Balance vs. integration

  • Published
  • By By Chief Master Sgt. Robert L. Sealey
  • 301st Fighter Wing

Work responsibilities, family/relationship time, pursuing higher education, staying fit, life in general... our Reserve Citizen Airmen face a lot of obstacles on a daily basis. With so many competing priorities, how do we maintain a healthy balance and not come up short in each one? We always talk about work-life balance, but I feel this is a misnomer. It suggests there is an equality or stability, when in reality, we spend a large amount of our time working. I feel integration is a better term, and we all need to be mindful of our work/life integration. By properly integrating our work/life, we can set aside enough focus time and not miss anything on our journey.


Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright started a 2-10-5-7 philosophy. Two hours of personal time in the morning for meditation, self-study, development, and working out. Ten hours for work. Five unplugged and focused hours to family and other personal relationships. The remaining seven is for recharging body and mind.


After hearing this from Chief Master Sgt. Wright in January, I was quick to adopt this new paradigm. I have been pretty good about following the schedule, but have also added a small tweak at the beginning of my day. I typically don't jump right out of bed in the morning. I enjoy a slow wake up, and hit the snooze button a couple of times. Now, I utilize that time more efficiently thanks to my friend Chief Eric Smith. The first five minutes, post-alarm, are spent meditating. The next five are spent listing the things I am thankful for. The next five are devoted to some strategic thinking. The last five are a mental picture of my schedule for the day.


At the end of the 20 minutes, I'm up and off. I integrated my desire to ease into the day with other factors important to me. I round out my two hours with working out, reading, watching some news, and preparing for the day. I will say I prefer to work out in the afternoon, but found that things would pop up and take over my end-of-day routine. As a result, I would eliminate working out, which is not good for the waistline. Now, I 'pay' myself first. I typically spend the next ten hours engaged at work--there is some windshield time in there too. Once I get home, I am able to spend five hours on relationships with the people important in my life. It's focused time, and typically doesn't include phones, tablets, or a computer. I try to get to bed at a normal hour and spend about seven hours recharging for the next day.


Adopting a schedule can help you navigate the daily challenges, prioritize people in your life, and help you build resiliency. This exact model may not work for you, but is obviously negotiable for your specific lifestyle. The philosophy is a way to better organize your time. For it to work you have to be focused/mindful in your current time slot.


Let me know how is your work/life integration journey is going. Maybe you have a different model. Either way, I would be interested in hearing about it. Follow me on Facebook @301FW/CCC.

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