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13 Ways Successful Women Strike A Balance Between Work And Family

13 Ways Successful Women Strike A Balance Between Work And Family

Today’s modern working woman often has an array of many hats that she has to wear on any given day and in any given moment.

Hats can include but are not limited to… mom, chauffeur, chef, coach, wife, sister, moderator, negotiator, colleague, boss and many, many more.

Over the last 15 years in my work as an executive coach, I have had the joy of working with all sorts of amazing and successful women from around the globe. Their struggles are variations on a theme, as they try to find greater balance between the different facets of their lives while doing their best to express their genius and talents through their career and family.

As women, we’re great caretakers and will put the needs and priorities of others first but over time this only leads to failure.

What I’ve consistently seen is that most women think “I just can’t have it all.” They’re resigned to the thinking that somewhere in their busy days something has to give and most times they’re the one left holding the short stick. Often overlooking their own health and well-being in order to take care of all the competing priorities of their career and family.

So how can you actually “have your cake and eat it too?”

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Instead of trying to slice up your time fifteen ways to Sunday to fit in everything in, you have to first start with your own mindset – that your health and well-being matters. And then put into practice some new habits that will regularly fill you up so you can better serve those around you.

Here are 13 secrets of successful working women from around the world to help you adjust your thinking, and positively shift your priorities to make time for the life you’ve been dreaming of living. A life where there is a balance between a thriving career and a happy home life.

1. Set Your Compass

compass

    In other words, get clear on your core values and purpose. Your values and purpose are your internal compass for how to best utilize the natural gifts, talents and genius that you uniquely have to express in the world through your work. When you can walk your path and remain true to your values and gifts, it naturally reduces the amount of stress you experience as you honor yourself and your spirit in all that you think, say, and do in each day.

    2. Manage Your Own Health First

    If you’re energy is low and you don’t have the umph to take care of the other important people and things in your life, then everybody loses.

    Be sure to eat healthy foods that feed your body with good nutrition, and make time for some kind of regular exercise so you can work out the stresses of everyday life. If you don’t, these stressors can build up in your system and lead to a variety of health issues both mental and physical, so dodge the bullet by being proactive in taking good care of yourself. Your loved ones will thank you!

    3. Communicate Your Wants And Needs Clearly

    As much as we would like to think that our significant others can read our minds, they (mostly) can’t. Instead of having to make them guess and be disappointed when they don’t figure out exactly what you want, ask for what you need. Practice having open, honest and heartfelt conversations with your loved ones so all involved feel seen, heard and respected. They will appreciate it and you’ll avoid the mistake of assumptions gone awry.

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    4. Fill Your Own Cup

    Fill Your Own Cup

      Be sure to take time out for things that rejuvenate your spirit. Things like meditation, prayer, getting a fabulous massage or a mani-pedi, doing yoga, or taking a walk during your lunch break are all great ways to de-stress and fill your cup back up with goodness. Find a few ways that work for you and practice them regularly. It will calm your mind and ease your spirit.

      5. Giving And Receiving 100%

      It’s often said that being in a relationship is a give and take. That you each give 50% to the whole of the relationship to make it “work” at 100% – right? But the real key is to give 100% of yourself, your attention and your time in the moment, to your loved ones while asking them to give 100% of themselves to the relationship as well.

      In other words, when you’re with your significant other (or with a colleague for that matter), be there fully in the moment with them as best you can. When you give your all, they can feel it. And as human beings, when we feel seen and heard fully, our hearts open and it creates a stronger connection with another. This helps to build trust and collaboration which goes a long way towards reducing misunderstandings.

      6. Be Clear On Your Priorities

      What is the most important thing in your life above all else? What is the second most important thing in your life? The third thing that is most important in your life? When you’re clear on what needs to be prioritized first, then it’s less stressful to make choices and decisions based on your priorities as you honor your values, heart and spirit.

      7. Get Your Zzzzz

      Getting enough sleep is super important! It’s the time when your body can process through the stress of the day and rejuvenates your cells. Studies have shown that a lack of sleep can create a multitude of negative affects such as loss of attention span and productivity, forgetfulness, depression, weight gain, premature aging of your skin, and health risks such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes, just to name a few.

      If stress has you worrying and keeping you up at night, try various mindfulness meditations before you go to bed to slow down your system and calm your mind for a restful night’s sleep. Your body will thank you and so will everyone else around you.

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      8. Know Your Boundaries

      What are you willing and not willing to do for your work? Where do you draw the line between work time and family time? When does your work-day begin and end? When is your sacred time with family and loved ones? If need be, put it on your calendar and color code it.

      The more you practice honoring these boundaries, the more you’re honoring your core values. You’re also establishing separate neural pathways in your brain for those different areas of your life. As you do this, it becomes easier to “code switch” or change gears in your mindset to leave work at work and be fully present with friends and family.

      9. Be Mindful Of Your Energy Drains

      Are there some ‘Negative Nellies’ or ‘Hateful Harolds’ in your life? You know those folks who are always trying to pull you down into their latest drama, “woe is me” story or other negative mindsets that drains your time, energy and focus?

      Notice the people and situations that are sucking you dry of your positive life force. Limit your interactions with those kinds of people or eliminate them all together if you can. The less you collude with their story, or buy into it, the less they have something to attach to and will eventually take their story elsewhere.

      10. Schedule Regular Play Dates

      Schedule Play Dates

        Just as much as your kids need play dates with their friends, so do you with your significant other and girl friends. Taking time out to let your hair down and be your “adult” self instead of Mom, or boss, or colleague creates downtime for your hard working brain to just have fun, be silly and do what floats your boat with friends and loved ones.

        11. Dance With Your Inner Muse

        We all have some kind of creativity that comes through us. It can look a thousand different ways such as painting, writing, gardening, cooking, knitting, and dancing just to name a few. When you take time to express your inner muse, it allows your right brain to light up and activates various pleasure centers in your brain. This releases a cascade of happy chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin which leaves you feeling good and creates a positive ripple effect into other areas of your life.

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        12. Ask For Help

        As a recovering “I can do it all by myself” kinda woman, it’s taken me a long time to learn how to ask for help from others. Truth is, when you’re plate is full, there is no way that you can do it all by yourself! When you’re willing to ask for help from those around you for various things you give them the opportunity to be of contribution to you in some way.

        All of us want to be of service in good ways – it’s hard wired into our DNA. When you allow someone to share their expertise or assistance with you, it’s the same as receiving a gift from them. They feel good about giving it and you get to practice graciously receiving their gift of kindness.

        13. Let Go Of The Small Stuff

        dandelion close up

          In each day there are bound to be issues and challenges that come up which can easily drag you down the rabbit hole of stress, worry, fear or frustration. When you’re clear on what your core values and purpose are, then it’s easier to choose your battles based on what’s truly important, what’s going to move you forward in a good way and serve the greater good.

          When you are able to let go of the small stuff you build up your energy reserves for more important things that need your time and attention.

          As you try on these different keys to having more balance, let me know what works best for you and the positive shifts you’re noticing in your work and home life. I’d love to hear!

          Featured photo credit: Morgan Sessions via download.unsplash.com

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          Last Updated on January 21, 2020

          How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

          How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

          We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

          So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

          While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

          Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

          What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

          How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

          But what does being productive actually entail?

          Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

          Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

          It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

          Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

          9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

          1. Avoid Multitasking

          Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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          Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

          If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

          2. Turn off Notifications

          According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

          Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

          The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

          Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

          3. Manage Interruptions

          There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

          Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

          If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

          By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

          4. Eat the Frog

          Mark Twain once famously said that:

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          “if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

          What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

          We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

          Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

          5. Cut Down on Meetings

          Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

          You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

          The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

          But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

          If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

          6. Utilize Tools

          Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

          If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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          And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

          Some examples of tools that could be used:

          Communication
          • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
          • Samepage for video conference software.
          • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
          Task Management
          • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
          • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
          • Wekan for an open source option.
          Database Management
          Time Tracking
          • Clockify for a free tracker.
          • TMetric for workspace integrations.
          • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

          You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

          7. Declutter and Organize

          Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

          Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

          Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

          Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

          8. Take Breaks

          Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

          As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

          Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

          Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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          9. Drink Water

          Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

          Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

          Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

          A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

          If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

          You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

          The Bottom Line

          The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

          After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

          In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

          A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

          Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

          More About Boosting Productivity

          Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

          Reference

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