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Striking a Balance

Learn why taking time off will make you more effective.

By Monica Ricci

What do an entrepreneur, a healthy a diet and a tightrope walker have in common? They all need balance to be effective.

Balance is a word that you hear a lot about these days, but you may not know how to achieve it in your own life. Entrepreneurs, by their very nature, tend to focus on creating a business. This means being immersed in work—sometimes to the detriment of health, family and other aspects of life.

It’s easy to get out of balance. And once you achieve balance, it takes some effort to maintain it. But it’s effort that is worth expending.

Having a balanced life pays off in terms of profitability, professional effectiveness, physical health and personal fulfillment. Here are six clues that your life may be out of balance:

  • You rarely eat meals with your spouse or family.
  • You regularly work late into the night.
  • You don’t get as much accomplished as you’d like at work.
  • You wake up tired.
  • You can’t remember your last two consecutive days off.
  • You feel out of shape or sluggish much of the time.
  • You feel burned out or depressed.

If this sounds like you, it’s time to sharpen your saw. In his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey’s seventh and last habit is “Sharpen The Saw.”

Having a balanced life pays off in terms of profitability, professional effectiveness, physical health and personal fulfillment.

It is the last habit, he says, because it is the one habit that, when practiced, allows us to continue to practice the other six.

It’s a circle. Sharpening the saw involves identifying the areas of your life that you are neglecting and regularly giving them time and energy. In turn, you will recharge your batteries and become more effective in all areas of your life.

Resist the temptation
If you’re wondering how in the world you’ll ever fit in one more thing ... there’s your answer: Don’t. Force yourself to take time away from unimportant “busywork” and use it for other things like exercise, church, meditation, art, music, socializing or taking a class.

You will find that as you regularly feed other areas, you’ll be more fulfilled and more effective at work because you will be functioning as a whole person instead of just a worker bee.

Remember that you’re the engine of your life, and every engine needs fuel and maintenance in order for it to work properly. Don’t make the mistake of letting your engine fall into disrepair. Take time to sharpen your saw, and success and fulfillment will follow.

Monica Ricci offers onsite consulting, motivational seminars and workshops that teach organizing and effectiveness strategies for home and work. You can reach her at or 770-569-2642.


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