5 Steps to Achieve the Work/Life Balance You Want

Ask yourself this question:  Are you living the life you want to live? Why or what not?

The answer is always the same. No, because I don’t have enough free time. No, I have too many obligations now. No, I cannot go back and change things.

I am here to encourage you to change your thinking and start striving for balance. If you try to change everything all at once, you will feel overwhelmed and accomplish very little. Here are five steps to achieve the work/life balance you want in life.

1.  Set your priorities, I cannot stress this enough. When you set your priorities, it gives you a barrier between you and the chaos in life. When you know your priorities, you can easily see what is important in life and what isn’t.

2.  Buy a dry erase board. Visually see what areas in your life need your attention. I have my “to-do” things around the house, things I need to shop for, my agenda (work, client projects, church commitments, etc.), and the fun in my life. You can come up with your own lists you want to grow. Split the dry erase board to “fit” the areas you want to focus on.

Buy a Dry Erase Board

3.  One step at a time. Start small by trying to accomplish about three times at a time under each “area” of your life. If you go beyond three items it starts to feel like a chore and it will never get done. I like to run five times a week but the reality is I do not have the time do that. Instead, I schedule myself time to life weights, run, and play outdoor volleyball. My goal is stay in motion and I can accomplish that in more than one way.

4.  Before you start climbing this mountain of change, ask for help. I have a healthy habit in calling people and asking their advice or opinion on something. When I hear how someone has transformed his or her life, I get inspired. When I hear about the journey he or she has made before, I can map out my journey. Not everyone’s journey is the same, but a few stories of similar experiences can give you better insight going into your own.

5.  Reward yourself. After you accomplish a milestone, celebrate it! Make a BIG deal about it and enjoy the progress you have made. On my dry erase board, I can tackle projects, cleaning, and my tasks all week long. When it comes to exercising it is hard to motivate myself to stay with it. My reward system has been to work out and pay myself a dollar. There are apps to help motivate you by billing you if you miss a day for an enforced system but I trust myself. I call it my “No excuses, work out … No guilt, Shopping” money. I used my last $40 to pay for new garden supplies.

What steps have you taken to achieve more balance in your life?

If you LIKE my business page on Facebook, you will see a common thing happening on Fridays I call a “Friday Focus”. The topic varies by what you suggest or what comes to mind. My goal is to help YOU, the reader, to take away something valuable than you may not have considered before. If you want to contribute to an upcoming Friday Focus, please leave me a comment and we can make it happen.

Seven Steps to Write Out Your Priorities

If you read my last post, I had a meeting with my business coach, Mark, that got me thinking about my priorities. In the three years I have been a serious entrepreneur, I realized I haven’t update my priorities. Yikes! I had them tucked away in a mental file where I keep other things that get put off until tomorrow. Mark saw my frustration and encouraged me to take out a new sheet of paper. “Now, write your priorities…”

I was embarrassed! I had only written down three to four things. Instead of scolding me, (Mark does what he does best) he defined the word priority. A priority is a thing that is regarded as more important that the other. It has an action and a deadline. This could represent a current project, agenda, or goal with a time frame to get IT accomplished. “Now, rewrite your priorities…”

This time I could easily write down nine things. As our meeting continued, I asked how he balances his work and life priorities. Here’s the golden ticket: we set the priorities for the areas in our life that are important. This new-found wisdom had given me an idea. I should make a list (I love lists) of ALL my priorities so I can easily see what my expectations are in the different areas of my life.

7 Steps to Write Out Your Priorities:

1. You set your own priorities. Others may influence you, but ultimately it’s you and what you merit a priority.

2. Separate your life into different categories to write out and see where your priorities lie. This is also an indicator if you are bringing spread too thin.

3. Add an action and a deadline to each list. Be realistic. Try not to pile on too much at a time. A steady flow of progress is better than accomplishing too much too fast and losing steam.

4. Present a list you feel comfortable sharing with a coach, mentor, or superior. Ask: “Do we agree that these are the items to get done over the next X-time frame?” This holds you accountable and allows collaboration to see something you might have missed.

5. Use technology to guide your progress. Once I have a list written out, I plug each action item and deadline to a new category on my Reminders app. Reminders is FREE for Apple users. Or you can use Wunderlist or EasilyDo in a similar way.

6. Start today! The first step is the hardest.

7. Revisit the lists of categorizes at the beginning and ending of the month. How did you do? What got done and what didn’t? Revise once every three months.

How did you discover your priorities? How have they evolved with you?

A Reflection on Priorities

Life is getting too busy, too fast leaving me with the feeling like a ton of rocks are falling on me. I feel paralyzed in my next step because I cannot not “see” the big picture. I realized after meeting with my business coach, my life choices and priorities need to be updated. The boundaries and priorities I started out with need to evolve with me.

My number one strength is Responsibility. (If you have taken the StrengthsFinder 2.0 test, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, it is definitely worth taking to learn more about what makes you, you.) The upside to this is, when I commit to something I see it through. And the downside to this is, I have to learn to balance what is a priority and what isn’t.

I saw a quote on Twitter that put my dilemma back into perspective. “You can do anything, but not everything. A constant sense of priority helps …” Anton Hristov

Twitter quote

I am a(n) believer, entrepreneur, daughter, sister, friend, girlfriend, consultant, advisor, chef, food lover, health nut, speaker, encourager, and many more. I can do ALL these things and live the life I want by setting boundaries and priorities ahead of me to shape my future.

Do I know what will happen next? No, but I have faith it will all work out.

Will I get overwhelmed again? Probably, but it would be a sign I need to revisit my priorities.

How am I going to control what affects me? I cannot let my emotions get in the way of the path I am on.

Is it time for a change? Remember, You Determine Your Worth, Time, and Effort.

“Make the important things important, and make the unimportant things unimportant.” -Unknown

Have you thought about your priorities? Are you over-extending yourself to stay busy, or are you drowning in busyness? Try setting limits on what you can and cannot handle in a given time frame. Know and set these limits ahead of time “to make the important things important”.

When you have your priorities laid out in front of you, use them as a guide for future opportunities. You are at your best when you are living within your limits and boundaries of safe priorities.

If an opportunity doesn’t allow or accept your limits, then it may not be the opportunity for you at that time. More opportunities will come to meet your standard of how you conduct yourself and how you do business. As Men’s Wearhouse Founder, George Zimmer would say, “… I guarantee it.”

Change Focus

If you LIKE my business page on Facebook, you will see a common thing happening on Fridays I call a “Friday Focus”. The topic varies by what you suggest or what comes to mind. My goal is to help YOU, the reader, to take away something valuable than you may not have considered before.