From the monthly archives:

August 2010

Regain Your Balance - by Ali HaleIt’s so wonderful to read and review an ebook on life balance that I strongly agree with, especially one written by a great writer like Ali Hale.

What I admire most about Ali Hale’s writings is her methodical approach, which reflects the clarity of her thinking and keen observation skills.

Regain Your Balance has some great insights on what I would consider to be the mechanics of life balance: the factors needed for balanced living.

Ali identifies 6 factors for life balance, and dedicates a chapter to each factor, with tips on how to make the most out of each factor towards achieving a balanced life.

The factors Ali identifies are:

  1. Time
  2. Creativity
  3. Focus
  4. Environment
  5. Recharging
  6. Money

I personally believe that we need to balance the 7 life areas under which our human needs can be categorized. These are: Spiritual, Intellectual, Psychological, Social, Professional, Recreational and Physical.

Ali’s 6 factors are what we need to make life balance possible, but they’re not the things we need to balance, even though each factor needs the right balance to make the most of it (e.g. making money vs spending money).

While Ali shares some great advice related to each factor, and to understanding life balance in general, what stood out for me the most is her inclusion of Creativity and Environment in the mix. I was already aware of the importance of Time, Focus, Recharging, and Money, but didn’t consider the importance of Creativity and Environment.

In the same way that Focus is an essential element to efficient work, Creativity paves the way to effective results. And both are essential for life balance.

Ali also points out how our Environment can influence not only the work we get to accomplish, but the extent to which our environment can impact the degree of relaxation we can experience!

A disorganized office can make our work more cumbersome, and a cluttered bedroom can make our sleep more restless.

A Thought-Provoking Read

If you want to get a feel of Ali Hale’s writing, you can check out her blog: Aliventures.

You can also check out her blog post on ProBlogger on writing the perfect list post, which demonstrates the thoughtfulness she puts into her writings.

This is something that’s evident in her ebook.

She offers insights I hadn’t considered before, which in turn encouraged me to think of more ways to approach the subject of life balance.

To me, that’s priceless.

I can’t explain my love for books that don’t just offer information, but act as a catalyst for productive thinking.

Some helpful tips I found in the book:

  • I used to think of focus as the ability to concentrate on a single task while working on it. Ali talks about short-term, as well as long-term focus
  • Your environment can influence you in many different ways (e.g. distract you, slow you down, etc.). Identify the influence, and what can be done about it
  • Social interactions can drain us of energy, based on the people we meet and the degree to which we are comfortable socializing
  • Create an end-of-work ritual to avoid working longer than required
  • Some of our work problems have nothing to do with productivity, but with the challenges of creative work

“Pretending that your creative work is unimportant is a form of self-protection – you’re pre-emptively saying the things which you’re afraid you’ll hear.”
~ Ali Hale

Life Balance Is Something To Experience Now

I can’t stress on this point enough: life balance isn’t something you should hope to achieve in the distant future, but a lifestyle to adopt right now, in order to make the greatest progress in every area of your life.

Ali takes this approach to life balance, which is extremely refreshing to see.

Sure there are challenges when it comes to life balance.

But you can’t put it off because of these challenges. Ignoring life balance fuels more challenges than we need to be handling!

The Best Way To Read This eBook

Buying a book on life balance won’t guarantee that you’ll achieve life balance. To get the best results, you need an effective approach to reading and implementing the strategies you learn.

The approach I took is:

  1. Summarize the ebook into its key ideas, while reading it. Note down any memorable statements, as well
  2. Feel free to write down your own thoughts on what you read (I love this step the most!)
  3. Condense the key ideas into guidelines you can easily refer to and follow
  4. Translate the guidelines into action steps you can carry out. Ask yourself: “How can I apply this in my life?”
  5. Some tips you might need to do only once, while others need to be done on a regular basis. Write these down in 2 separate lists (to-do list and to-keep-doing list), so you can cross off what you no longer need to do
  6. Go through your action steps, and do something to make improvements with each of the 6 factors mentioned in the ebook

Ali’s ebook is an easy read, but very inspirational and informative. It comes with its own worksheets, but I personally prefer to follow my own approach (outlined above).

I consider it a great complement to the ideas and advice I share here, and a valuable tool to achieving life balance.

You can grab the ebook by following the link below:

Regain Your Balance ~ by Ali Hale

If you have any thoughts or questions, please feel free to share them in the comments section below!

And please read My Disclosure page if you haven’t already done so.

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