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It's Time to Defrag

A hard disk drive with the platters and motor ...Image via Wikipedia

Plunk down megabucks for a new computer. Still -- inevitably, eventually -- it'll become sluggish.

Frequent use of certain programs and stored documents causes pieces of information to become scattered, making your computer search for the pieces before they can be used. To fix it? You have to run a program that retrieves the pieces and brings them together where they can be more accessible again.This process is called "defragmentation." The secret is sensing when it's time to defrag.

Life's like that. We're all busy people. Like pieces of information on our hard drives, we can become scattered, and overwhelmed by everything on our plates and the constant pressures of being on call at work 24/7. Research on well-being though shows that the best adjusted people are generally the busiest people, both at work and off-work. The secret is they know when and how to defrag.

Harvey Mackay says, "Knowing when not to work is as important as knowing when to." Because this thing we call work/life balance really has nothing to do with 50/50 or clock time. It has to do with how we use the time we have. Here are three tips for defragging:

  • When you work late and have only an hour with the kids before their bedtime, are you there with them in the present tense? Or are you obsessing about something the CFO said to you in the parking lot after work? Focus on the moment. Defrag for 60 minutes.
  • If your worklife consumes you, add things to your off-work life. Seems counterintuitive, doesn't it? Yet research shows that the best adjusted people forced themselves to structure off-work activities into their schedules, just like they do meetings and offsites at work. They schedule time for the gym, they put date nights on the calendar with their significant others, they set aside 30 minutes a night to read mysteries or romance novels, just for fun. They structure in defragging time.
  • Bring your strengths at work into play at home. If you're great with people, start a neighborhood group to fight for a cause. If you like to organize things, volunteer to start up and organize a committee at church. When you're doing what you're really good at, in a relaxed setting away from the pressures of work, you can easily slip into defrag mode.     

Define what "balance" means for you. Then live it. Before you become sluggish and scattered. Know when it's time to defrag.  

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