4 Effective Approaches to Work and Life Balance
It used to be that the lines blurred between work and personal life, however, for many of us, they are now fully overlapped, intersected, blended. We have found through successful client practice, that there are 4 main categories that truly impact real change and lead to lasting impact in living a fuller and more balanced life.
RESET YOUR PSYCHOLOGY
To effectively manage our schedules and find balance in our lives, we need to start with ourselves. Our standards and expectations keep us tethered to daily triggers that control our moods and lives. We must reset with our own internal dialogue before we can take outward action. Everyone has excuses, and that is why many of us are not managing our time well, we simply do not move past the excuse. Once you become dedicated to achieving a true balance, you will find that your excuses become problems that are ready to be solved.
THREE PRO TIPS:
Carve our tech free zones and commit to not using your phone at all during those times
Make the decision to be fully present in the meetings you attend (this means no phone) - If there are certain meetings that you cannot be fully present in, perhaps you should not be in them
Delegate responsibilities to those around you-you cannot possibly do it all on your own so work with your family, friends, and colleagues to garner the support you need
SET CLEAR GOALS
One of the most common challenges to efficient time management is a lack of clarity on what’s really important; we can get so caught up in the next deadline that we lose sight of the big picture. Getting caught up in daily tasks without assessing how they may connect to a greater purpose is why most people spend a disproportionate amount of time working without making much progress and this ultimately leads to burnout.
THREE PRO TIPS:
Plan out vacations and PTO a year in advance; it will seem like a lot up front, but when the year begins and you become focused on your goals and top priorities, planning vacation time can be a big derailer. Plus, these break away points will give you something to work toward and look forward to!
Practice what I like to call Sacred Sundays to prepare for your week ahead. We provide our clients with some of the following recommendations: comb through your calendar to ensure there are not any meetings you could delegate or even cancel, meal prep for the week, clean up your space, and incorporate at least one relaxing activity to focus your mindset for the next week.
Write down your top goals for the week and decide how much time you can dedicate to them each day. This will help you stay focused on your priorities and give you the justification to say no if something comes up that will detract from your top priorities.
MANAGE YOUR CALENDAR
To have control of your time, you need to take control of your calendar. Review it each month in advance and inspect every commitment: you will surely identify meetings and time blocks that are unnecessary that can be removed or delegated.
THREE PRO TIPS:
Plan your week in advance. This means Monday through Sunday. For each day you will want to write out your top 1-5 goals to achieve. This may seem extreme, but it will keep you present and focused throughout the week. There is a common theme, do the work up front to set yourself up for success in the long run.
Block off two separate chunks of time each day, Monday through Friday in addition to your meetings. One block is dedicated solely to reviewing and responding to email without distraction. The second chunk of time is dedicated to doing your work, phone, pop-up, and email free (turn off instant message on your computer - it is one your biggest distractions)!
A regimented morning routine has been a game changer for so many successful people. This may or may not work for you, however, I encourage you to try it. Plan to wake up an hour early during the work week for 66 days (this is how long it takes on average to build a habit). Decide how you want to spend your early hour (social media free) and put it into your calendar.
Once you have made the decision to have more balance in your life, have set clear goals and learned to run your calendar, you should set clear expectations with those around you. It is important to have conversations with those closest to you, from your family to colleagues and bosses, so that you can share your new approach to time and efficiency management.
THREE PRO TIPS:
Share your new schedule with your boss and explain how it will help you to become even more effective in your role. Remember, by giving yourself time, you will show up with more energy and therefore provide more impact in a shorter period. It is always great to have some examples of how this shift has already had an impact on your productivity.
It may be hard for people to understand your new schedule and boundaries, especially if they are used to reaching you whenever they want; be prepared to gently remind others that you are committed to your new habits.
Sometimes, you don’t have to say anything at all. Once you have set expectations, commit to them by sticking to your calendar and staying focused on your big picture goal.
Change is not easy, especially when you are working to break a pattern or habit that those around you have become used to. The important thing is this is work. It is not about being lazy or suddenly becoming unavailable, it is about maximizing your energy, efficiency, and productivity so that you can be your best in all aspects of your life.
To learn more about effective time management, work-life balance, or to attend one of our many courses on increasing productivity, please connect with us for a complimentary consultation!