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How to Have a Successful Career and a Fulfilling Personal Life

How to Have a Successful Career and a Fulfilling Personal Life

Several years ago, after years of trying, my husband and I became parents to 3 kids within 19 months. I became fiercely determined to have a totally fulfilling life as a mom, and be very present for my kids, and also reach really big career goals. That was my definition of having it all – and I was on fire to figure out how to make it happen. I quickly discovered I wasn’t alone. In fact, many people are seeking a sense of balance in their lives. As Stephen Covey says,

“The challenge of work-life balance is without question, one of the most significant struggles faced by modern man.”

It can be incredibly difficult to feel a sense of balance when we are juggling careers, personal responsibilities, family time, self-care, recreational activities, social time, community service, and more.

I knew in order to achieve huge career goals and also be a very hands-on, present mom, I would need to streamline my life. I would need to eliminate the non-essential activities I was doing. I would need to cut out the time-sucking, empty activities like mindlessly scrolling through social media or checking email a million times per day, and be very intentional with my time every day. Each and every day, it would be important to tell my time where to go.

It required significant focus on my priorities, and a ruthless elimination of many time-sucking activities, but I stuck with my determination to achieve career success and also a fulfilling personal life, and I made it happen. By being very focused and purposeful about where I spent my time and energy, I achieved the elusive sense of balance, and now I help other entrepreneurs and driven professionals achieve it too.

People who have achieved fulfilling, successful lives have specific habits. While most people find it very difficult to be amazing and satisfied both at work and in their personal lives, the successful, fulfilled people know it’s not impossible. Learn from the habits of successful and fulfilled people to reach higher levels of fulfilling success:

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1. Have clarity about what you want

Successful, fulfilled people know exactly what they want to achieve. They know what’s important to them and set crystal clear targets to aim for in their careers and lives. These people don’t have vague aspirations. Instead, they set very specific goals that align with their priorities, and they direct their time and efforts toward achieving these goals.

Find out more about how to identify the thing you want most in Why I Can Be the Only 8% of People Who Reach the Goal Every Single Time.

2. Define success on your terms

Successful, fulfilled people define success their own way. They understand they can only be satisfied if they achieve success that truly matters to them. While they appreciate the value of hard work, their definition of a successful life is often more holistic than just achieving financial results.

3. Stand your ground

Successful, fulfilled people understand the importance of saying “no.” They set boundaries so they can focus their lives and work on what matters most. They avoid falling prey to enticing goals that don’t align with their true purpose, priorities, and passions.

4. Be highly productive

Successful, fulfilled people know how to get things done. They know in order to have “it all” and balance their careers and personal lives, they need to avoid wasting time. When they aspire to do something, they get it done.

Take a look at how successful people stay productive in 10 Habits Successful People Give Up to Increase Their Productivity.

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5. Be strategic with time

Successful, fulfilled people are intentional with their time. They strategically fit their work into their ideal lifestyle. As a result, their hard-earned success doesn’t feel overwhelming.

Try to perceive time differently and you will start to make every second count. Read more about How to Gain More Time Like Making Money.

6. Make decisions confidently

Successful, fulfilled people powerfully make decisions. They make choices that align with who they are and what they truly want. They courageously turn down opportunities that don’t line up with their values.

The best way is to start to build confidence from within, check out this article about How to Build Confidence From Scratch.

7. Know your priorities

Successful, fulfilled people have clarity about their priorities. They work hard, but avoid a “succeed at all costs” mentality. While they achieve great results in their careers, they also are high performers in the other areas of life that matter to them.

Learn to organize your life by setting the right priorities for yourself in How To Organize Your Life By Priority And Not Urgency.

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8. Don’t get jealous of others

Successful, fulfilled people congratulate and praise the achievements of others. They don’t feel threatened by the success of others. Instead, they are happy to create their own version of success and they greatly enjoy their lifestyle. Read more about the impact of endless comparison with others in The Cost of Envy.

9. Be disciplined

Successful, fulfilled people know they are in charge of creating their best lives. They realize that ultimately, they are in control of what they do with their lives, and they accept this power. They see the vision of who they want to be and they stick to their plan.

Learn more about the importance of self-discipline in Why the Conscientious Mind Is a Successful Mind.

10. Know how to delegate

Successful, fulfilled people declutter their lives. They delegate tasks at work and in their personal lives. As a result, they can enjoy more time freedom and do more of what they love.

Going is alone doesn’t work. If you want to know more about the benefits of delegating tasks to others, read The Delights of Delegation.

11. Be grateful but not complacent

Successful, fulfilled people appreciate what they have. However, they also strive to achieve more of what truly matters. They do this because they know they will use their success to make a positive impact on the world.

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A fulfilling life is not an aspiration, but an everyday habit

Building habits takes time but you can start with these small things:

Get clear about your priorities.

Who do you most want to be? What do you want your life to be like? These questions can be tough and can be an evolving process, but when you are clear about what matters most to you, you can start eliminating the activities that don’t align with what matters most.

Write out a schedule for your day.

When you tell your time where to go, you can decrease the time spent on time-sucking, empty activities. Being intentional with your time can help you achieve your career and personal goals.

Decrease the noise.

We are bombarded every day by thousands of distractions that threaten to take our time away from what matters most. Very simple (yet not always easy) strategies such as shutting off our phones, or only checking email at set times, can help us be more present, productive, and fulfilled.

Achieving high levels of career success while having a satisfying personal life is definitely possible. I’ve done it, and so can you.

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

More by this author

Dr. Kerry Petsinger

Entrepreneur, Mindset & Performance Coach, & Doctor of Physical Therapy

Feeling Stuck in Life? How to Never Get Stuck Again How to Find the Purpose of Life and Start Living a Fulfilling Life Don’t like your job? Here are some solutions. How People Make Decisions That Are Bad For Them How to Have a Successful Career and a Fulfilling Personal Life

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Published on January 16, 2019

How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

We’re all busy, but sometimes we go through periods where the work piles up and it seems like it might never end.

You might have such a heavy workload that it feels too intimidating to even start.

You may have said yes to some or too many projects, and now you’re afraid you won’t be able to deliver.

That’s when you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and start looking at what’s working and what’s not working.

Here’re 13 strategies you can use to get out from under your overwhelming workload:

1. Acknowledge You Can’t Do It All

Many of us have a tendency to think we can do more than we actually can. We take on more and more projects and responsibility and wear numerous hats.

We all have the opportunity to have and take on more work than we can reasonably expect to get done. Unfortunately, our workload is not static. Even now, while you are reading this article, I’m guessing that your inbox is filling up with fresh new tasks.

To make real, effective progress, you have to have both the courage and resourcefulness to say, “This is not working”. Acknowledge that you can’t do it all and look for better solutions.

At any given time in your life, there are likely many things that aren’t going according to plan. You have to be willing to be honest with yourself and those around you about what’s not working for you, both personally and professionally.

The more you exercise your ability to tell the truth about what’s working and what’s not working, the faster you’ll make progress.

2. Focus on Your Unique Strengths

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a leader or working as part of a team, every individual has unique strengths they can bring to the table.

The challenge is that many people end up doing things that they’re simply not very good at.

In the pursuit of reaching your goals or delivering a project, people end up doing everything themselves or taking on things that don’t play to their unique strengths. This can result in frustration, overwhelm and overwork.

It can mean projects taking a lot longer to complete because of knowledge gaps, or simply not utilizing the unique strengths of other people you work with.

It is often not about how to complete this project more effectively but who can help deliver this project.

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So, what are your unique strengths that will ensure your workload is delivered more effectively? Here’re some questions to help you reflect:

  • Are you a great strategist?
  • Are you an effective planner?
  • Is Project Management your strength?
  • Is communication and bringing people together your strength?
  • Are you the ideas person?
  • Is Implementation your strength?

Think about how you can bring the biggest value to your work and the projects you undertake.

3. Use the Strengths of Your Team

One of the simplest ways to manage your workload effectively is to free up your time so you bring your highest level of energy, focus and strengths to each project.

Delegation or better teamwork is the solution.

Everyone has unique strengths. It’s essential to think teamwork rather than working in isolation to ensure projects can be completed effectively. Besides, every time you give away a task or project that doesn’t play to your unique strengths, you open up an opportunity to do something you’re more talented at. This will empower both yourself and those around you.

Rather than taking on all the responsibilities yourself, look at who you can work with to deliver the best results possible.

4. Take Time for Planning

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. – Abraham Lincoln

One hour of effective planning could save hours of time. Rather than just rushing in and getting started on projects, take the time to map everything in.

You can take the time to think about:

  • What’s the purpose of the project?
  • How Important is it?
  • When does it need to be delivered by?
  • What is the best result and worst result for this project?
  • What are the KPIs?
  • What does the project plan and key milestones look like?
  • Who is working on this project?
  • What is everyone’s responsibilities?
  • What tolerances can I add in?
  • What are the review stages?
  • What are the challenges we may face and the solutions for these challenges?

Having absolute clarity on the project, the project deliverables and the result you want can save a lot of time. It also gets you clear on the priorities and timelines, so you can block out the required amount of time to focus and concentrate.

5. Focus on Priorities

Not everything is a priority, although it can often feel, in the moment, that it is.

Whatever you’re working on, there is always the Most Urgent, Important or Most Valuable projects or tasks.

One tool you can use to maximize your productivity and focus on your biggest priorities is to use the Eisenhower Matrix. This strategic tool for taking action on the things that matter most is simple. You separate your actions based on four possibilities:

  1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
  2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
  3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
  4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

James Clear has a great description on how to use the Eisenhower Matrix: How to be More Productive By Using the Eisenhower Box

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    The method I use with my coaching clients is to ask them to lay out their Top Five priorities for the day. Then to start with the most important priority first. At the end of the day, you review performance against these priorities.

    If you didn’t get everything accomplished, start the next day with your number one priority.

    If you are given additional task/projects during the day, then you will need to gauge their importance V the other priorities.

    6. Take Time Out

    To stay on top of a heavy workload, it’s important to take time out to rest and recuperate.

    If your energy levels are high and your mind and body is refreshed and alert, you are in more of a peak state to handle a heavy workload.

    Take time out of your day to go for a walk or get some exercise in. Leave early when possible and spend time with people who give you a lot of energy.

    In the background, it’s essential to get a good night’s sleep and eat healthily to sharpen the mind.

    Take a look at this article learn about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

    7. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

    Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be tough. The balance we all crave is very different from one another.

    I’ve written before about 13 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life. Working longer and harder doesn’t mean achieving more, especially if you have no time to spend with the people that matter most. The quality of who you are as a person, the relationships you have, the time you spend in work, deciding on what matters most is completely within your control.

    Work-life balance is about finding peace within yourself to be fully present, wherever you are, whether that be in the office or at home, right now. It’s about choosing what matters most and creating your own balanced life.

    If you feel there is not enough balance, then it may be time to make a change.

    8. Stop Multitasking

    Multi-tasking is a myth. Your brain simply can’t work effectively by doing more than one thing at a time—at least more than one thing that requires focused attention.

    So get your list of priorities (see earlier point), do the most important thing first, then move to the next item and work down your list.

    When you split your focus over a multitude of different areas, you can’t consistently deliver a high performance. You won’t be fully present on the one task or project at hand.

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    If you allocate blocked time and create firm boundaries for specific activities and commitments, you won’t feel so overwhelmed or overworked with everything you have to do.

    9. Work in Blocks of Time

    To keep your energy up to produce your best results it’s essential to take regular breaks.

    I use the 60-60-30 method myself and teach it to my coaching clients.

    Work on a project for a sustained period of 50 minutes.

    Then take a 10-minute break. This could be taking a walk, having a healthy snack or just having a conversation with someone.

    Then continue to work on the project for a further 50 minutes.

    Then take another 10-minute break.

    Then take a complete 30-minute break to unplug from the work. This could be time for a proper lunch, a quick bit of exercise, reading or having a walk.

    By simply taking some time out, your energy levels stay up, the quality of your work improves and you reduce the risk of becoming burned out.

    10. Get Rid of Distractions

    Make an estimation on how many times you are distracted during an average working day. Now take that number and multiply it by 25. According to Gloria Mark in her study on The Cost of Interrupted Work, it takes us an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to the original task after interruption.[1]

    “Our research has shown that attention distraction can lead to higher stress, a bad mood and lower productivity.”

    Distractions don’t just take up your time during the distraction, they can derail your mental progress and focus for almost 25 minutes. So, if you are distracted 5 times per day, you could be losing almost 2 hours every day of productive work and almost 10 hours every week.

    If you have an important project to work on, find a space where you won’t be distracted, or try doing this.

    11. Commit Focused Time to Smaller Tasks

    You know sometimes, you need to simply tackle these tasks and take action on them. But there’s always something more pressing.

    Small tasks can often get in the way of your most important projects. They sit there on your daily To Do list but are often forgotten about because of more important priorities or because they hold no interest for you. But they take up mental energy. They clutter your mind.

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    Commit to spending a specific period of time completing all the small tasks you have on your To Do list. It will give you peace of mind and the space to focus more on your bigger priorities.

    12. Take a Time Audit

    Do you know exactly where your time is going each day? Are you spending too long on certain projects and tasks to the detriment of bigger opportunities?

    Spend a bit of time to analyze where you are spending your time. This insight will amaze you and give you the clarity to start adjusting where you focus your time and on what projects.

    You can start by taking a piece of paper and creating three columns:

    Column A is Priority Work. Column B is Good Work. Column C is low value work or stuff.

    Each day, write down the project or task and the time spent on each. Allocate that time to one of the columns.

    At the end of the week, record the total time spent in each column.

    If you are spending far too much time on certain types of work, look to change things so your focused time is in Column B and C.

    13. Protect Your Confidence

    It is essential to protect our confidence to ensure we don’t get overwhelmed, stressed and lose belief.

    When you have confidence as a daily resource, you are in a better position to problem solve, learn quicker, respond to anything, adjust to anything, and achieve your biggest opportunities.

    Confidence gives you the ability to transform fear into focused and relaxed thinking, communication, and action. This is key to put your mind into a productive state.

    When confidence is high, you can clearly see the possibilities at hand and create strategies to take advantage of them, or to solve the challenges you face each day.

    Final Words

    A heavy workload can be tough to deal with and can cause stress, burnout and ongoing frustration.

    The key is to tackle it head on, rather than let it go on and compound the long-term effects. Hopefully, you can take action on at least one of these tips.

    If it gets too much, and negatively affects your physical and mental health, it may be time to talk to someone. Instead of dealing with it alone and staying unhappier, resentful and getting to a point where you simply can’t cope, you have to make a change for your own sanity.

    Featured photo credit: Hannah Wei via unsplash.com

    Reference

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