|Finding that Perfect Balance between your Professional and Personal Lives
At a recent family dinner, my partner Greg and his brother Kevin talked about their average workday - out of the house before dawn, returning 14-hours later, with little time or energy left for themselves or their families. As I was offering them some tips from “The 4-hour Work Week,” which I had just finished reading, my sister-in-law Julie chimed, “Four hours a week? I’d be happy if Kevin just worked 40-hours!”
My clients often raise the question of how to balance their personal lives with demanding workloads. Even among those who love and find deep meaning in their work, most report that they want more balance. While a multitude of tools exist to help us work more efficiently, to connect without traveling, and to collaborate in virtual space, it is still a struggle to set boundaries between work and home life.
When it comes to finding balance, however, two things are indisputable: Balance is better than its opposite, and finding that balance is possible. So, armed with these truths, why not begin a transition today toward a workday that supports a healthful co-existence between your personal needs and workplace demands? Consider trying the following steps and see what surfaces for you.
Step 1:Click on the link below and print the “Finding Your Balance” worksheet, or draw two circles on a sheet of paper.
Step 2: On the first circle, create a pie chart of your ideal workday using the following criteria:
Work (including commute time)
Family and Friends
Self-care (personal, spiritual, creative and emotional health)
Other (tv, recreational time, etc)
Step 3: On the second circle, create a pie chart of your typical workday using the same criteria:
Step 4: Convert the pie charts into approximate hours (1 day = 24 hours)
Step 5: Compare these charts. How are they similar or different? Which categories do you find satisfactory? Which categories need the most change?
Step 6: Develop three simple steps you can try over the next two weeks to move your typical workday patterns toward your ideal workday. Some examples might include:
Step 7: Share your findings with a trusted ally who will support and hold you accountable in taking the next steps.
Refraining from any business (e.g. doing work, taking calls, or checking business emails) between certain hours (e.g. 8pm – 8am)
Not eating lunch at your desk and instead devoting part of your lunch time to reading a book, walking, or pursuing a personal hobby.
Commiting to leaving work at a reasonable and consistent time each day.
Working from home for one day.
People who have worked through these steps found they could, at least, make small changes that resulted in big shifts in the quality of their lives. Some achieved profound change and never looked back.
Allow me to make your first appointment for you: Contact your ally and schedule a short check-in for March 1st. Commit to trying a couple of steps over the next two weeks and report your progress to your ally. If past practice serves as a guide, you will soon find something called spare time and possibly a bit of energy that you can use to celebrate moving closer to your perfectly balanced day.
To access the “Finding Your Balance” worksheet, click: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1URud1xvT7Iv7Y-Yi_46x9ZO5PlV-Ig2GnTXPGxOQcn0/edit
To find out how your charts compare to other Americans, click: http://www.bls.gov/tus/charts/chart1.pdf
All of our previous Elemental News articles can be found at our website: www.elementalpartners.net/elemental-news
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