I was part of a fantastic discussion last week, led by one of my mentor’s, Larry Salerno.  Larry talked about the idea that real life doesn’t have balance, but what you can do lead an “integrated” life to make sure that you accomplish the things that are most important to you.  I spent a lot of time thinking about this because it runs so contrary to what we’re brought up believing.  So let’s break it down.  What is balance?Well, in my world, balance would be having time to include (at LEAST) the following:

Time to read non-fiction

Time to read fiction

Time to spend with my 3 kids

Time to spend with my 1 wife ;-)Time to work out

Time to play a sport

Time to sleep

Time to relax 

Time to work on the house

Time to sell

Time to recruit and train

Time to see my extended family (brother, sis, parents, etc)

Time to travel

Time to…Time to…

You get the point.  If your life was perfectly in balance, you’d probably need a 180 hour day, and even then, you’re probably not going to get any real quality time in on a few of those categories.

An integrated life is one where you prioritize, and break down the things that you ABSOLUTELY can’t miss out on.  We’ll go into this in more detail at danjan.com in an upcoming video segment, but to summarize, break down the 4 most important aspects of your life into 4 categories (i.e. Wife, Kids, Work, Social – or maybe, Family, Work, Travel, Faith) – The categories are up to you, but find the ones that you can’t even miss.  Then create 10 sub-categories beneath each of the 4 headings, and put down the 10 SPECIFIC items you need to accomplish over the next quarter (i.e. WIFE:  Taking her for a date with just the 2 of us to “X” restaurant).  Don’t worry about the order at this point, just go through the list.  Once you’re done, then order them with the most important at the top, and finally, take every item, one at a time from each category, and put them into your calendar.  This ensures that your life is properly integrated, and you don’t miss the most important things in your life!

2 items of note:  

a)  When you’re setting or looking to break records, understand that your life will never be integrated properly, and will definitely not be “in balance.”  That’s why only 1 person owns a record.  It takes sacrifice over an indefinite period of time to claim it.

b)  Don’t rush this exercise.  If done correctly, it could take you several hours to complete.  Tie the people that are part of your list into your exercise so that they’re on board with what you’re doing.  It makes the process fun, and builds accountability.  Welcome to integration!