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Work – Life Balance Lessons From Stretch Armstrong

By Bigg Success Staff
02-20-08

Work – Life Balance

stretch_armstrong 

The year was 1976. A small group of experts, with the toymaker Kenner, met to discuss new ideas for toys. Time was ticking by. Few good ideas had been suggested.

Then, a soft-spoken gentleman stepped up with an idea for a new super hero.

Stretch Armstrong was born!

Children could stretch, for lack of a better word, his limbs up to four times the width of his body.

Stretch was a huge hit with kids who tested him daily to see just how far he could stretch.

In fact, Stretch is a hit again. Only now it’s collectors who seek this flexible super hero.

Why are collectors so interested in Stretch Armstrong?

Because so few dolls survived!

You see, with all the stretching, Stretch’s limbs started to harden and crack. When that happened, the “secret sauce” that allowed him to stretch so far leaked out. Stretch Armstrong couldn’t stretch anymore.

We can learn a lesson from Stretch Armstrong:

If you stretch yourself too far, too often, you may crack.

We all want to live a full life. We want a rewarding career and a robust personal life. In our quest for those goals, we spread ourselves very thin. We have to be careful, though, not to stretch ourselves too far, too often. Here are 6 tips to do just that:

  • Accept that you can’t have it all.
    It all begins with being honest – you can’t have it all. You’re only human. You only have 24 hours in a day. There is only so much you can do. You should seek to achieve balance for your own sake as well as those who depend on you. But you shouldn’t try to be all things to all people.
  • Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize.
    Having accepted that you can’t have it all, now you can decide what’s most important to you. Look at everything you do – your work, your family commitments, your personal activities – and think about your vision of your dream life.

    Take a zero-base approach to each activity – assume that you don’t need to do it. Now ask yourself what impact it would make if you didn’t do it. This will help you start to eliminate clutter in your schedule.

  • Schedule everything.
    Speaking of schedules, make it a habit to schedule everything. Plan what you need to do and how long it will take. Allow yourself some cushion – a lot of us think we’re a super hero. You’re only human. You can’t work at break-neck speed all the time.

    By scheduling everything, you’ll allow enough time for those things that are most important to you. That will include things you do just for fun. Most of us schedule everything but down time. So what happens – no down time!

  • Learn to say “no”.
    This is one of the most important tools in your work – life balance tool kit. You’ve gone to all the trouble to prioritize what’s most important to you. Don’t put yourself back in the same position by taking on new activities that don’t fit your vision of your dream life.

    Kindly consider any opportunities that come your way and then politely decline anything that doesn’t fit. Just say “no”!

  • Communicate what you CAN do, not what you CAN’T.
    Your life touches a lot of other people. They may be affected by your efforts to get things under control. Make sure you help them understand the reasons behind what you’re doing.

    But here’s a mistake people often make. Don’t concentrate on what you can’t do any longer. Focus on what you can and will do. Accentuate the positive!

  • Don’t worry about getting it perfect.
    A lot of people want to get it perfect. They carry this attitude into everything they do. While it is admirable, it is also a recipe for always being stretched too thin.

    Focus on getting it perfectly satisfactory. Get it satisfactory … then work on it just a little more. Now you can be perfectly satisfied with it. It may not be perfect, but it’s close enough. Any more effort would yield minimal improvements.

Stretch Armstrong couldn’t keep stretching – he cracked. Follow these 6 tips and you’ll avoid finding yourself in Stretch’s predicament.

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