Spring cleaning is more than just clearing the clutter out of your inbox and your desk. This Spring, why not take a deeper dive? Spend some time prioritizing your entire life – both the personal and professional side. Chances are you will discover there is a considerable amount of literal and figurative clutter weighing you down.
- Step 1: Get the trash bags ready. Start with the obvious. You know the drill – clear everything off your workspace and then create the Ditch, Delegate, Do and File piles. Eliminate the paper. Streamline your office supplies. Keep only what you need at arm’s length. And don’t forget to streamline your icons on your laptop.
- Step 2: The heart of the matter. Figure out what you want your priorities to be – not what you think they should be. If you could only focus on one thing in your life and at work, what would it be? How does that align with your personal values? That is your top priority. What would you focus on second? Third? Fourth? Fifth? These are your top five priorities. (I’ll have more information on how to establish your priorities in an upcoming blog!)
- Step 3: Track your time. For one week, track how you spend your time. Are you spending time on things that are important and not urgent or do emergencies and fire-fighting define your day? You might be shocked at the amount of time you spend on things that don’t matter to you or don’t align with your values and priorities. Your goal is to reduce or eliminate these time sucks from your life. This may require a crucial conversation with your boss, peers or team. Also consider what you need to delegate and make it happen.
- Step 4: Concentrate on one thing at a time. Forget multi-tasking. It’s not possible to focus on two things at the same time. Instead, devote your full attention to the task at hand. When you are working, work. When you are spending time with your family or friends, focus solely on them. Use your time transitioning to/from work wisely. Identify the activities that will best help you mentally disengage from your job and transition to home life, whether it’s relaxing music, an audiobook or a high-energy kick boxing class.
- Step 5: Healthy choices. Lack of sleep, poor nutrition and no exercise can counteract any efforts you are making to achieve work-life balance. It may feel counterintuitive to add another activity to your life, but exercise relieves stress, clears your mind and ultimately makes you more productive. Don’t skip it.
- Step 6: Set clear boundaries. If you don’t allow yourself pockets of personal time, you’ll become too burned out to fully appreciate any part of your life. Once you’ve put private time on your schedule, protect it. Technology should help make your life easier, not control it. Ban technology at certain times so that you can focus on your family or friends. And learn how to say ‘no’ or ‘not right now.’ Don’t acquiesce to every request that comes your way. If it doesn’t fit into your schedule or align with your priorities, respectfully – but firmly – decline.
- Step 7: Evaluate your work-life balance on a regular basis. Achieving work-life balance is a never-ending journey, and your needs will be different at different times in your life. Set aside time periodically to evaluate. This is a great tool I use with clients to check-in on their level of satisfaction in eight key areas of life.
Balance is beautiful
Achieving balance in both your work and personal life allows you to perform optimally in both areas. The bottom line – it is up to you to take control and responsibility for the life you want to lead. If you don’t design your life, someone will do it for you. Even the best intentioned companies are designed to get the most out of you that they can. You must be responsible for setting and enforcing the boundaries in your life.
If you need help creating your priorities or managing your work-life balance, contact Powers Resource Center at http://powersresourcecenter.com/