Written by Ailson Stine | Stine Wealth Management | KNOW Phoenix
I once thought all that mattered was working hard, as hard as I could, to achieve my business goals and make a living. I was the first person out in the field prospecting, and the last person processing business late at the office. I felt proud to say I locked up the office and was heading home after working 14 hours. Each day, week, month, and year that passed, I was succeeding more and earning more income. I always heard people talk about how important it is to have work-life balance, but I figured my career was different and that balance was not attainable, yet. If I worked 5 years like nobody else would, I could then live the rest of my life like nobody else can, I was told. Don’t get me wrong, I value work ethic and putting in the time to see results. Always be wary of ‘get rich quick’ schemes. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard (said by multiple people).
While I found myself achieving my goals and receiving recognition. I also found myself skipping dinner and workouts, and not getting enough sleep. My week days were devoted to work, and that was it. With that being said, I still felt that there were not enough hours in the day. My to do list kept growing and my responsibilities became suffocating. We’re talking about someone who is insanely organized and plans her day out down to the minute. Even with extreme discipline and organization I was not able to tackle my to dos and felt like I was not getting enough done. Once I hit that 5 year mark of working hard, my responsibilities nearly doubled, the end was not in sight. God has an interesting way of showing us our path and guiding us in the right direction. The year 2020 put things in perspective for all of us, and really gave me time to reflect on what I was doing, and what I wanted my life to look like.
The pandemic began right around our wedding. We got married on March 7, 2020. Talk about cutting it close. We had a beautiful ceremony and reception with over 150 people, who traveled from all across the country to Scottsdale, AZ. Everyone stayed healthy and was able to travel home safely. We even left for our honeymoon on that following Monday the 9th to another country. It was while we were in Fiji that COVID-19 got real. Neither of us had cell reception in Fiji, and we only had wifi on one device while we were eating our meals at a central location on the island. Our hut did not have a TV and we did not have wifi while in our room. This was intentional as the resort was very romantic and we wanted to disconnect. Therefore, each time we went for a meal my phone, which was the one device connected to the wifi, would start blowing up with notifications. Spring Training Cancelled. March Madness Cancelled. Work from Home started for several companies. It was wild. Each time I got wifi all I wanted to do was check my work email. Talk about obsessiveness. We live in a culture where a quick response is expected, and it is near impossible to disconnect from work. Is this healthy? Not in my opinion.
So how do we obtain this work-life balance that so many seek? For me it began by prioritizing myself. I was putting work, clients, my team, and my ego ahead of my mental and physical health. I was using my crazy hours as an excuse for not working out consistently, meditating, reading books, doing yoga, having a social life during the week, you name it. The work will always be there, but your health may not. Our time is limited on Earth and the most important thing is to take care of yourself. We have to love ourselves before we can truly love someone else. If we fail to plan, we plan to fail. I did an exercise with a life coach once. We took the hours in a week: 168. You have 168 hours each week, now you decide how you allocate them. First how many hours do you work, it may be a set 40, 50, 60, etc. Let’s say it is 50 for our example. That leaves 118 remaining hours. Well we all have to sleep, let’s say you get 7 hours on average each night, that is 49 hours. We now have another 69 remaining, these can be allocated to love/relationships, friends/family, spirituality, fitness/health, fun/adventure, housework, meals, etc. If I chose to allocate 20 to love/relationships, 10 to friends/family, 3 to spirituality, 7 to fitness/health, 5 to fun/adventure, 5 to housework, 7 to meals, that leaves 12 for drive time, getting, and just relaxing. There may be some overlap between these categories if date night is with your spouse and you go out to dinner, but you get the point. Take some time to think about your average week, evaluate where you are now and where you would like to be. You may need to stop or reduce some time wasting activities like TV and scrolling through social media, or not, you decide how you live your life. Once you allocate your week, I challenge you to select your top 3 most important categories and make sure time is blocked off in your calendar each week so that you allocate enough time to these. These categories may be areas you want to increase focus on or need to keep steady.
A lot of people struggle sticking to a consistent workout schedule. I personally am either all in or not consistent at all. I feel like those who are really consistent and nearly obsessive with their workouts, I know I am now, and maybe that is how it has to be. You need to find a location, whether it is a gym, studio, class, etc. You then need an accountability buddy, who is going to also be there working out with you or taking the class with you. Then we need to decide on frequency, days, and times, that are conducive to our allocated weekly hours. For me that is 7 hours towards health/fitness. As well as conducive to our schedule, we should not be working out at 2am, unless you work abnormal hours.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stine Wealth Management
Alison Stine, Founder – Stine Wealth Management is a Financial Advisor, RICP®, and Retirement Benefits Specialist. She is a Five Star Wealth Manager as seen in Phoenix Magazine and Forbes. Alison specializes in helping individuals invest and financially plan. Alison is a wife, dog mom, and very involved in her community.