Is your work/life made for you?
Let’s set the record straight, work/life balance is a myth. The idea that we can balance our working career with the rest of our life is just nuts. What I strive for is to create my own mix of career, family, relationships and ‘me time’. I have chosen my own path, with my own definition of how that mix should look like. By choosing your own path, it means that you can take ownership and know that you are doing the best for you.
Here are some ideas to get you on track to create the present not just the future you want:
Put your ideas down on paper and work out what you really want for your life. Include your family, your career, your goals and even some material things. It’s far easier to work out a plan when you’ve got an idea on what you’re working toward. I use vision boards and include images and text, as I am a highly visual person, but do what works for you.
Next write down what’s important to you. For example, that might include money, flexibility, time with the family, me time, full workdays, three-hourly work timeslots, going to the gym etc. This list will not only be your basis to schedule in your week, but to help you focus on your priorities in times of change or upheaval.
This is not about setting your every waking hour in stone, it’s about getting a schedule together so you know where you are from the get go. Start your Monday off, knowing that between the hours of __ to __ you are _____. Don’t be too harsh about your scheduling though, it needs to be more flexible that the rigid work days of yesteryear!
Air tanks. Yes air tanks. Think of each portion of your life as an air tank that you need to fill and that we work on one at a time, depending on where we are at in our schedule. They are often different sizes and shapes, but remember that they are all a part of the bigger picture and that they need to be cared for, nurtured and most of all, refilled.
This one is big. When you don’t have the time to work on that project, bake a cake for school, take on another client or just meet up with friends, say so. It’s not a good scenario to live your life in a constant state of crazy!
Use a project management application. For example, I use Asana. You (and your team or even your partner) can stay in check with everything on your plate. Set the projects and the individual tasks that you need to complete and include due dates and even details for each project. Side note: on Asana, when you complete a task a unicorn flies across the screen. Yep, a bit dorky but that little guy puts a smile on my face every time.
The next is really simple – a handwritten day planner. Physically writing down your tasks for the day helps you be more intentional, even more so that you would if you used an electronic to-do list. Include the priority for the item, the activity details and then there is a nice big box to tick when it’s complete. Winning!! In the top-right corner write down the three important tasks that you want completed that day. If you do more than those three tasks, then that is great. But if you don’t, then you know you have still achieved what you needed to.
Learn to outsource. Learn to let go of the stuff you really don’t need to be doing (or are not your strong points) and this will free up your time for the more important projects. I cannot recommend outsourcing enough. Search online for people to do everything from social media posting, to booking meetings, your accounting and more.
One of the reasons the idea of a work/life balance is flawed, is it doesn’t allow for the fact that it is ok for the scales to be skewed more in one direction at times. Sometimes family is the focus, and them sometimes career, but this is ok. It’s your path. Every time you get in a state of overwhelm, come back to what’s important and what you are building, this will help bring your focus back and move back into a state of action rather than fear.