Improving my work – life balance has been a challenge for years. Like when playing golf, there are many things you need to do correctly to be successful. I have gotten a little better over the years, have learned that its more about making sure you stay well rounded than trying to work equally on each area of your life simultaneously, but I still have room for improvement.
Covid’s disruptive impact on my career and turning sixty- (60) has inspired me to rethink my priorities and look harder for better work – life solutions. Here are the ideas I have found for enhancing my work – life balance, staying focused, beating procrastination, effectively managing my email and office inboxes, going paperless, minimizing time wasters, being more productive, and better managing my work responsibilities. Some of these ideas may be able to help you too.
Work – Life Balance
Things I’ve been working on to better my work-life balance include: periodically rethinking what’s important in my life; evaluating my accomplishments monthly against my daily goals and long-term objectives; setting my alarm to wake up earlier in the morning; exercising more, eating better, and finding time to meditate; taking off one or two evenings a week; scheduling time off for friends, personal interests, professional development and to network with interesting people; and scheduling time to think creatively. I am doing better in many of these areas, but still struggle with those things my body and mind naturally resist, which I must constantly force myself to address.
To stay focused, I sort emails for which I cannot provide a quick response into a “further action,” and “to read” folders, and try to delegate or out-source things someone else can better handle. I am saying no more, and I continue to do my best to minimize distractions. Other ideas I periodically remind myself of are to prioritize my goals, break complex tasks into smaller pieces and reward myself after achieving important objectives. These ideas are all common-sense approaches but keeping them front of mind helps me when I get side-tracked.
The three things I started doing to beat procrastination are: (i) alternating how I prioritize my business, personal, family, health, spiritual and financial goals every day to stay well rounded, (ii) avoiding things that waste my time, like constantly looking at my phone, and (iii) trying to knock out my top two goals at the beginning of my workday.
Going paperless was a hard one for me, but after switching to digital newspaper subscriptions I was convinced that this was the way to go. My advice is to use your scanner to scan your documents and file them in the Cloud. I also like using mobile apps, such as My Fitness Pal, MileIQ and Expensify, for managing my activities and expenses. A good task reminder calendar tool is also helpful for managing my paperless world.
Minimizing Time Wasters
My biggest time wasters are social media, emails, preparing for meetings, commuting time, indecision, and having to change my focus too often because of unexpected changes. Recent changes I have made to improve in this area are trying to look at my social media and emails when I am winding down my day; replacing less important meetings with phone calls; switching from in person business meetings to more Zoom meetings; and trying to be more agile by doing more scenario planning.
Being More Productive
To be more productive, I religiously stick to a daily checklist, keep a list of things requiring more thought I can look at in my free time, catch up on emails and call people back when I am at the airport or have downtime, and I recently started attending a monthly book review group to stay current with the latest ideas.
When it comes to meetings, I never work without an agenda, make sure I have invited the right people to the meeting to solve problems, and I insist that all meeting attendees be on time and turn off their smart devices. I also follow up on all action items from the previous meeting before tackling the first item on the agenda.
Better Managing Work Responsibilities
Work – Life balance is about remaining highly productive and pursuing your passion, while staying healthy, maintaining one’s general wellbeing, reducing burnout, and minimizing stress. This has become even more challenging with today’s increasingly flexible work environment – which was initially influenced by millennials and pushed to the forefront by Covid.
A hybrid work environment requires a high level of discipline and responsibility. To be successful in elevating your work -life balance you must stay focused on “getting the right things done” (GTRTD.) If done correctly, you should be able to work fewer hours, have a satisfying career, and improve your work life balance. I am not there yet, but I am getting closer.
James J. Talerico, Jr. CMC ©
About the Author
A nationally recognized small to mid-sized business (SMB) expert, Jim Talerico has consistently ranked among the “top small business consultants followed on Twitter.” With more than thirty – (30) years of diversified business experience, Jim has a solid track-record helping thousands of business owners across the US and in Canada tackle tough business problems and improve their organizational performance.
A regular guest on the “Price of Business” on Bloomberg Talk Radio, Jim’s client success stories have been highlighted in the Wall St. Journal, Dallas Business Journal, Chicago Daily Herald, and on MSNBC’s Your Business, and he is regularly quoted in publications like the New York Times, Dallas Morning News, Philadelphia Inquirer, and on INC.com, in addition to numerous, other industry publications, radio broadcasts, business books, and Internet media.
Jim Talerico is also a Certified Management Consultant CMC©, an honor bestowed on only 1% of all consultants worldwide.
For more information about Jim’s practice go to: www.greaterprairiebusinessconsulting.com.