Do you have balance in your life? I do, but it isn’t what you think.
We hear about work/life balance all the time. Let me just start by saying I don’t believe there is such a thing. At least not the way I think most people envision it. Many think that work life balance is having everything equal in your work world to your personal life. 50% time at work and 50% time personal. Wrong. Work life balance to me is when work needs the focus, it is the focus. When my personal life and family needs more of my time, they get it. I shift my focus on what is most important at the time. That changes daily and weekly. There never is an equal share between the two and I am fine with that. I want to be able to shift my focus where it needs to be. Here are the rules I live by to help me not go crazy when I am juggling it all.
- Run the day before it runs you– I was always one that liked to go with the flow. I didn’t like a schedule because honestly I am rebellious and somewhat of a free spirit. I don’t want to be confined to a “schedule”. Yeah, that doesn’t work with life many times. Having my day scheduled out actually is more rebellious. I know that I get the things done that are important as well as the things that I want to do. I found that if I don’t schedule out my day then I don’t find any time for me. And yes, that means scheduling out your personal stuff too.
- Protect your energy – I learned this one the hard way. Some tasks, projects and people use up more of your energy. If you don’t protect that energy then you become depleted. I protect my energy by going for a walk, doing easy tasks when I am drained and planning things that require lots of my energy when I know it is the best part of my day.
- Disconnect – I firmly believe that taking time to disconnect from our phones is crucial and disconnecting from email too! It is amazing to me how refreshed I feel when I walk away from the phone and email for a few hours. No checking social media, no worrying about texts, nothing. Now sometimes I find this hard to do as I want to be available. As a mother with children I worry if my kids are not with me that they will need me and can’t reach me. But then I think back to the days when we didn’t have cell phones. Yes, I remember those days and even though I appreciate having a cellphone sometimes I long for the simplicity of being able to be disconnected when I wanted to be. I’m telling you to plan some disconnects weekly, you will thank me later.
- Set times to check email – This was a bad habit for me and still is. I check email often. When I don’t people panic. I figured out that is because they have learned I check it often. Ugh. It’s an endless cycle. So, I’m learning to schedule checking and responding to emails into my day. Otherwise, they take up so much of the day. Some are important but let’s face it, most are not. I’m also learning to set a timer for tasks like email and social media. Otherwise, I could spend all day just managing those and get nothing done.
- Your emergency is not MY emergency– This is a big one. I always chuckle when I get an email saying something is urgent and they need me to jump right on it. Well, I guess you do but that doesn’t mean that I will. Or an email saying something is needed by Monday and it is late Friday afternoon. Gotta love that one too. It sounds simple but say it out loud, Your emergency is not going to dictate my day.
I am sure you can think of other things that you can do to seize your own day. That is all work/life balance really is, controlling your own day. Sometimes work needs more focus. Sometimes it is your own personal life. Either way, you need to be in control of it. Take the steps today to do just that.
What are other tips do you have for juggling it all?