2020 has been the year many people learned about balance; from working at home and caring for the children to finding quiet time to process the year’s events.
Cape Town, South Africa (04 December 2020) – Daniel Strauss is not only former Miss South Africa, Rolene Strauss’s husband and father of two, but he is also a talented writer, entrepreneur and venture capitalist.
He is the Strauss in the investment holding company Stocks & Strauss and holds a B.Eng. (Industrial Engineering) and MBA from the University of Stellenbosch. So when it comes to understanding a work/life balance, Daniel has got the credentials to give some brilliant advice about finding balance in life.
He recently shared his thoughts on the importance of finding balance, especially due to how complex life has become for us all.
By Daniel Strauss
Ancient Chinese wisdom dictates that whenever something goes to an extreme, it will give birth to its opposite. As soon as a pendulum swings to its highest point on the one side, it swings back with significant force towards the other extreme. I believe this to be a law of nature, just like gravity and the changing of the seasons.
2020 has probably been the most productive year of my entire career and I am proud to have seen a similar trend when considering the flood of achievements by my wonderful and loving wife.
So how do we balance married life, children, work and all the other things that life throw at us? Firstly, we also slip up from time to time, but we mostly get things done by following a few simple guidelines.
The first step is to get absolute clarity about the future and who you want to be in 5 to 10 years from now. A good way of doing this is to imagine that you are getting ready to speak in front of a very large crowd. Try doing it like this: “We welcome on stage [insert your name] who achieved [this], [this] and [all of those] . . . These may include aspects of your family, health, career or spiritual journey and any other area of your life that you choose to improve or develop.
This will also help you to get clarity on which goals you would like to achieve. Once this is done, you can plan every action that you would need to take in order to achieve your milestones and ultimate goals.
And this is where it gets difficult. You need to set boundaries. When you have absolute clarity about the specific milestones that will take you closer to your ultimate goal, prioritization gets easier and this is the most crucial step. Be absolutely clear about your priorities and once those priorities are clear, become ruthless with your time. Whenever someone or something tries to distract you from your highest priority actions, be clear, concise and steadfast in completing the highest priority tasks at all costs. Even if that task may seem mundane or unimportant to those trying to distract you. They don’t run your life and they don’t set your goals; you do.
So, you are in the middle of that important task (bonding with your spouse or child as an example), which you prioritized and your phone rings. What do you do? Ask yourself the following. When I answer this call, who will benefit? Your phone should be a tool for your convenience, not the convenience of others. You should decide whether you are reachable or not. If you are offline, it may be inconvenient for someone else at that moment, but be clear that it is a tool for your convenience.
In the end, you will leave a legacy. Whether by default or by choice. Or, to put it another way, your life will either be one of consumption or one of contribution. At this moment you have the power to choose what your contribution will be and how you will achieve that goal. Will you allow that pendulum to swing to the extreme in an area like work or health? Or will you stop it before it reaches an extreme and choose a more balanced life? The choice is yours and yours alone.