Have you ever felt the tug of war between your work and personal life? Ever have to make a choice to finish a project, and neglect spending time with your child? These tugs in life always point to a gap between your expectations the situation at hand. This gap is frustrating and can prevent you from having balance in your life if you allow it to. A great way to get rid of the gaps of frustration in is to follow these four easy steps to improving your work-life balance. I like to call these steps, The 4 R’s of Balance.
The 4 R’s of Balance is a process that I introduced at the Events Industry Council CMP Conclave. It is a process to helping you obtain and continue to improve your work-life balance. The four steps toward balance in which we will dig into are; Recall, Re-Evaluate, Reset, Re-Activate. These four steps have helped me much in my journey to obtain balance, and I’m hopeful that they will help you. Let’s jump into it!
Whenever you have a problem, it is important that you know the full extent of the problem and its impact on your life. This can be done by simply recalling your situation. Recalling your situation can assist you with finding out what is preventing you from the balance that you require. The suggestion would be to take a written account of everything that you are involved in or have on your plate in both your work and in your personal life. Here are some key questions that you should ask yourself during the process of recall:
- What is my current situation?
- What did I expect to happen?
- What actually happened?
- Why am I feeling frustrations with the choice that I made?
After you have accounted for your situation you do need to reevaluate what your priorities are in the current moment. Sometimes it is hard to keep on track with priorities because so many other tasks can compete with it. When you reevaluate your situation and your priorities, you will find out what you need to push to the backseat in order to stay focused on what matters most to you. Here are some questions you can ask yourself in the reevaluation process:
- What was my priority in this situation?
- What other choice could I have made to keep my priority at the top of the list?
- Why do I have this priority in the first place?
- Does this priority make me happy?
- What needs to be placed aside for me to accomplish this priority?
Most people feel very bad when they know an item that they are currently doing needs to take a back seat. It can be hard to let go of something that you have committed yourself to. However, the key thing is to realize that some items can steer you away from what is really important, and what is a priority in your life. You need to get rid of the unnecessary in your life for your priorities to shine through. There should be no shame in doing this as long as you handle the transition of these items responsibly, which we will discuss a little later.
After you reevaluate your priority in this situation it is helpful to take a look at all your priorities to ensure that they are still important. Take a moment to write down your priorities in your work and in your life. Place them in rank order and try to limit yourself to five in each area (work and life). This process helps you to reset your priorities. If you hold high value each one, it should still be on the list. Many times, items we thought would be on the list, has to be taken off since it is no longer a priority. If there is a new priority emerging that you would like to pay attention to you in your work or in your life, place that on your list. The goal is that you start to develop a lifestyle in which you live life to encompass these priorities. Sometimes in resetting expectations, people forget about themselves in the mix. In time, you will find that you are neglecting yourself as your body and soul will start to tell you. Remember these key things:
- Make sure to make time for yourself to do the things that are important to you.
- Make sure to have white space in your plan.
- All the items on your plan should bring you happiness and joy.
At this time, you should have your list of priorities and know what you will focus on. However, it isn’t just as easy as that. You have to be able to establish a plan of action for ensuring that these priorities remain a priority in your life. Many of you may have found that old priorities are no longer as important, and you may need to establish a plan to transition this item away from your realm of responsibility. For many of us this might mean delegating a project to another person. Or having a conversation with your leader, that you no longer will be able to assist with a certain task. Perhaps in your personal life, it means that you need to transition the care of a loved one, to someone else. Whatever your case may be, making sure the lower priority is delegated or in the hands of another individual will ensure that it will continue to be worked on or completed.
- Establish a plan to get rid of the unnecessary
- Who do you need to delegate to to get rid of the unnecessary on your list?
- Schedule smart, put everything in your calendar. Make sure you have time accounted for everything.
- If you have to say no, say no. Be polite, be honest, if you can suggest an alternative.
- Be accountable, notify key people about your new plan
About saying “no”
Saying “No”, can be so hard to do for many people. However, there is a unique art to saying no that you might want to take note of. When informing a person that you aren’t able to do a task, make sure to tell them why. Let them know that you are honored to be asked to do the item, but be honest about why you aren’t able. Additionally, if you can suggest an alternative, perhaps a person that you know could do the tasks and would welcome the opportunity. Finally, follow up on the task to show that you have interest in making sure the individual was able to get what they needed and to show you personally care. Following these quick steps in saying no will be able to help you with deflecting opportunities that do not support your priorities.
There have been many times in my life where I feel overwhelmed with what I’ve taken on. I always feel as though I have to do everything on my list, or be everything to everyone. Unfortunately that can’t be farther from the truth. This process is dear to me as it is what has gotten me through some very stressful times in my life. Taking a look at my situation, re-evaluating it for what matters most, helps me to be able to develop a plan to activate some balance in my life. I’m hopeful that these 4R’s of Balance will be able to help you obtain some most needed balance in your life. I welcome your feedback as to how these steps worked for you, or other ways you maintain your work-life balance. Cheers!
P.S. Are you headed towards a burnout? If so, check out this post to help you avoid planner burnout.