We face a certain truth – there are only 24 hours given to us each day. How we use those hours is at our discretion, of course, but with often-competing commitments and requirements for us to fulfill each day, the amount of time we have left for ourselves is rapidly consumed.
The challenge that we must undertake is to leave enough “in the tank” emotionally and energetically so that we can enjoy a quality of life that is full of joy, fulfillment, happiness, and purpose. However, for many, the balance between commitments and conveniences is disrupted. Let’s face it – we have a problem managing what many call the “work-life” balance.
The solution? Many people look to “compartmentalize” the various aspects of their lives. When they are at home, they have a “home mode” that they function within so that they can enjoy their time at home. When they are at work, they compartmentalize perhaps their work as a whole, or even divide up their work tasks into mini compartments and manage things that way.
In my opinion, while compartmentalizing can have its advantages, there are major drawbacks to this energetically and emotionally. Based on my personal experience, this requires a tremendous amount of energy, simply because one is holding back the energy that seems to permeate through the compartments from the other aspects of life at times. When at home, work sneaks in sometimes, and when at work, home life can come around too!
But more problematic than the “bleeding through” when it comes to compartmentalizing is that one finds themselves vulnerable to compartmentalizing who they are based on what they do.
Compartmentalize what you do, and overflow with who you are
We risk losing authenticity when we compartmentalize who we are along with what we do. If someone has an occupation as a manager, compartmentalizing their work and personality as their “work persona” can leave that person coming across as restrained, un-authentic, unfeeling, or uncaring. This same person may be thinking to themself, “I’m completely the opposite of that!” Yet, that is what others have come to believe based on their lack of overflowing of who they really are.
So, yes, we can compartmentalize the different aspects of what we do in a day — perhaps when it comes to being a dad, I can be that and do those “dad things,” and when it comes time for me to go to work and teach college students, I can be that and do those “instructor things,” and then when it comes time for me to take care of patients I can be that and do those “healthcare provider things.”
But the glue that holds it all together is who I am. And this, I’ve found, is the key to managing a heck of a lot in not a heck of a lot of time.
Understanding your core values
“Who we are” is defined by the core values we hold. What are core values, you ask? Core values are those “rules” you play by when playing the game of life. Do you like it when people are dishonest? If not, then “honesty” is a core value, for example.
If you can define four or five core values that you hold as your own, and live by those values in every aspect of your life, you will overflow the compartments with who you truly are, and let your true self and your great virtues that make you who you are flow authentically through you no matter what you do.
The “I AM” exercise
To help you determine what your core values are, you can simply do the “I AM” exercise. Here’s how you do it: Grab a piece of paper and a pen or pencil. On the top of the piece of paper write the words “I AM…” and then think about words that describe you at your very best, free of any flaws or defects.
You may write words like, “generous,” “caring,” “loving,” “friendly, ” “compassionate,” and other virtuous words. Then, after doing this for a few minutes, circle the four or five you like the most or describe you best. Those are your values. If you wrote “generous,” “generosity” is the core value. If you wrote “loving,” “love” is your core value.
Once you have determined your core values, then just let them shine in everything you do. Be loving everywhere. Be generous everywhere and all the time.
When we can overflow who we are, we share the best virtues of ourselves with those that we interact with and have an impact upon every day. We will help others see us as our authentic selves, and we also will serve as a positive inspiration on others, who will wonder how the heck we can do what we do every day — getting everything in and staying upbeat and positive while doing it all!
It truly is possible to get more done in less time, but usually when we are blessed by the positive virtues you embody each and every day, allowing them to overflow and bless others in their abundance.