Happy Friday! It’s the end of another week and a good time to reflect on how we are doing with our work life balance. Work life balance can be so elusive, can’t it? Just when we think our work life is going well, something in our personal life tanks. Or vice versa. Why is it so hard to achieve a good balance between our professional and personal lives? Between our dream life goals and reality?
When I worked full-time outside the home as an accountant and auditor, I craved more time with my family. Now that I’m a stay-at-home mom, my dream is to earn income from home doing something I love. I want a balance. I need that balance. And I have a feeling you want and need that balance too.
Now I don’t have a crystal ball or the perfect answer but I’ve struggled with achieving work-life balance for the last 15 years since I became a mom. I’ve done a lot of reading and reflecting on planning to achieve my dream life and even more trial and error over the years to come up with these 5 Simple Steps and Resources to Mastering Work Life Balance NOW that I’m sharing with you today.
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1. Pinpoint Your Passion Roadmap
One thing I LOVED about the Passion Planner I am using this year was the exercise to complete the Passion Roadmap. The Roadmap doesn’t ask us what we felt like we needed to accomplish to be a good parent, spouse, employee, citizen or friend.
It simply asks us “If you could BE anything, DO anything, or HAVE anything, what would it be?”
We all have plenty of things we know we need to do for our work, but what are the things you want to do for a happy LIFE? At the end of the day, what makes you say as in the wise words of my youngest son “This was the best day ever!”
As Lisa Sugar of Popsugar says in her book Power Your Happy: Work Hard, Play Nice & Build Your Dream Life*:
I firmly believe that what you find yourself doing in your spare time is the passion you should pursue. Don’t decide what you want to do with your life; let your life tell you what your path is.
What do you spend your spare time doing? What is it you want to do? Let’s find a way to sneak more time in your day for your passions.
As you can see from my Passion Roadmap, I have a bunch of bucket list lifetime goals. Angelia Trinidad, the Passion Planner CEO, told us to write down anything we wanted and so I did..including my wildest dream kind of goals like traveling to exotic places, living at the beach and writing a book!
What are your wildest dream kind of goals? What are your passions to lead your dream life? What happy things do you need to balance out all that work you do? If you need help finding your passion, check out my post here with 3 tips for finding your passion.
Recommended Resource: Find the perfect planner for your needs in my Ultimate Planner Comparison including the Passion Planner shown above.
2. Focus on a Chosen Few
We want to do all the things and please all the people but we just can’t do it all. Think about the different roles you play and pick one goal related to each role that you want to pursue for the year.
My roles and the dream life goals I am focusing on are:
* Homemaker – to make our home a dream home
* Mom & Wife – help kids achieve their dreams and grow in love and respect everyday with my Superhubby
* Patient – to take better care of myself
* Blogger/Work from Home Business Owner – to inspire busy moms and chronic illness patients to celebrate life & thrive with (or without) chronic illness.
What are your biggest roles? What is one goal you want to accomplish for each role this year?
Recommended Resource: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey that will help you define your roles and set your goals
3. Be Intentional With Your Time and Energy
When you are presented with a new opportunity or demand, think about whether it fits in to one of your dream life goals. If it doesn’t fit, just say NO!
My energy is limited and rather unpredictable due to Rheumatoid Arthritis and though it’s my biggest struggle, I have to focus and be intentional with how I spend my time when I’m feeling well. Make a careful, conscious, intentional choice whether you are fighting the biggest fire of the day, working towards your goals or pursuing your passion. We want no regrets for the decisions we’ve made.
What can you say NO to to make more time for things you want to do?
Recommended Resource: Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine who talks a lot about being intentional with your time.
4. Track How You Spend Your Time
How we plan to spend our time can be very different from how we actually spent our time, especially when kids or chronic illness are involved. You don’t need a fancy system unless you want one and it only takes a few minutes to jot down in a notebook or planner what you did for which role and goal in your life.
I track how I spend my time in each of my roles in my Passion Planner each week. Each role has a different color associated with it. At the end of the day or week when I color everything in, I have an easy to read visual of how I split my time between my roles. I can easily tell if I had a good work-life balance or if my time was spent more heavily in one role and neglecting the others. It also tells me how I can improve for next week.
In this week, I clearly spent most of my time on family (orange), did pretty well sneaking in some work/blogging time (teal) but hardly made any time for myself besides sleeping and eating lunch (purple) or doing housework or decluttering (yellow).
How is your time being spent? Are you spending time on the things that are important to you? On the want to dos? Or on the must do’s?
5. Reflect on How to Improve
In Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity*, author David Allen suggests doing a weekly review where you reflect on what went well, what didn’t and how to improve from there. This step is important for getting back into focus what you want to work on so you can fit that into your schedule with the things you need to work on next week.
Don’t lose hope, don’t get overwhelmed, don’t regret the choices you’ve already made. Just take a minute to reflect on how your work life balance was and how you can do better next week.
How can you make more time next week for the things you want to do?
Work life balance doesn’t have to be a struggle. By taking it step by step and figuring out what a good balance looks like to you, being intentional with your time, tracking how you spent your time and reflecting on how to improve your work life balance, you can achieve the elusive work life balance you so desire. For the sake of yourself, your family, your career and your health, work life balance is a worthwhile goal to achieve.
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What helps you achieve work life balance? Let’s collaborate and share tips with each other so we can achieve the work life balance we dream of! Be sure to drop me a line if you have any questions or if you want to chat about pursuing your goals, I’d love to hear from you!