Finding balance is a fine art

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- Do you ever feel like you are juggling a lot of balls and just hoping it all does not come crashing down? Or do you find yourself wishing there were more hours in the day? 

Every day it seems that my to-do list continues to grow beyond what I completed. I feel like I am constantly juggling between my professional and personal lives. 

Of course, sometimes working overtime or long hours is unavoidable and necessary, but it should not be a daily routine. 

Working long hours in order to manage the work load has a price. If your professional and personal lives are out of balance then your stress may be running high. 

Continual stress could lead to fatigue and make you less productive and more likely to make more mistakes. This chain reaction becomes the never ending cycle of more work, but you need to reclaim control. Finding that balance today while "doing more with less" is no simple task. 

Juggling the demands and finding a balance is challenging, but don't always let work outweigh the rest. Everyone needs the break to refresh their mind. 

Here are three pointers that I have learned along the way: 

1. Get organized by setting goals and learning to prioritize the work load. One way to prioritize is creating task lists, but don't spend more time managing the lists than performing what is on them. Also, avoid listing routine or daily items because it only wastes time. Another way is to invest time up front by streamlining processes so you save time later down the road. Taking out the unnecessary steps in a process provides more time for other tasks. 

Remember, the key is time management so doing a little each day rather than waiting or procrastinating to the end will help to avoid deadline panics. Finally, have a "stop" point. 

2. Delegating the smaller tasks is a valuable investment. Not only do you free up time for the more important projects, but you empower another person to make decisions and give them the opportunity to grow. 

3. Taking care of you. I know it is stating the obvious, but if you skip this one then you won't be able to work effectively. 

First, ensure you receive plenty of rest each night. Second, don't skip out on eating. To stay energized through the day, take the time to pack a lunch or snack the night before. Next, schedule time to exercise. It not only helps you stay fit, but benefits your mind and helps some people to sleep better. 

Finally, clear your mind and sharpen your mental focus through meditation. Just taking 10 minutes to close your eyes and breathe deep is refreshing. 

I know the pressure of keeping all those balls in the air can be overwhelming, but you have to watch out for stress and burnout. So how do you fit work, family, friends, hobbies, education, volunteer activities, exercise and spirituality into your life and make it happen? Balance, it is a continuous process of making time for you.