Maintaining balance in an often chaotic world

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Cindy Rainey
  • 66th Medical Squadron superintendent
The leaves have changed color and fallen to the ground, and soon we will be full into winter and the start of a new year.

As I look back at this year, I can't believe it's gone by so fast. I've only been at Hanscom since May but I have been amazed at the fast pace of what I had previously pictured as "sleepy little Hanscom."

We may be small in numbers, but our mission here is very busy. It sometimes seems as if juggling should be a core competency.

If trying to juggle all the demands of work, family, friends and volunteer opportunities has you feeling a little out of balance, you're not alone. For most, achieving balance is a conscious and continual effort to give importance to and fully enjoy multiple aspects of our lives.

As Stephen Covey, author of "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People," stated, "Many people seem to think that success in one area can compensate for failure in other areas. But can it really? True effectiveness requires balance."

One of the challenges of trying to achieve balance is that there is no black and white formula that fits everyone. We are all juggling different balls at different times in our lives.

Most of these fall into four categories: work, family and friends, giving back to the community and taking care of ourselves.

Even if you don't have much control over the hours you have to work, or the work itself, you can ask yourself, "In what other ways am I bringing joy into my life?"

When you plan your week, make it a point to schedule time with your family and friends and do activities that help you recharge and build meaningful relationships. I don't know about you, but if it doesn't get on my calendar then I find it easy to let it slip.

Also, if you have something to look forward to, it gives you more incentive to manage your day wisely so that you can get out of work on time.

Have you ever heard the phrases, "I just don't have time to volunteer?" or "My job is too busy for extracurricular things on base?" Allocating time on your calendar for volunteer work or extracurricular activities is important to both your personal and professional life.

Most organizations wouldn't exist if it wasn't for volunteers. Organizations like the Hanscom Spouses Club, Air Force Sergeants Association, Top Three, Company Grade Officers Council and the Patriot's Enlisted Association depend on volunteers to succeed.

There are so many private and professional organizations to get involved with that no one can volunteer for them all.
Find one or two organizations you are passionate about and focus your energy on giving a little of your time to help others. If everyone chooses just one organization to be involved in, then the requirements are balanced throughout the base.

In addition to making time for everything else, don't forget time for yourself.

What are your personal and professional goals? Are they written down and do you have a plan to achieve them?

If not, I challenge you to take time now to plan for your professional, mental, physical, financial and spiritual health goals for 2012 and beyond. If you have them written out and you continually focus on achieving them, you are much more likely to succeed.

As the season changes and we make our plans for the New Year, think of it as an ever-evolving process. Some days will be better than others, but with planning and discipline we should all get better at juggling the many different but important aspects of our lives.