Let's continue the conversation. If you rate this, please let me know why you scored it at the level you did. I'd love to write a "Part II" to this article, and will incorporate your ideas and suggestions that I read here. Thanks everyone!
4 ways to achieve balance in your work and your life
If you are in a rut, and your routine is becoming routine, try something new. You might walk away experiencing a slightly more balanced approach to it all.
"How do you achieve work/life balance?"
I field this interesting prompt all the time. The honest answer demands a reframe of the question. Here is the question that I can actually answer:
“How do you get back to balanced so quickly?”
Jodi (my wife and founder of No More Nylons: The Women's Business Social) and I have a term we use called: Recovery Time. It is made up of the time “in-between;” in between the time something happens to knock us off balance, to when we are back to the way we want to treat each other and be treated.
I personally use this same term when it comes to my professional life. You see, we all face hardship. The key is to have in place – before they need to come into play – a series of tips to get back; a series of tools and tricks to shorten Recovery Time.
Here are some that I use:
1) Set aside time for a regular project/event debrief and stick to it. Of course it sounds like a good plan (and intuitively most people agree that they need to get back on track and up to date regularly), but Life has a way of intruding. Hold on to this “creative and catch up” time. If necessary, make a reservation in a conference room or commit to a colleague to do it together just like a meeting.
2) Keep a Creativity Journal. Ask anyone I spend time with, “What does Jason always have with him?” and you are likely to hear this short list:
- His Moleskine Journal
- A digital camera
- A little bit of cash
- His BlackBerry
- A pen
I just never know when I might want to capture something like a brilliant idea or great photo op. I have worked out a way to get the information IN; I just had to work overtime to develop a way to get the ACTIONS out! (See the above, the review is sounding more and more important, isn’t it!?)
3) Grab it when you get it – a motivating situation that is. This is very, very important if you’re going to have things to use when you are in the opposite side of the spectrum – bored, uninspired, unbalanced or stuck. Recently, I met with a client who is in a position to begin volunteering full time. She shared with me some of her ideas (she is most interested in helping younger teenagers learn about money – where it comes from, how to get it, and what to do with it) for the next year. As we talked, I noticed I was getting more and more excited, writing a few notes and asking for her e-mail address. I am now in a position to reflect back on that conversation continually, gaining inspiration every time.
4) Get out of here! When was the last time you got in the car, drove more than four hours away from your house, ate at a new restaurant, walked through a new town, stayed at a hotel, and woke up without an alarm clock? It’s amazing, but sometimes just getting out of the comfort zone can give me the “juice” I need to get back and really dive in to some new motivating and inspiring projects.
Want to get started? Begin with a blank piece of paper, and write in big letters across the top:
I will be so happy at the end of the day if I _____________
Then, for a good 3-5 minutes just write. Make a list, do a mind map, write a paragraph or two. Just let it fly. Then, at the end of those 180 seconds, look back and ask yourself if there is anything you need to set up in order to get there. I have had to cancel meetings, send e-mails, and make reservations in order to map to my successful outcomes.
I have come to understand what work-life balance means to me. If you are in a rut, and your routine is becoming, well, routine, trying something new may be an answer. You might not walk away every time experiencing a more balanced approach to it all. Hey, let’s face it, we will all get “out” of it on a now-and-again basis.
Learn more about the author, Jason Womack.
Comment on this article
Posted by Jason Womack, Ojai, California |
Nov 26, 2010
Posted by Colleen Wainwright, Los Angeles, California |
Nov 27, 2010
Jason, I love this because it offers both a sweeping mindset change (the reframe) and tactical measures for facilitating change (doing the reframes on the fly).
I'm agreed on the necessity of prepping for the inevitable slides into whatever: boredom, frustration, roadblocks, exhaustion. I am such a nerd about it I keep things like "happy" and "singalong" playlists on my iPod and lists like "Things that make me happy" (treats, both physical and time-based, local and excursion-type, etc.)
Lately, I've been noticing—that's it, just NOTICING. And slowing down to NOTICE, I begin to see patterns I want to change, or opportunities to make things easier/nicer/smoother.
I would love more examples of this: both the "hacks" themselves, and how you slowed yourself down enough (or what other circumstances were in place) to cause the noticing.
Posted by Jason Womack, Ojai, California |
Nov 27, 2010
"Lately, I've been noticing—that's it, just NOTICING."
Colleen, that line really jumped off the screen and grabbed my attention. I know it's a challenge for me to read something, and really be present while I'm reading it.
(Ever been reading a book and as you get to the end of the page you don't know what you just read.)
I have found that there are really three elements that come together to give me the experience of noticing something. Those three elements are time, focus, and energy.
In the time that I have, only 1440 minutes a day, I found it's very important that I use those chunks of time that I'm given to look around and notice things. I know that there are many things grabbing my attention. It could be an e-mail, an incoming phone call, or a random idea in my mind just starts following. Finally my own physical and mental energy. Have IE breakfast this morning? Did I get a good night rest last night?
Thank you for giving me some words to use as I continue developing the ideas around a focus to finish mindset.
Posted by Lynn Baldwin-Rhoades, Seattle, Washington |
Nov 28, 2010
Jason, fantastic article here.
I'm always asking the question about work/life balance and your reframe is quite handy. In my own life, finding that "happy place" and staying creative are key to being balanced - or to recovering balance. Without them, I end up a cranky, snarky mess.
Colleen, I love the "noticing" piece, too. Noticing stuff to me is simply being aware w/o judgement, which opens me up to changing something rather than simple feeling cranky about myself.
Back to Jason, I love the tips, tools and resources you offer on your You Tube channel. I've learned much! http://www.youtube.com/jasonwomack
Idea for an article, part 2 I'd love to hear how to NOT follow this trail you mention: "I know that there are many things grabbing my attention. It could be an e-mail, an incoming phone call, or a random idea in my mind just starts following." I can get way too lost in this forest of things to do - which ultimately is not productive at all.
Posted by Blase Ciabaton, Naples, Florida |
Dec 12, 2010
Jason, thanks for sharing this great post, and thanks also to those who added valuable comments! I'm in the process of finalizing my personal and business goals for the New Year, and this post was very helpful. I think all professionals struggle with time management and work/life balance whether they are conscious of it or not. This is in the forefront of my own goals for next year. Looking forward to your future posts on this topic!
Posted by Lori Harris-Height, San Jose, California |
May 26, 2011
Great! I will share this 1.
Posted by Machen MacDonald, Grass Valley, California |
Nov 17, 2011
Jason, Great article. Can't wait to read your others. Excellent and helpful content!
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