The following is a guest post from Tamara Myles, author of The Secret to Peak Productivity: A Simple Guide to Reaching Your Personal Best, about achieving work/life balance.
I recently spoke to a group of entrepreneurs about balancing work and family. It was a lively group of success-minded, driven individuals. And they all had one thing in common. They all feel like they are failing, or falling short on keeping work and life balanced equally on a scale.
I am often startled at how some experts preach a “having it all” approach to balance. In my experience, this just sets us up for feeling like we are failing, even when we have achieved high levels of success. For me, balance is about being present, making choices about what you are doing everyday, and not simply reacting to what the day throws at you.
Here are three strategies to help you achieve balance:
1. Decide to Have Balance
As simple as this sounds, the first step is to become aware of the choices you are making, and whether or not these choices are leading you to the balanced life you envision. Time management is really choice management. We all have 24 hours each day and how we choose to spend that time really has an impact on our quality of life. Work and family don’t just “balance” automatically. Achieving balance is an ongoing process and you have control. Take some time to set goals for the different areas of your life and make sure that the things you do every day are moving you towards these goals.
2. Organize Better
A 2006 survey by Esselte Corporation found that 43 percent of the Americans surveyed described themselves as disorganized, and 21 percent have missed crucial work deadlines. Nearly half say disorganization causes them to work late at least two to three times a week. Additionally, a study conducted by IKEA with over 600 consumers found that parents with an organized home office are at least twice as likely to spend time playing with their children than parents whose home offices are in disarray.
Managing clutter puts you in control and promotes focus and motivation. Mehmet Oz and Mike Roizen, authors of YOU: On a Diet, claim that visual clutter slows down the brain. Clearing clutter from your desk, office and home and leaving more wide-open spaces will help clear your mind so it will be more productive.
3. Work Smarter, Not Harder
Working long hours causes stress and sometimes we find relief through procrastination and self-interruptions. If you are at the office for 10 hours, do you really work only six or seven hours? If you are searching for more family time, it might be found here.
Even when we are efficient in using our time, we may not be effective—we “do things right” but we don’t do the right things. Make sure you plan and schedule activities that move you toward your goals and always work on those first.
By following these three simple strategies you can ensure that you achieve the level of balance that is right for you.