Every day we make choices between the work life balance about what we are going to do that day. We prioritize what we decide is important and work on those things for a period of time. Most people do not craft any plan or priority list and end up floating from task to task, not getting much done. How do you think a day like that looks to you when you lie in bed, tossing and turning, trying to get some sleep, despairing about how much didn’t get done.
Sound familiar? Well, it should. Millions of Americans plough through days like this every time they go to work. The result? Needless long hours at work while you neglect your family, your spiritual life and your health. Here in the States, we pay lip service to “Work Life Balance”. HR departments brag about new health initiatives and such that end up being bunk.
We need to order the “things” in our life by what is important so we can take back control of our lives.
There is a story about a college professor who placed a mason jar on his desk before the students. Then, he pulled a cloth bag from under the desk and began to take large stones out of the bag and put them in the mason jar. When no more stones would fit, he asked the students, “Do you all agree that this jar is full?” All of the students mumbled and shook their heads in agreement. The professor then produced another cloth bag and proceeded to pour pea gravel out of the bag and into the mason jar. Once no more gravel would slip into the space between the stones, he again asked, “Now, do you believe that the jar is full?” The smiling students agreed that, yes, the jar was indeed now full.
Upon hearing this, the professor produced a final bag. He poured the sand that was in the bag into the mouth of the jar and with some shaking and coaxing, filled in the remaining pockets of space in the jar.
“Our lives are full of tasks, events, obligations and the like and they fill our schedule like we have filled this jar. We must remember to fill the jar in the order you just saw: rocks, gravel, sand. It doesn’t work the other way around. The reverse order leaves no room for the large stones. The stones represent what is truly important in your life. It is up to you to decide what that is.”
We are a nation that fills its jar with gravel and sand. In doing so, we leave out our families, our faith, our communities and our health. Broken marriages, chronic disease, dysfunctional society and mental illness are the result. You need to take action and regain control of your life.
Your health should be one of your large rocks. The hours that we spend at work hunched over a computer screen, eating garbage food at our desk, never taking time to move your body result in terrible posture, deteriorating flexibility, hypertension and high cholesterol. Eventually, it begins to drain you of your sense of wonder at the miracle that our lives are. What’s left is vague anticipation for next season’s first episode of “Game of Thrones”.
You need an imbalance of healthy living. Commit to treating your body, the only one you’re given in this life, the way it deserves to be treated. Your health is important. It’s a pillar. Without health, you end up hurting your loved ones due to any number of bad outcomes, including you not being there at all for them.
And that’s just health. What are the other rocks in your life?