4A Quality Life: Making Work and Life Work Better

As our world changes at an ever increasing pace, we become at greater risk of losing much of what really matters to us: family relationships, leisure time, quality interaction with family and friends, and our physical and mental health.

There are several evolutionary forces creeping into our lives, and while we may be aware of some of them, we are not paying enough attention to how they will affect us, both in the immediate future and longer range.

Our Quality of Life is at risk of deteriorating because:

• Our country feels less safe, our lives less predictable since 9/11 and other terrorist events around the world. It has already affected our vacation plans, our modes of travel, etc.

• The shaky economy, corporate scandals, mergers, downsizing, etc. have decreased our financial security and sense of predictability.

• The rising cost of living—housing, fuel, goods and services have necessitated working harder and longer to maintain the same standard of living as before.

• Urban sprawl and suburban expansion have increased commute time and decreased easy access to both our immediate and extended families

• The pervasive influence of media and the internet has compromised our ability to influence our children’s values, morals and direction.

• Technology advances have altered the way we occupy our time and interact with others.

All of the above factors are increasing our levels of stress in one way or another. Stress is a major contributor and/or precursor to many minor and major physical ailments. In addition, stress negatively affects our relationships with family and friends.

While technology has been welcomed as a more efficient and time saving vehicle for doing business and communicating with others, it has many negative aspects: it is essentially more time consuming in that it adds hours to the workday (sending and responding to e-mail, “surfing” the internet, dealing with computer glitches, getting through to “real” people due to telephone automation, filtering through computerized telemarketing calls, spam, etc.) Another negative aspect of electronic mail and voice mail is that we are spending less time communicating with others by voice and face-to-face. This will lead to a breakdown in our interpersonal communication skills—what we don’t use, we lose.

Many of us are living our lives on the proverbial “treadmills,” and don’t slow down long enough to pause, reflect and evaluate what our lives are really about. The movements that have sprung up in recent years advocating simplifying our lives are mainly in response to our world spinning out of control. (e.g. selling the condo or big home in the city and moving to a smaller community; opting out of corporate life for more satisfying work)

When we are young, we think our lives will stretch on forever, and there is always time to stop and smell the roses—later. As we get older, the reality of limited time on this earth starts to sink in. For too many of us, it’s too little, too late—our valued relationships may have already suffered irreparable damage, or we no longer have the physical health or stamina, or we have been running on the treadmill for so long we don’t know how to get off—it’s become an ingrained way of life.

What will it take for YOU to stop long enough to evaluate your life and determine what is really important to you? And, just as important, to begin to take action?

It is difficult for many of us to even contemplate making changes in our lives. We tend to be more comfortable with the status quo, even if it isn’t giving us as much satisfaction and contentment as we would like.

One of the best ways to overcome that inertia, is to do it in simple steps:
1. Identify what areas you might want to change.
2. Start exploring possibilities—by doing research, talking to people who have made changes and visualizing how your life will be better.
3. Find what resources you will need, personal and professional, to help you.
4. Create a list of doable steps you will take to reach your goal.
5. Take one small, manageable step at a time.

Take the Self-Assessment Survey--your First Step in improving your Quality of Life!

© 2003 Shelli Chosak / http://www.4AQualityLife.com