Many of us think of our lives, both personal and work-related, as traveling in a constant cycle. We have busy periods and times of rest. In our business, we hire and train new employees, introduce new products, then settle into a period of “steady as she goes.” Then we start again by focusing in a new area. We plan and hold meetings, evaluate, and start planning again.
Our personal lives can be the same way. As much as we love the times full of friends and family, we appreciate the slower periods, too. They allow us to regroup, relax, and refresh.
Because every battery―work or personal―needs recharging. Here are some of the tips and techniques I’ve learned over the years to keep all the balls juggling without burning the candle at both ends.
Identify what’s most important to you. In times of intense work or personal activity, keep your focus on what you value most. What 4 or 5 things do you most want to accomplish in your day, week, or month? Identifying these core priorities will help you focus on what’s most important as you move forward.
Learn to say no. Quit doing things out of guilt or a false sense of obligation. This will make more room in your life for the activities that are meaningful to you
Organize your time. Keeping a schedule will keep you organized, which will in turn make you less frantic. Trust me. Schedule a set time for work, chores/errands, and leisure.
Stress relievers. No matter how busy you get, always make sure to set aside time to do something you love! You can’t be expected to accomplish all of your goals if you aren’t making time to destress. Go to a yoga class, walk your dog on Sunday morning, or find a cozy corner and curl up with a good book. Give yourself time to catch your breath.
Toss/File/Act. Organization in the office and at home is a breeze if you toss, file, or act on those papers, emails, and other distractions immediately. Use this strategy to tackle the paper piles or unread emails. Once you get the stacks of paper under control, make sure to keep them under control!
The Social Network. Online social networks are one of the greatest inventions ever. It’s tempting in periods of stress and in down times to hang out there, but they can suck your life away. I have made a rule to check Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn once in the morning while I’m drinking my coffee. Checking it throughout the day can be a real time siphon. It’s also tempting to check in when there isn’t something immediate drawing your attention. Don’t give in. Notice how much you get accomplished when you give yourself clear boundaries.
Give yourself a break. Some days we just don’t have the energy to accomplish everything on our list, or even anything on the list. Don’t be afraid to put your work aside and enjoy some time relaxing with friends and family or taking time to be by yourself.
Laugh. When all else fails, laugh. Look on the bright side and have a sense of humor. Everyone feels sad, angry, or frustrated at some time. Laughing can help ease difficult situations and give new clarity.
In the struggle to meet the demands of an increasingly complex world, we all need to develop strategies for maintaining balance in our lives. Recognizing the constant ebb and flow of work and personal life is part of that strategy. Just sayin’.