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.

There is no Perfect Plan

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There is no Perfect Plan

Do you have dreams? Do you have plans that are waiting for the right time to implement? This can apply to your professional goals or your life plan. Each of us has an ideal concept of how we want to live, work and play. What are you doing to achieve that ideal goal or vision? Most people will admit to having some vague ideas or goals. Very few people have their goals written down.

Yet I would suspect many of us are avid list makers. Why? When I capture my tasks on a list, they get done. It is that simple. If I don’t write them down or get them on my list, there is a much higher chance they get neglected or postponed. What does this teach us about getting what you want in life? Have written goals. Goals need to be very specific so you can work towards a real objective with a time line attached. One year I decided that my goal was to live in a cabin in the woods for a month. What I had in mind was a cozy cabin on a stream with lots of walking trails where I could spend a productive month working on next year’s projects. I did achieve that goal. My goal was not very specific, so what I got was living in a KOA cabin with no heat or running water for a month while on a travel assignment. I laugh now at this comparison between my ideal and my reality of a goal achieved. To me it is a great reminder that goals need to be very specific or you might get something completely different then your intended outcome.

Now comes the action part of any goal. What are you willing to do for this goal to be achieved? There will be a cost in time, effort or choices. Every step can be broken down into small actions that are reasonable and fit into your daily schedule.

The last step is to make a plan. Here is a sticking point for many people. We want to get it right. So the plan has to be air tight, all options considered and be sketched out all the way to how you achieve your final goal. Right?

Wrong.

Your plan for achieving any goal is to start with a plan. Getting starting is the plan. As you move forward you then will monitor, modify and adjust your plan based on how it works for you. Remember this is how adults learn, by doing. By making mistakes and adjusting or changing course from learning what does not work.

Throw out the idea of a perfect plan. Get a plan that gets you started on your goals.

That plan is the basis for taking action. Spiral Coaching offers a Laser Coaching 3 call special this month to jump-start your actions.  Decide Act Results- Click here to Start

Small actions will move you towards your goal. Say yes to your dreams by turning them into realistic goals one action at a time.

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.

Trust Yourself First

Trust yourself first

Did you know that fully 85% of you happiness will be determined by your relationships with other people? This information comes from Brian Tracy who is an expert in motivation and self development programs.

How well that you get along with others and how long they get along with you will determine your level of happiness in life. Your social relationships at work and home   both require quality time of giving people full attention to thrive and grow your relationships.

Trust is the number one important principle of any relationship.

To build trust, you must keep your word. You must do what you say you will do. Your actions need to be reliable and dependable for yourself and for the people around you.

This seems like a simple concept- just do what you say you will do every time.

What I find is that I have to start with trusting myself and my own intuition. Paying attention to matching my actions with my intuition is important for me to trust myself.

What does it take to build trust with myself?

First I need to take time and think before I act or make decisions. Only in a quiet space can I listen to my inner feelings. When I am under pressure I tend to agree to take on a task or responsibility that I really do not want or need to do. Then I am stuck keeping my word and being unhappy about it.

The second thing I have learned is to say “no” or” let me think about it”- before agreeing to take on a responsibility.  Keeping agreements is part of building trust.

So what if we made an agreement with ourselves first. My agreement is that I will give myself thinking time and space before agreeing to take on any commitment for other people.

This one agreement has done more for keeping me out of overwhelm than anything else I have done.

What agreements do you need for yourself? How will they help you manage life more easily?

Build trust with yourself first and see how that affects your relationships with others.

Don’t Think and Drive

Don’t Think and Drive at the Same Time

It was 5 am in the morning. I was on time for my drive to the airport, all packed and early with plenty of time to make my flight back home. My brain started going through my own check list. What do I need to do when I get home? What did I leave unfinished in NJ? What did I miss that was on the important to do list this trip?  Then, Bam! I realize I just drove right past the airport exit off  I 95. This is not a small exit; it has multiple lanes and many signs for anyone who is not lost inside of their own head. Panic time. I have no idea, no map and no person sitting next to me to help make decisions on how to get back to the airport in a timely manner. So, I do the next best thing and start talking to myself. You have all done this, inside of your head or out loud.

“I can’t believe you missed that exit, what where you thinking? Now what if you miss your flight?” My rationale, calm side jumps in: “Slow down. Start looking around; just take the next exit, other people must miss that exit. There will be other signs. Stop thinking so hard and start looking around.” Now I have an external focus with a clear need to pay attention. Indeed I pick an exit that seems to go in the general direction I guess the airport might be located. There it is a small picture sign of an airplane. Now there is nothing going on in my brain except looking for pictures of airplanes and following the arrows.

Wouldn’t it me nice if all of our choices in life were so clearly marked?  That we actually had physical arrows that pointed out the best choice for all important decisions. Maybe we do have more signs that help us choose and we are too busy inside our heads to look out and see them.

My thoughts for the day:  Be more aware of my surroundings.  Look around and notice what is going on outside of my head. Stay in the moment. Find a quiet place and time for my brain to do mental reviews.