At just about every recent holiday event I attended, I heard business folks discussing how they find themselves trying to do it all while at the same time trying to find and maintain a good work-life balance.
In a recent blog on adult health, Mayo Clinic tells us, “As long as you’re working, juggling the demands of career and personal life will probably be an ongoing challenge. But if you can learn both to set limits and look after yourself, you can achieve the work-life balance that’s best for you.”
In her book, Take Time for Your Life, Cheryl Richardson identifies the following seven common obstacles that continually prevent people from living lives that they love:
- You think “selfish” is a dirty word.
- Your schedule does not reflect your priorities.
- You feel drained by people, places, and things.
- You feel trapped by money.
- Adrenaline has become your main source of fuel.
- You’re missing a supportive community in your life.
- Your spiritual wellbeing gets last place in your busy life.
Richardson goes into more depth with each of these seven obstacles, and offers ways to find better choices to overcome these roadblocks and dramatically change your life.
Working harder doesn’t always mean better production or better results. A friend who is a work-life coach suggested a good way to work on creating a better work-life balance is to get in the mindset that everything is not of equal importance. Since you can’t “do it all” you should decide which things only you can do and give those precedence. This follows the 80/20 rule that most of us get 80% of the results from 20% of the work we do, so we need to focus on the 20% that bring the results we need. This work-life balance guru also suggests the following:
- Make time to organize. Set yearly goals, monthly objectives, and weekly priorities. Maintain some time each day to just enjoy life.
- Keep a “to-do” list with tasks listed in order of their value. Work on only high value tasks and delegate the rest.
- Log every promise you make and everything you need to remember. When we get over-busy it’s easy to forget something important. Don’t just write these things on pieces of paper that are easy to misplace.
- Use and maintain a good calendar to keep on track with appointments — even appointments with yourself.
American poet, writer, and editor Carl Sandburg said, “Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.”
Good intentions for creating a good work-life balance are only good intentions. We have to “work” at making a good work-life balance. Benjamin Franklin, diplomat, scientist, inventor, and writer, said, “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff that life is made of.”
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