Are you living your life to the fullest, enjoying moments as they occur or has your life become a drive-by experience? If you don’t have a healthy work-life balance, you’re not getting the most out of life.
When we live our lives very fast-paced, on a tight schedule, moving from one step to the next, we lack balance and often become so busy that we miss the enjoyment of important moments in our day. As we approach the end of the day, we may even experience moments of true fulfillment, but if we can’t recall key elements of our day, we are not living in the moment.
“Be mindful that your life is not so busy that you stop appreciating what really matters. Somewhere in the ebb and flow, there must be time to reflect and practice gratitude” –Linda Marshall
Drive-By Life Phenomena
Several years ago, I coined the phrase “drive-by life phenomena” when writing my first book, Giving Back, How to Find Your Personal Joy and Make a Difference to Others. During that time, I was living a classic drive-by life: working through countless to-do lists of meetings and appointments, rarely checking in with my emotions, or savouring my interactions and accomplishments along the way.
When we live this way and suddenly gaze in the rearview mirror, we realize all of these moments are a big blur. This behaviour robs us from living a full life with the people that matter most to us. It is so easy to develop a habit of simply going through the motions of everyday life without taking time to enjoy the journey.
The Elusive Work-Life Balance
The first step is to determine what is causing this behaviour. Many times it can be related to not having the ideal work/life balance. Living in the moment, practicing mindfulness is the best way to start to achieve this balance. It’s important to note that the balance will be different for each of us. When I am working, I try to keep my focus on my work. When I am with family or friends, I try to give them my full attention. However, I have also noticed that my passion for both parts of my life may be getting in my own way. There are certainly times when I have found a pressing, daily tug to complete just one more task, or make one more call, even after completing an exceptionally productive day.
Where do I start?
If you want to get the most out of your life you have to take a step back and decipher what is really important: Is it family, work, or a combination and, if both are crucial, how do we make time for them? Essentially, it is all about improving your focus on what you are doing and making decisions that benefit you and all of the people who surround you.
Pause and ask yourself: Is it hard to find a work/life balance because I don't actually want to change my work patterns? Is it too hard because I love the high I get from working so much each day? Or, is it because I haven’t mastered my own mindfulness yet?
Here are some questions to self-reflect on:
- Am I living a drive-by life?
- If you are, think of some of the examples of why you believe this.
- If you’re not, think of some of the examples of why you believe you are not.
- What is one thing I could practice today to make my life more meaningful?