While it’s great to know that balance is possible, what can you do TODAY to start better managing your heavy workload and make sure your core needs are getting met?
- Sharpen Your Focus
The more you have going on in your life outside of work, the sharper your focus must be during the time you spend working. If you have limited time each day, make sure a significant amount of that time is spent on activities (such as reading or learning a new activity) that contribute to your long-term success. Likewise, if you find yourself working long hours and having little time for anything else, make sure that the things that are important to your relationships and your health receive attention.
- Stop Thinking You Are Selfish
Some people often complain of long days of putting everyone else’s needs first and “hoping” they will have the time and energy for their own at the end of the day. If you’re in a similar situation, release yourself from the idea that taking care of your own needs (not to mention making time to tend to the primary criteria in your job) is “selfish.” It is not selfish to prioritize your needs.
- Identify One Problem Area That Needs To Be Fixed In Order To Be More Productive
This week, try to identify the primary problem standing in the way of your productivity. If there are lots of them, then pick the biggest one. If you need some help identifying your problem, ask someone who is close to you, who won’t be afraid of being honest with you. Once you define your largest issues, you can begin to dissect ways to fix it.
- Step Forward To Make A Change
Whatever problem you identify, come up with one concrete step forward you can take to resolve it this week. It doesn’t matter how small that step is, just figure it out and commit to it. Maybe this is the week you are going to start reading every day for 30 minutes, saying “no” to any distractions, delegating non-essential tasks to someone else, and/or hiring someone else to take care of these things. Making just one concrete change (no matter how big or small) will create positive momentum, help you to begin surfacing the deeper problems, and motivate you to take another step forward next week.
- Be Gentle, Loving & (even) Patient With Yourself
Learning to manage your workload and maximize your productivity takes time. Several years ago, I decided I was going to start running for exercise and stress reduction. At first, all I could do was walk around the track while other people flew by me. I told myself, “Don’t compare yourself. You’re just getting started, and you’re doing the best you can for right now.” After two weeks of walking the track, I was power-walking so fast that I passed several slow joggers, and it occurred to me: “I can do that!” Each week I jogged one lap further than the previous week, and before I knew it, I could run several miles, a few days a week. It’s the same thing with learning how to work efficiently.
How do you create balance in your personal life? In your work life?