporate ladder, one should not neglect the other important aspects of his life. Do you often find yourself missing out on sleep, not exercising, eating unhealthily, drinking or smoking too much, or otherwise neglecting your body for the sake of work? Do your friends and family members complain about you spending too much time at work? If you are nodding along to some of these, you might be a workaholic.
If you focus all of your effort on your work you may not only be missing out on your children’s growth and life experiences, but your relationship with your spouse can suffer as well as your relationships with your friends and other family members. Many people use the idea of “I want to be able to give my children opportunities I did not have” only to find their children looking back saying “I wish you would have been around more”.
Focusing all of your attention on work can hurt you physically too. Maybe you decide to start working late and getting in to the office earlier. This puts you at a disadvantage in many ways. You are now getting less sleep, your body isn’t getting the exercise it needs to get, and you might be skipping meals or maybe worse, cramming fast food into your stomach in less than 5 minutes. Maybe you decide to make up for the lack of sleep by chugging energy drinks. Energy drinks have been linked to anxiety disorders, loss of vitamins and even heart disease (Mayo Clinic). A report on MSN stated "In Japan, the phenomenon of working hard, and that overwork leading to death, has actually been given a name, Karoshi. This is an amazing event that's occurred in the last 10 years or so in Japan and they have 10,000 deaths a year due to Karoshi."
If you fit the description of a workaholic, let’s explore some ways to get family time back into your workaholic life. One way families can spend active time together is to go out. Parents could take turns in spending time with their children one on one. The father can take one kid and mom can take the other. Depending on how many kids you have will depend on how you split them up. I remember when I was younger my dad would take me out on dates. I always got to pick the place we eat at (most of the time). We would eat our dinner and talk about everything that was new. I always looked forward to going out with my dad! It's a good feeling knowing he cares about me and wants to know what's going on in my life! Then when I went with my mom it was totally different, but it was our time together. You don't even have to go out for dinner you could just all sit at the table and take turns saying what's new and going on in each individual’s life.
Another way families could spend active time together would be to have a Dinner Theme Night. Each person in the family could pick a theme for dinner, and that person would be in charge of the shopping list. Everyone would go shopping together, and help prepare the dinner. The person in charge would also have to make a centerpiece for the dinner table. Each family member could come to dinner dressed in something to go along with the theme. You could make it a challenge by making something to go along with the theme, and share it with the family. Depending on the age of family members you could make it a rule to find out something about the place where your dinner is from. You could use it as a learning time, and make it a fun family time.
A third way of keeping the family together would be to have a game night. I always loved playing games, board games, card games, acting out games, and well just any kind of game. I loved beating my parents. I was always looking for new games we could play as a family. It was hard for I'm the only child, and there is only three of us. Being an only child it was hard at our house to have teams, but with larger families you could do that. You could keep score from week to week with family members, and have play offs at the end of every two or three months. Depending on the age of your family you could spend time building a crossword puzzle. It would be a way to help with spelling, and learning the meaning of a lot of words. It would be fun yet a real learning experience on the side. Friday night is family night for us. We make a point to go out of the house weather it is to a park or a movie or dinner or whatever, we make a point to go out as a family. So you could pick one night to spend together doing whatever. Just make it a priority.
The main idea is, although you may not be able to change that you are a workaholic, you can still put your family time back on the list of priorities and get things more balanced. And let’s not forget date night with the spouse. Hire a sitter for the night and take the wife or husband out for dinner and a movie. Romance keeps the flame burning.
Now, if you are a student then let’s look at how you can implement school into your workaholic, family based life. If you are thinking of going back to school I want to encourage you. I am a full time college student with a part time job and a full time family. It is not easy, it takes planning and focus, but it is well worth it. I am accomplishing goals that I didn’t think I could. I just didn’t think I could find the time. I decided to go back to school because I had been laid off from several jobs in one year. I just could not take another lay off, not being able to contribute to the bank account to pay the bills. I finally decided to look at different schools and opportunities and found Westwood College and the Criminal Justice program to look the most appealing and rewarding. I talked with an advisor at Westwood about my time management and I came up with a plan. I have a chart at home near my desk with my study times and hours devoted to school. Everyone knows not to plan on me doing anything during those times. The hardest part for me is sticking to the plan. When I get to the end of the week and I can relax because I have my work done, that is a rewarding feeling and encourages and motivates me for the next week. So the first step in going back to school is having a plan.
You will need support from your family and friends. Going back to school after you have been out of school for a while presents a challenge not just academically but emotionally. If you enlist the help of your family and friends the pressures will lessen. A good example I have is if you struggle with math, find a friend who is good at math that would be available to help you study and prepare for tests. My girl’s best friend is a math teacher so she offered to tutor me when she heard I was struggling. It has been such a relief. I also get tons of help from my girl when I am writing. She knows that since English is not my best language I will need help and she is always correcting my grammar and English in a helpful way.
I am half way through school now, and although I have found a good job since I started, I am still accomplishing a goal of success and I will feel proud of my accomplishment when I am a Westwood College graduate.
In closing I would like to reiterate that No one can do it all, but everyone can do something. If you make a plan and stick to it, balancing your life shouldn’t be too hard from here on out. Whether you are wanting to start a family, get a new job, go back to school or even just motivate yourself to change the direction you are going in, find a support system and you will be on the right track.

Romeo, a. "Personal Healthcare." onepersonalhealthcare. N.p., 12 Jan 2011. Web. 27 Apr 2011.
"How do I know if I'm a workaholic." Workaholics-anonymous. N.p., 2011. Web. April 28, 2011.
Hoak, A. "Adults in session." 27, Jul 2007: 2. Web. 7 May 2011.
Crotti, Nancy. "Balancing Work School and Family." 09 Apr, 2009: 1. Web. 22 April, 2011
Frey, Kathy. "Learning to balance work and family." 13, Apr 2009: 1. Web. 22 Apr 2011.

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