How to Live and Breathe in Real Time

CareerTips & Tools

These 5 tips can help to balance your life

In your quest to keep pace with all that’s involved in planning a meeting, do you find yourself frequently preoccupied? It seems as if everyone is in overdrive today.

We don’t enjoy the morning because we’re always in a rush, concerned about getting to work on time. We don’t enjoy our lunch because we’re worried about what’s going to occur in the afternoon, or what needs to be done. We don’t enjoy the afternoon because we’re thinking about how we have to pick up our children, get across town to attend a meeting and then get back. We don’t enjoy the evening because it goes by too fast.

How would your career and life be if you had the ability to tackle problems and challenges as they arise? What would it feel like to engage in conceptual thinking whenever you wanted or needed to? What if you had a sense of control and ease about each day? If all these components were a part of your life, you would be living in “real time.”

Role Models Among Us

You may know meeting professionals who live in real time, or who live out significant chunks of their life in real time. Who are these people? They are individuals who stay in shape, have the time to take a phone call and actually know the names of each of her children’s friends. These are the people who volunteer for, and take an active role in, community organizations.

These are worthwhile achievements; elements of life within your potential. Take a look at these five components of living in real time, with the realization that each of them is within your grasp.

Components of Living in Real Time

Leave home in the morning with grace and ease: Take care of as many things as possible the night before, so in the morning you only have to get bodies out the door. There’s no need to have a mad rush, because you’ve got everything ready to go.

Focus on the important issues regarding your meeting, as well as those that impact your job or career: You have to pay homage to the issues that you identify as important in your life, and have the strength to ignore the less important. When you handle the important things, the others magically fall into place.

Handle and address the mail when it arrives, keep piles from forming on your desk and handle phone calls within 24 hours: There’s no need to be inundated by receiving too much mail or have piles that rise ever-higher on your desk—or have a mounting number of calls to return.

Enjoy a leisurely lunch: Know the importance of completing tasks so that when you go to lunch, you’re at lunch. Take the time to chew slowly and carefully. Give up reading the newspaper, and instead focus on the food in your mouth. Old sensations may return. You will actually enjoy your lunch, digest your food better, do better back on the job and feel better. What a deal!

Depart from the workplace at normal closing hours and feel good about what you accomplish each day: Leaving the workday on time is the single most important step toward permanently living in real time. When you ask the magic question, “What do I need to accomplish by the end of the day to feel good about leaving on time?” you have little excuse for leaving in a bad mood.


Jeff Davidson is “The Work-Life Balance Expert®” and works with organizations to help enhance their productivity by improving the work-life balance of their staff. He is the author of 65 books, including Breathing Space, Simpler Living, 60 Second Innovator, 60 Second Organizer and Dial it Down, Live it Up.