Dr. Lynn Nodland’s
Five Steps to Achieving Work Life Balance
1. Get Clear on Your Values. You have to identify what your values are and what you value having in your life. For example, if I say I want to be a good friend and then I turn down social engagements with friends and I choose to do other activities instead, what does that say? It says that “actions speak louder than words”. I am not really putting my friends first. Here is an exercise to help you get clarity on what you value.
Make a list of 10 things that you value the most:.
1._______________________________________________ ___ ___
2._______________________________________________ ___ ___
3._______________________________________________ ___ ___
4._______________________________________________ ___ ___
5._______________________________________________ ___ ___
6._______________________________________________ ___ ___
7._______________________________________________ ___ ___
8._______________________________________________ ___ ___
9._______________________________________________ ___ ___
10.______________________________________________ ___ ___
Now that you have made your list of 10 things that are of value to you, in the little line next to the value, rate the value in order of importance. In other words, the one you wrote down first might only get a 5=Moderate Importance in the rank of importance to you where 1=Most Important and 10=Least Important.
Once you have rated all 10 of the things you value, then on the outside little line, rate the amount of Time and Attention that you spend on that value using the same scale where 1=Most Time and Attention on it and 10=Least Time and Attention spent on it.
Now, take a look at what values you say are most important to you and how much time and attention you give to those values. Here is where you can make choices to change and really put what is important first, not only in your mind but in your time, your attention and your actions.
2. Limit Web and/or Phone Time. It is easy to get caught up in social media, games and surfing the net. You can set an alarm so that you are sure to accomplish the things that you need to do and really want to do. Also, I see that there are many relationships that suffer from too much online time. Sometimes the online time is harmless and but one partner or family member can feel left out. However, at other times people are putting their energy into online relationships that become more important that the real relationships in their lives. I have seen marriages break up when the marriage has been allowed to go stale and the online fantasy relationship seems so inviting that it can cause great distress and even cause breakup in the marriage partnership. If you are not enjoying and feeling close to the people you live with, then get some coaching to find positive ways to reconnect instead of getting lost in “computerland” and also possibly losing that once-treasured relationship.
3. Delegate to gain more time. This will lessen the load, avoid overwhelm and have better work-life balance. Is it difficult for you to let go of tasks? Maybe you feel that someone else will not do it as well or as completely as you would do it. If you do have those feelings, take some time to be clear on your expectations so that you can educate them as to how you want it done. Then “let go” of things that can be delegated and feel that freedom. Also, identify, where is your time best spent? What can you do that another person cannot do? Some things cannot be delegated, but take time to be clear on what you can outsource and then you will have more time and energy for what are your specific goals.
4. Add exercise and healthy habits to your life. Taking care of your mind and body will have big positive payoffs for you in energy, optimism, fitness and productivity. Getting adequate sleep means the ability to function at your best. Our nation is greatly sleep-deprived. Also, the food you eat affects how you feel. Are you overweight or underweight? Both of these conditions will keep you from having optimal energy. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Make a list of what you can do to take care of yourself and begin today. Why wait for the real “wake up” call when something goes wrong in your health and you are then saying to yourself, “If only I had…..”. If you don’t want to go to a gym to exercise you can build it in to your day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, go for a walk during lunch, dance as you brush your teeth, park further away from your destination so you are forced to add some walking. There are many choices each day in food, sleep and exercise. Today is the day to start toward being a healthier, happier you with the best and balanced life.
5. Incorporate Leisure, Relaxation and Meditation in Your Schedule. Leisure, relaxation time and developing a higher power also contribute to work life balance. Research shows that some of the best ideas are created while people are relaxing and the brain is allowed to go into alpha state for awhile and then back into the more fast-thinking beta wave state. Also, people who have regular breaks with vacations actually come back refreshed and renewed and are more productive. More productivity translates into more profitability. Are you feeling overwhelmed? Are you feeling that you really need a break but are unable to take a longer one, like a vacation? Then it is imperative that you find ways to rest and renew. Take a vacation in your mind. Think of a place that we will call “your special place” and actually take a few minutes to go there by actually experiencing as much as you can about your special place. What is there? What do you see? Is it light or is it dark? Only you know. Allow yourself to feel the air. Is it warm or is it cool? Only you know. What do you hear? What are the smells, the sights, the sounds and the feelings of being in your special place? If you will allow yourself to take a short quiet break and practice doing this exercise, you will be able to actually feel like you are transported to that place and the positive feelings of relaxation will help you to feel calm and renewed. My special place is the beach and I often take breaks and go there in mind so I can renew. I encourage you to do this relaxation exercise and let me know how you felt in your special place. Developing spirituality will also help you to put things in perspective, have peace and give you strength beyond your own strength. Using the tips above will help you to gain improved work life balance.
I would enjoy hearing about your journey to achieve work life balance. Visit my blog and share your challenges, questions and successes. – Dr. Lynn
©Lynn Nodland 2013