How to Balance Health and Work
Health: Who's got time for it? If you know what's good for you
(and your finances) you will make time for it. Health is your
most valuable asset. Without it, all the money in the world
won't have much value. That's why an investment advisor like me
is writing about how, in today's environment of longer commutes,
shorter staffs, instant communications, voice mail, faxes and
fast food on the go, as well as social and family obligations,
you need to pay attention to your health.
Of course, I don't know your specific situation, but chances are
there are at least some similarities between yours and mine. So
maybe some of the ways I have found to integrate taking care of
my health into my routine will assist you to do the same.
However you do it, I guarantee it will be one of the best
investments you will make.
Life as a whole can be overwhelming, so I divide it up into smaller, more manageable pieces. Every 24-hour period represents a "mini-life" to me, which I want to fill with things I "have-to-do" and, more importantly, things I "want-to-do."
I am an investment advisor, specializing in no-load mutual fund investments, and have owned and operated my company for the past 20 years. Besides doing extensive research so I can effectively manage the millions of dollars of clients' assets I am responsible for, I write and publish two weekly investment updates, a monthly newsletter, various investment articles, and handle 15,000+ subscribers to my free internet publications. In addition, I am a husband and an older parent of a 7-year old boy.
Though my plate is pretty full, over my career I have developed a lifestyle which balances my health and work very well, thereby making me a more relaxed and productive person.
Here's how my 24-hour "mini-life" works.
After working at the office in the morning, at 11:30 sharp I head to the fitness center for my 90-minute lunchtime workout. Afterward, I grab a nutritious sandwich and a health drink, and by shortly after 1 pm I'm back at the office.
Thanks to my exercise regimen the edge has been taken of and I'm relaxed knowing that I already have attended to my health needs. I may be physically a little tired, but mentally I feel very sharp, so the afternoon is my most productive time. Since I
generally enjoy my work, it's okay if my work day extends into the evening. I feel good!
After a leisurely dinner with family and some play time with my son, I'm ready for my ultimate physical and mental relaxation ritual. Since I have always chosen to live in communities with facilities such as pool and spa, around 8 pm I head out for a wonderful hour or so of 'decompression time.' That includes a 45-minute soak in my spa, a dip in the cold pool and a shower. Afterwards I stretch out in the lounge chair looking at the
stars in a cloudless Southern California sky and enjoying my favorite adult beverage.
This is the time I can think about projects, things I want to
do or simply muse about life. No interruptions of any kind. I have enjoyed-or at least survived-another day and I feel balanced and in harmony.
I try to keep my routine pretty much the same every day with a
couple of exceptions. Tuesdays I usually play a morning round
of golf with a couple of clients. While I don't consider golf
exercise, it's mentally very relaxing because by the very nature
of the game I am forced to slow down.
Saturday mornings, it's tennis with the boys. After a leisurely
lunch with good conversation and a lot of laughter, I head to
the office for around 3 hours of work. Again, I'm far more
relaxed when tackling spreadsheets or responding to e-mails
after having exercised.
Sundays, I answer some e-mails from home, but spend most of the
time with my son doing a variety of athletic things.
By Sunday night I'm back in the spa considering the week.
Usually I can say that every one of my days indeed was filled
with things I had to do as well as things I wanted to do. I
look forward to the next morning when I get to start all over
Here are some things you can do to get into a similar rhythm:
1. Try to live close to work to avoid long, stressful commutes.
2. Join a fitness center near work and negotiate with your boss
to extend your lunch to 90 minutes. Offer to work a half hour
late to make up the time.
3. If you have a long commute, don't waste time in homebound
traffic. Go to the fitness center after work and get on the
road after the traffic has cleared.
4. If you have no other choice and you are a morning person,
get to the gym before work.
Once you've been able to balance work and health, I can promise
that the benefits you enjoy-including financial thanks to
greater productivity-will have you wondering why you didn't