Many times people ask me how I am doing this. How I am doing so many things, have a career, run a business, being in politics, the founder of NGO, volunteerism, a single mum of two teenagers and not be insane! At least not yet! I am sure that many of you are like me. How many of us we maintain our work/Life balance though?
Let’s first define what work-life balance is not.
Work-Life Balance does not mean an equal balance. Trying to schedule an equal number of hours for each of your various work and personal activities is usually unrewarding and unrealistic. Life is and should be more fluid than t hat. Balance is a very small word with great meaning. In order to find balance, we need to find balance within us and know what we want from life. There is no perfect, one-size fits all, balance you should be striving for. The best work-life balance is different for each of us because we all have different priorities and different lives.
Your best individual work-life balance will vary over time, often on a daily basis. The right balance for you today will probably be different for you tomorrow. The right balance for you when you are single will be different when you marry, or if you have children; when you start a new career versus when you are nearing retirement.
However, at the core of an effective work-life balance definition are two key everyday concepts that are relevant to each of us. They are daily Achievement and Enjoyment, ideas almost deceptive in their simplicity.
Engraining a fuller meaning of these two concepts takes us most of the way to defining a positive Work-Life Balance. Achievement and Enjoyment answer the big question “Why?” Why do you want a better income…a new house…the kids through college…to do a good job today…to come to work at all? How will i achieve that?
Most of us already have a good grasp on the meaning of Achievement. But let’s explore the concept of Enjoyment a little more. As part of a relevant Work-Life Balance definition, enjoyment does not just mean “Ha-Ha” happiness. It means Pride, Satisfaction, Happiness, Celebration, Love, A Sense of Well Being …all the Joys of Living.
Achievement and Enjoyment are the front and back of the coin of value in life. You can’t have one without the other, no more than you can have a coin with only one side. Trying to live a one sided life is why so many “Successful” people are not happy, or not nearly as happy as they should be.
My caffeine source is a real good Cyprus coffee. But I’m a somewhat fussy coffee drinker. I don’t like to be over cooked or not cooked; I like to smell the coffee’s aroma. And there is a big difference in the way that coffee can be cooked. So I know many coffee shops that serve Cyprus coffee a five-mile radius of my house and office. My favorite is a little convenience coffee shop near my office called Petros’ cafe.
Let’s say I’m wandering into Petros’ cafe at 6 in the morning, in my pre-caffeinated state and the implausible happens. Some philosophical guy bumps into me, and says…. “Heh misses… what’s your purpose in life?” Well even in that half-awake condition, I’d have an answer for him. I’d say, “You know, I just want to achieve something today and I want to enjoy something today. And if I do both of those things today, I’m going to have a pretty good day. And if I do both of those things every day, for the rest of my life… I’m going to have a pretty good life.”
And I think that’s true for all of us. Life will deliver the value and balance we desire …when we are achieving and enjoying something every single day…in all the important areas that make up our lives. As a result, a good working definition of Work-Life Balance is:
Knowing why we are doing and knowing what we get from that. Do we get feeling of achievement and enjoyment at the same time? The daily meaning of our life, our moments this i work life balance for my four life quadrants: Work, Family, Friends and Self.
Ask yourself now, when was the last time you Achieved AND Enjoyed something at work? What about Achieved AND Enjoyed with your family; your friends? And how recently have you achieved and Enjoyed something just for you? In order to be able to identify achievement and enjoyment you need to know first why and what you want from your daily activities. In this way you will be able to priorities your needs and focus on the important ones that will provide you better work /life balance.
Why not take 20 minutes on the way home from work and do something just for yourself? And when you get home, before you walk in the door, think about whether you want to focus on achieving or enjoying at home tonight. Then act accordingly when you do walk in the door.
At work you can create your own best Work-Life Balance by making sure you not only Achieve, but also reflect the joy of the job, and the joy of life, every day. If nobody pats you on the back today, pat yourself on the back. And help others to do the same.
When you do, when you are a person that not only gets things done, but also enjoys the doing, it attracts people to you. They want you on their team and they want to be on your team.
Simple concepts. And once you focus on them as key components of your day, they are not that hard to implement. So, make it happen, for yourself, your family and all the important individuals you care about…every day for the rest of your life… Achieve and Enjoy.
- What are your daily expectations and how I achieve them? What are your expectations when you go in the morning at work for the day, not for the week but for the day. What are your expectations when you go at home after work, when you meet your friends, family? Write them down, it is an amazing the feeling to cross out what you have achieved. In order to fulfilled your expectations and feel contempt. After all disappointment is the non-fulfillment of an expectation. Write them down and check them again at night. Whatever didn’t work, just think about why it didn’t work without punishing yourself.
- Reward. When the night comes and you sit on the sofa have you ever thought your reward for the day? After that long day where you knew your expectations and your achievements. With what have you rewarded yourself? Even if you think that you do not deserve reward, believe me you do deserve because you realize that you need to does that little bit of extra so you will reach your expectations. This thought worth’s a million f rewards. Embrace yourself like a child with good and bad.
- Learn to say NO. Many times we end up doing things that we really don’t want to do them, but we just said yes. because we might be afraid to say no maybe it affects our job, maybe disappoint our friend… but what does this make to us?
- Build your weekly schedule.
- Stay away from Energy Vampires. “Many people waste their time on activities or people that add no value — for example, spending too much time at work with a colleague who is constantly venting and gossiping,” says Marilyn Puder-York, PhD, a psychologist and executive coach in New York and Connecticut. How many times you are with people and when you leave them, you feel drain almost sick. My advice is to try stock out activities that do not enhance your career or personal life and minimize the time you spent with them.
- Organize your small errant. I remember myself that I was in the office in panic, I had to pay bills, go at the courier, go at the tax office, grocery shopping. That was really very stressful period of my life. What I did, is that I organize my errant list and delegate to people if I could. It was much more money saving and time consuming rather having me handling all of them. Can you shop your grocery online? Pay your bills online, nowadays you can do almost anything online. Even coaching we care doing it online. Or even changing services with friends that you like. I said a friend to bring me some wood for fireplace and I would water his plant when he will be away for a week. I cooked for my Mum, so she picked up the kids from school.
- Get Up! Maybe it’s time to get up and move! It’s been statistically proven that exercise helps to reduce stress and make up our mood. So, we make calories and we feel much better. Martha, works as accountant said that by the time she started gym she feels so alert and energetic.
- Relaxation mode. Remember that all machines need to cool down. Relaxation is a necessity. Take some time for yourself. You need to put this time on your schedule so it will become a habit and then it happens automatically believe me. Even in a hectic day you need to take 10-15 minutes and spare them with you and enjoy. Read a novel, listen to music, watch TV, go for a walk. Whatever you need to cool down. You own this to yourself.
- Love and gratefulness. Well spoken word and maybe one of the most famous words globally and yet so underestimated at the same time. Love it is not only between couples, love it is about everything. When I am asked why I am a life coach my answer is LOVE! I love people, and by giving love I receive love and everything works out well. If you love your work then your work will love you back, even if you don’t like it you need to do your best and love it. At least you can be the best as long as you are in that position. If you love your wife she will love you back, if you love your kids and talk them smoothly they will love you and talk you smoothly especially teenagers! Be grateful for what you have and try to enjoy them in their pure sense.
- Get yourself a Coach! Many times all these that we discussing are not easy to be done. We might need some extra assistance to map our activities in order to have our work/life balance. Together with your coach will be able to achieve that and believe the reward for that is valueless.
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