Real Work-Life Balance
Most professionals would say they are busy. Really busy. Especially when factoring in kids,holidays, work, and everything else that seems to come at you at an alarming rate. You know the feeling: you start your day with a to-do list with 5 things and end the day with 10 things on that very same list.
But what if I told you there IS a cure to this syndrome of busy-ness that plagues so many of us? I believe there is! And it’s not that difficult:
1. Prioritize Self-Care.
This isn’t something to be taken lightly. Things such as eating balanced meals, making time to exercise, and getting enough sleep have an enormous impact on your health and productivity. Psychology Today lists some terrifying health implications of sleep deprivation from visibly accelerated aging (read: premature wrinkles) to increased risks of heart disease, cancer, and even earlier death. You absolutely must make self-care a priority in order to be efficient, productive, and well. Remember the Eleanor Brownn quote: “Self-care is not selfish. You cannot pour from an empty vessel.” Ensure you are treating your greatest instrument, yourself, with care before you put it to work.
2. Know What’s Important and What’s Not…And Don’t Back Down.
While I was training to attain a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification, our instructor was constantly preaching the 80/20 rule, which says that 80% of your outcomes come from 20% of your inputs. That interesting to think about. If 20% of the things you do produce 80% of your results, what on earth are you spending all the other time on? I challenge you to take this question very seriously. What are the things you do that have moved your business the farthest up until now? What are the things you must do to really push your business to the next level? Figure those out and be relentlessly loyal to them!
3. Have More Productive Meetings.
It’s a well-accepted truism in the business world that we have too many meetings and that they generally are not productive. I completely agree. But there is good reason to connect the members of a group to share thoughts and get on the same page for projects and priorities. So how do you ensure you are doing this the right way? First, have an agenda and make sure it’s not stale. Stick to the items you’ve agreed to cover and stop conversations that deviate from the agenda. If the agenda is recycled weekly, ensure your talking points are relevant for each meeting. If not, scratch them from the list. Second, send out the information to all meeting attendees in advance. The majority of your meetings should be about combining the brain power of your team to analyze data and solve problems; it should rarely be spent on presentations. When your team has time to think about the issues you wish to discuss, they will be better contributors and will understand why they are there in the first place.
4. Get To Work!
Now that you’ve identified your primary drivers of productivity, have your team in alignment from a well thought-out and useful meeting, it’s time to really get to work! Make the decision to be wildly productive. Keep a time diary to discover how much of your day you are actually working, and how much of the day you are spending on low or no value added work. The truth of the matter is that you DO have enough time in each day to get things done. All you have to do is strategically determine what things require your unrelenting focus and then just do them. Try to be 1% better each day and I expect you’ll find more time for that work/life balance that is so sought after.
5. Learn More About Setting Good Goals
Listen in to Richard and I discuss more on this topic in our 2018 year end episode about setting better New Year's Resolutions to get more ideas on how to set more authentic goals for yourself now, or at the start of the new year!