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The Quest for Balance in My Life

Monday, April 6th, 2009

For the last couple years, I’ve been on a quest for balance in my life. Just basic things like a couple days off a week and the time necessary to create the best work possible regardless of budget elude me.

I’d like to argue that a decent income can no longer get you a bit of savings and a roof over your head due to the poor planning and selfishness of previous generations, but when it comes down to it, I have taken on far more than I should financially making it so that I need to work constantly. This has little to do with me being a workaholic, being inefficient, or not charging enough, the amount I work is basically out of necessity to cover expenses.

Seeing the now famous documentary ‘The Story Of Stuff’ again recently was a reality check for me. I couldn’t stop thinking, how did I become one of those people, that in their quest for stuff they thought they needed, (no matter how ‘necessary’) had sacrificed balance in life? Sure, I deserve to have a nice car, and own a great home, but the reality of the world, where I live in North America anyway, is that it’s not really possible for most people if you want to have balance and freedom in your life.

I’ve realized that having time, for myself, and things important to me besides my work is not only essential to helping me be the person I’m meant to be, but it is more important to me than any of those things that society tells us we need, or think will bring happiness. In fact, I’ve started getting rid of as much as I can, starting with things that are worth money, including big things like my new car, and my home. And before you think I’ve lost it, I’m not the only successful business owner to do so, Derek Sivers, founder of the largest indie music retailer in the world wrote a great blog about doing just this called ‘Ahh, to own nothing’.

Getting rid of stuff that ties you down is so freeing and liberating!

And I’ve started to build my businesses with the same philosophy, so I can operate anywhere, without being tied down to one place. It’s a monumental task, but thanks to developments in management techniques, outsourcing and technology, It can now be done.

Next, I’m focusing on the 20% of my actions that are actually effective, and reducing or eliminating the 80% that aren’t. A great book I just finally read that is helping me with this ‘The Power Of Focus’.

At this point, I’m working on getting a few days off a month. By the end of the year, I expect to have a 5 day work week like most of the planet…

So what has helped you achieve the balance you want in life?