Finding Balance: Vital for Workers in the Information Economy
A safe bet is that everyone reading this is in some way, shape or form a worker in our world’s diverse information economy. Whether you’re a writer, a marketer, a blogger, a social media consultant, an SEO guy or anything in between, there is no doubt that you:
- Consume several hundred (or thousand) articles, headlines, stories, documents and video clips daily
- Spend 8+ hours at a desk / sitting each day
- Type several thousand (or even 10,000+) words daily
- Subscribe to hundreds of RSS feeds
- Need to develop a constant flow of creative ideas to achieve success
- Read roughly one book a week independently of electronic text (I am a rabid non-fiction reader – philosophy, psychology and sociology are infinitely compelling).
- Don’t always eat correctly
- Don’t always get proper exercise
- Don’t have time (or even care for) TV
- Are learning constantly
- Are sometimes (or frequently) sleep-deprived
- Love what you do
Does this sound like you? I’m the first to admit I probably consume far more information than the average person daily and spend more hours in front of a computer than 99% of you reading this (there is that 1% that is even more obsessive than I am if you can believe it).
But social media moves fast, and I can speak for my peers by saying that you have to be dedicated, passionate, and really just love it to be successful. It is a pleasure to be on the edge (of any new industry) and each day brings something new and exciting. We all love information, creativity, expression and watching our ideas spread. It’s really quite addictive in a good way.
Due to my obsession with my job, my blog, music, and staying at the edge of web culture and social media, I literally spend many days 100% in front of my computer. I was, just a little, starting to slip out of balance with my body by purely focusing on cerebral tasks 24/7. The good news was I knew the source of the issue.
Recently, I made a move into a new apartment with a gym right inside, and decided it was about time to get back into shape. It was finally convenient enough to get into my schedule.
Let’s be clear, I was never really out of shape, I’m a thin guy – but after moving an entire apartment worth of stuff, I realized how I was in better shape five years ago than I am now. I didn’t like the idea that my 20 year-old self was probably healthier than my 25-year old self. I used to be able to run a 17 minute three-mile. Don’t ask what it would take me now.
So Monday, I put aside an hour to workout, run, and swim to transition between working on day projects and night projects (day = marketing, night = blogging/music…usually the transition is just dinner). It wasn’t easy, but it did feel good to put my body through the paces. Now here’s the interesting part: from just one day of exercise, the next day I was noticeably more awake, alert and focused, plus felt better overall.
I know many of you are thinking “yeah, I could have told you that,” but in reality it isn’t as simple as telling someone they should get more physical exercise. You have to make the decision for yourself, and stick to it. It isn’t easy, and I’m only on day two (today was actually a bit easier), however I’m writing this post in the hopes that:
- It will inspire me to work at keeping this as part of my routine
- Perhaps you’ll be motivated to join me
What I had forgotten, and is something easy to forget when you’re in an industry that moves so quickly (and concurrently having passions that extend beyond 9-5), is that our bodies and minds needs time off from processing information and learning to soak everything in and reflect.
We can become even more effective and successful by not only learning and excelling, but by achieving balance between mind and body. The two are intertwined and need to both be at optimum efficiency to work together.
I was doing this before purely through the art of creating music (and plan to continue that). It is the antithesis of some of the things I do during the day and helps me achieve mental balance in creative tasks.
But focusing your body on a physical task does this in a different and important way, and gives you some nice clarity on the day while putting things in perspective.
Finding balance between, your passions, your mind, your body, and your relationships will ultimately lead to all aspects of your life being more enjoyable and productive.