Work Life Balance made Simple

How to make work life balance simple:

  • Everything is not equally important. Do fewer things and do them well.
  • Decide what your values are — and which ones take precedence.
  • Do the things that get results.
  • Focus on the things only you can do.
  • Do the important things, which must be done now.

Work life balance can be simple over time. It won’t be resolved tomorrow but you can get much, much better at this with practice.

Five Key concepts that make work life balance simple:

  1. Learn to say no.

Say no to requests that are not your highest-level priority. Ask your self: am I being helpful or I am doing someone else’s work for them? Is this the best use of my time right now?

You can do anything once you stop trying to do everything.

When you say yes to one request, stop to think what you are saying no to at the same time. You can only spend your time on one thing at a time.

  1. Plan ahead.

Planning out your schedule makes sure the important things get done. Setting up a list for each day, helps you stay on track.

Schedule the important things on your calendar. If getting to your daughters soccer game is important, put that on the schedule.

Schedule some time for yourself as if it was an important meeting.

When you plan ahead for your high value activities, they happen. If you neglect to plan you end up dealing with what ever comes at you in a random fashion.

That feels like a lack of control and is exhausting to react rather than take action.

 

  1. Bundle chores or errands.

Check your patterns; be mindful of how you spend your time and the choices you make on a daily/ weekly basis. How many trips to you make to the grocery store?

When you have a plan for meals you can reduce time spent at the store and preparing meals. Plan ahead for errands and take once a week to do them.

Return phone calls in a batch at work. Save low priority tasks for when you need a mental break.

 

  1. Manage work time

Start each day with the high priority list. Plan ahead on what time you will leave work each day. Cut back on distractions by closing your door or asking questions when you are interrupted. Asking questions can save everyone time. Ask about time, priority and who else is involved before you take on another project.

What is the deadline for this? What do you need from me right now? If someone brings you a problem or needs help: ask first: What solutions do you have in mind? Or ask what have you tried first? Refer back to # 1. Learn to say no.

 

  1. Enjoy weekends and vacation time.

When you are home, really be home. Keep work out of your personal time.

Unplug from work emails, phone calls or texts. Don’t feel like you have to spend every spare moment on chores or tasks. Set up personal rest time doing something fun and enjoyable, even if it seems wasteful. It is not. Time for self-care is critical to enjoying your life and reducing stress.

My final few thoughts are about letting go of expectations and being perfect.

Give up on perfection. Good enough is good enough for many tasks. Other people can do things instead of you doing everything. You just have to let them.

Gaining a work life balance is a process. Reflecting on what is important to you is the first step to making changes that last. Feeling unbalanced? Contact Gwen for a grounding coaching session.

Click here to get a 30 min coaching time

Responsibility- Is this Mine?

When did I first learn that I was responsible?  Some where in the lesson of responsibility – I twisted up what I was responsible for. I took on the belief that I was responsible for all others first, that I was responsible for other people. That I was responsible for happiness, feelings, outcomes, being perfect, doing it all.

That other people’s feelings and needs came before mine. I used to think that doing things for others was important and I was not important.  Now I reject that belief and have let go of my idea of being responsible for the entire universe.  Are you really in charge of the universe today? Only when I ask myself that out loud does it sound silly.

Responsibility is a habit that is difficult to sort out at times. I am at heart a responsible person. It is the order of my belief that has changed. I cannot be helpful, compassionate or caring when I am overwhelmed or carrying the weight of all responsibility around with me. What happens if you pick up every task or problem that you see? How many of these problems or rocks can you carry and still keep moving without impacting your own health?

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On good days, I will gently hand you back the responsibility you attempt to pass over to me. On bad days, I will say yes to anything asked of me, and then get angry or upset when I realize I have taken on too much responsibility again. When I carry around things for other people, there is no space in my life for me. I am important. I need to be responsible to me before you.  Another lesson to be learned.

When I do forget and slip back into that outdated idea of what is mine, I am able to remind myself by asking better questions.  Is this really mine? Pause. Say no before yes. Who does this belong to? Why would you ask me that? Is this mine?

I am responsible.

I am responsible for my own happiness.

I am responsible for self -care, honoring my feelings, being kind to myself.

I believe that self- care is critical to self- development and growth.

I am responsible for me.

Step outside of your comfort zone

Once in a while it is a good thing to be uncomfortable. I am the first to admit I like to plan ahead and do not like surprises. I am the type of person who orders the same sandwich at the local deli and likes to know the expected outcomes before I start a project.
So why do I suggest that stepping out into the great unknown is good for you? First- there is no learning if you stay within your comfortable areas of expertise. Nothing new can be learned if you do the same things over and over again. How do you know you have a fear of heights unless you get to a cliff trail and look down. How do you know if you could be a leader unless you are willing to step up into that role. When you stretch your self into new territory you will learn something about yourself that will give you new confidence. There is a surge of confidence when you attempt something difficult and new. Especially if you consider failure just a method of learning. So consider where you could step out of your comfort zone and learn something new this year. Let it be OK to be the most uncoordinated dancer in a class or the person who asks the most questions in a group discussion.

Personal Boundaries

Personal boundaries are those invisible limits that you set around your life to allow good things in and keep you out of harmful situations. I consider boundaries as landmarks that mark my comfort zone in many situations. For many years I was a yes person. I would agree to take on any project and fix any situation for others with no regard for how that affected my energy levels. Then I moved to the other extreme and became a no person to any request. I had to learn to say no to everything because I did not trust my own system for deciding what things were harmful or helpful to me.
What can strong boundaries do for you? Personal boundaries put you in charge of how you live your life and how you choose to interact with others. They demonstrate respect for your needs and how much you treasure yourself.
What happens when you have no limits or personal boundaries?
One example is that you invite people into your life before you know their trustworthiness. You open yourself up to victimization. You find yourself overcommitted and unable to keep promises with feeling overwhelmed with no end in sight. Very weak boundaries can lead to emotional upheavals and feeling that life is out of control.
What happens when you set up very strong or rigid boundaries?
Here safety and control are you key needs. The results are not being open to new ideas or shutting yourself off from interactions and personal growth.
How do you find a middle ground? You learn by paying attention to your current boundaries and how they are working for you? What things have you agreed to do that immediately created a sense of overwhelm for you? What people or requests made you uncomfortable? When have you wanted to change your mind and join in after you turned down an invitation?
The best idea I can give you is try treating yourself as you would your very best friend. Be considerate of your own time. Take actions that demonstrate your value in life. Make it a process to act as your own best friend.