The Balance of Roles
Yesterday in First Things First-Keeping The Main Thing The Main Thing, I talk about the major section of Stephen Covey’s great book, First Things First and the tongue twister that is The Main Thing is to Keep The Main Thing The Main Thing!
This continues on with The Balance of Roles. It is easy to feel that the previously mentioned life roles do not overlap and that therefore there is not much time to fulfill various roles properly. According to Covey, the trick is to multitask with your roles. One activity satisfying two or three of the roles.
If you believe that your major life roles are of parent, husband, advertising executive and charity worker, then it is possible to engage in activities that fulfill all those roles. An example would be as follows.
You have a day out with your wife and children (or insert appropriate close family members here) at the beach, park or similar. You’ll probably play some games and generally enjoy the outdoors and fresh air. While you are there though, you could spend some time volunteering to help build a fence that the public are invited to help with.
Suddenly you are fulfilling all your major roles. It is educational for the children. You are being charitable. You are being a good husband. In addition, you may experience situations during your day out that provides inspiration in your professional career. Especially in a job where there is some creative freedom, the advertising executive for example, may be able to draw on the volunteer fence building and fun day out with his children and kick off an idea for an advertising campaign.
You may say that none of this is particularly ground-breaking. People have nice days out with their family all the time. What is maybe new to most people though, is the awareness that there are probably 3-5 major roles we fulfill in our lives and that we can often actively contribute within those roles at the same time or at least two or three of them at the same time. Being aware of this and viewing day to day events and activities as an opportunity to exercise two or more roles, can lead to more complete fulfillment of what is really important.
In general I found First Things First a very good read. It challenges you to look at those 16 or so wakeful hours you have a day and really look at how much of it is spent on the important things versus the apparently urgent things. More than that, it makes you analyse what you think are the important things and decide whether they really are.
Before reading the book, I had an inkling that some of the urgent things I got involved with weren’t really that important, longer term. However, this book shines a torch on this subject and after reading it, you never think about the activities you engage in, in the same way. You begin to see time spent as an investment and start to ask yourself whether the thing you are about to spend time on is contributing to a bigger picture, a longer term goal or is merely an unimportant little urgency, jumping up and down for your immediate attention.
I definitely recommend getting a copy if you want to pay better attention to the balances of work, play and responsibility in your life. Click on the banner below or enter your name and best e.mail on the right for valuable information on how you can make big changes in your work-life balance right now (and make money doing so).