Measuring the quality of your life
(From the "Global Living" newsletter -- a monthly e-zine full of great tips and information for expatriates, global nomads, and internationally-minded. Please sign up at www.GlobalCoachCenter.com).
“If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we
aren't really living.”
How much time do you spend with your family? Answers to this question can vary, ranging from “not enough…” to “I try but…” to “almost every weekend…” to … and so on and so forth. But, really, how much time? I mean, how many hours and minutes exactly per week or how many days a year? Can you actually calculate that number down to an hour?
I bet many of us cannot. Why? Because even though we live in the world obsessed with numbers and measuring, even though we keep close tabs on profits, returns on investment, and rates of growth, we very rarely take note of the soft-side numbers. For instance, how many hours did I spend last week playing with my kids? How many times was I rude to my partner? How many evenings did I stay late at work instead of coming home?
These soft-side values are hard to quantify but quantifying them is the only way we can know for sure how we are doing. Because it may seem that we spend enough time with our families, but until we calculate exactly we won’t know. This is particularly vital for the expatriate families because the demands on our time and energy when we are overseas are often higher than at home. There are product launches to attend, receptions to go to, and conferences to participate in. There are offices that are under-staffed, offices that need extra-supervision, and offices that have just been opened. All of this takes an enormous toll on our family lives, on our loved ones that are waiting for us at home, and on our relationships.
So what to do? How can we actually make sure that we spend enough time looking after our soft-side values? First thing I would recommend is to ask your family -- what is it that you can do better? If they say that they’d really like to see you at home more often, don’t stop at the promise that they will. Document it.
Start with writing down every hour (to the minute if you wish) that you currently spend at home and with your family. Note that time spent at home telecommuting doesn’t count. And then try to log in a few more hours every month. See how much better you can do. By writing it down the time you will actually know that you are doing better, rather than just assume it.
Keeping track has other benefits too. It shows other people that you are making an effort. Attaching a real number to your efforts and making others around you aware of it, shows them that you are trying to change. And for those family members frustrated by never seeing you around this may just be the sign that you care.
Accounting for the soft stuff doesn’t have to apply just to your family and loved ones. You can also account for how much mentoring you may do, how good you are at communicating with your staff, and how often you ask for people’s input instead of shutting them down. Documenting all this might seem tedious but it’s important. These numbers are just as vital and they affect the quality of your life and of those around you just as much as any financial number.
Good luck measuring!
About the Author:
Margarita Gokun Silver is a Life/Professional coach who helps individuals and organizations to succeed in this increasingly diverse world and to overcome the challenges of working and living in other countries/cultures. If you mention LowCostLifeCoaching.com when you contact her, you will receive the special discounted rate of $50 a month for coaching services. To contact Margarita, please go to www.GlobalCoachCenter.com.
Copyright Margarita Gokun Silver 2006