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Finding Balance: a Personal Quest

By Colleen Chandler
December 2005

Finding a Balance chart
Essig identified basic categories of methodology people use to evaluation information and make decisions.

Achieving a balance between work and other life activities requires an inventory of personal values and an analysis of existing habits, according to Sherry Essig, of Priority Ventures Group, who came to NIEHS on Oct. 27. Her presentation, "The Art of Balance: Creating Sustainable Change in Work and Life," focused on ways to obtain that balance.

Identifying how you make decisions allows you to analyze the anxiety levels associated with those decisions, she said.

To achieve balance, Essig said, people must identify a balance measure, something that will enable them to know when they have achieved balance. Different from an objective, the measure can be determined by examining markers that signify one's life is out of balance. For example, whether or not a bed gets make in the morning could indicate the level of control for that morning. "What gets measured gets managed," Essig said. These measures should function as both diagnostic and management tools.

The next step, Essig said, is to set a target, or objective, and create simple steps to get started. Identify those things that keep you on track and those that distract you. Next, develop action steps to create change and maintain momentum.

She offered thise tips of achieving balance:

  • Know what's MOST important to you.
  • Take care of yourself.
  • Take slow, deep breaths.
  • Forecast your time commit ments for the coming month, then set your priorities based on what is realistic.
  • Create one or two personal measures and use them just as you do your business metrics.
  • Spend a few minutes daily listening to your intuition.
  • Slow down and pay attention to how fast you are moving physically and mentally.
  • Ask for help when you need it.
  • Work with a coach.
  • Get a "balance buddy."
  • Know you cannot fail.


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