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Balance is key

Each year as the holiday season rolls around, instead of simply signing a pretty, sparkling greeting card, I write a letter recapping my year.

I take my calendar and follow each day's entries. This helps me not only keep in touch with those I care and think about on and off all year, but also allows me to relive the year's events and see how much I did or didn't do. Then, when the New Year arrives in all its glory, I know what my annual resolutions and goals should be.

Generally, it's the usual list: lose weight, exercise regularly, get more sleep, attend a class and take life a little less seriously. This year, once again it seems I have made a small amount of progress in these areas, but not enough to satisfy my need for balance between work and non-work.

Interestingly I recently attended a Franklin Covey seminar on "What Matters Most" that coincided uncannily with my holiday letter and my year-in-review. As a very organized person, I was already writing things in my daytimer, touching each piece of paper coming over my desk only once, setting a specific amount of time aside each day to answer e-mail and following most of the guidelines experts prescribe for staying ahead effectively.

That night, I lay in bed thinking about the day, the seminar and relating it all to the world of shopping centers. I wondered how many others there are like me and how I could do my small part to make a difference in someone else's business life that would, as a matter of course, positively affect their personal life. There are so many shows to attend, meetings, luncheons ... that we've forgotten how live a balanced life. Is that the price of success? In my opinion, no.

I decided it was the simple business courtesies we seem to have sacrificed because we are so very pressed for time. So here are some of my simple resolutions I hope will help achieve better balance.

Answer all phone calls within 24 hours Don't take on more than I can handle Reply to every e-mail within two business days When taking on a task, do it well Delegate the tasks I can delegate to someone who has time Get organized so I can't miss appointments, deadlines or break promises

I feel that if I align my daily choices with what matters most, I can significantly increase productivity for myself and those I do business with and, attain a higher level of inner peace each day.

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