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Good intention: “Live your own life!”



At the beginning of a new year, we often look back for a while. We evaluate the past year and ask ourselves what went smoothly and what can be improved. We keep our lists of good intentions within easy reach. I also do that.

What about my ‘work-life balance’? 2017 will also be a busy year, with many impulses and a never-ending stream of information and stimuli. Actually, we are continuously being stalked by our mobile phone, without even realizing it. The social media never sleep and are stimulating us around the clock, because we don't want to disappoint anyone, of course: each message is screaming for attention and our curious nature is fully enjoying it. Voyeurism is always around the corner somehow, whether we want it or not.

At work, we are also continuously being stimulated: we want to quickly answer a little e-mail before rushing to the next meeting, with our mobile phone in our hand. Are all those meetings really necessary and do they take place in an orderly, efficient way? I hear you thinking: "Usually not!" The 'exaggerated meeting culture' - too many messy meetings lasting too long - is a problem we can hardly underestimate.

At the end of the working day or week, we often feel exhausted. We get behind the wheel and find ourselves in a huge traffic jam on Friday evening. It might be a bit of a caricature, but you undoubtedly understand what I mean. Is there enough time left for your family?

Let's do a short test!
  1. Do you sometimes entirely switch off your mobile phone when coming home?
  2. Do you quickly read some e-mails before or after having dinner with your family?
  3. When you finally get the opportunity to really relax during the weekend, do you fall asleep because you're overtired?
  4. Do you need to constantly rush during the weekend in order to perform all the tasks you postponed?
  5. How many evenings a week (and weekends a month) do you really reserve for your family? And for your own relaxation and personal development?
Which score do you give yourself?

I'm not going to evaluate you, but I can give you a few tips.

Weekly analyze your professional tasks and your family tasks - all together! - and subdivide them into two categories:
  • What is urgent?
  • What is important?
Two types:
  • If ‘urgent’ prevails, it means that you are working too much in ‘overdrive’, are being overtaken by events too often or see too many things as a crisis. Perhaps, you are a bit overconfident or you can't say 'no'? In any case: watch out, because a burn-out is around the corner!
  • If ‘important’ prevails, you are doing well. You solve things in a proactive way; you know how to delegate and how to surround yourself with good employees. Consequently, you must be a good time-manager and you've got yourself sufficiently under control in order not to react to each impulse.
Don't forget for whom you are working so hard! And especially: what if you are neglecting those people - your family and friends - or if you even risk losing them because you show too much of that 'urgent behavior'? In that case, there's no balance at all, because it's exactly for them that you are working so hard, no?

Do something about it! Dare to go further than the traditional intentions for the new year! Dare to really change your life! Never forget that you only live once! If you want to be happy, you must take some action. At this level, your employer can play an important role, but you are personally responsible for this.

Do everything in moderation. Make sure not to be lived, but to live your own life!

Herman van Herterijck

By Herman van Herterijck

"my ambition is to put the importance of pragmatic and continuous self-coaching on the agenda of current business leaders"

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