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8 Steps You Should Take To Balance Your Hectic Life

8 Steps You Should Take To Balance Your Hectic Life

Imbalance leads to bad stress and bad stress leads to poor health. So there in a “nutshell” lies the problem. But what to do about it? How do you strike a healthy balance between work, family, play, spiritual growth etc.?  Here are some simple steps toward achieving a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

1.  Take a self-inventory.

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    A self-inventory will teach you where and how your energy is expended. Assess how you get things done. Learn your strengths and write down action methods on building those strengths. Inventory personal weaknesses as well, not to eliminate them, but to develop them. It may lead to stopping some of those activities which prevent you from achieving a healthy balance.

    Make a list of those things that are of priority and importance to you and strive to eliminate those things that you can do without or are not a priority. Another method is to find ways to combine those things that are important to you. For example, work does not always have to be a serious endeavor. Throw some play in once in a while, as you move toward a balanced lifestyle.

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    2.  Ditch the perfectionist attitude.

    Many, many people consider themselves to be perfectionists and that this is a good thing. It is not. Perfectionism freezes you to the point of inactivity, wherein your obsession with perfection keeps you from accomplishing anything. The trouble with perfectionism is indeed, that life is not perfect. And the more you strive toward perfectionism, the closer you get to imperfection.

    The entire cycle is tiresome and frustrating. It is simply impossible to satisfy a perfectionist, simply due to the plain fact that nothing and no one is perfect. The preoccupation with failure only sets you up for continued disaster. Instead of unrealistic goals, set goals and priorities that are obtainable. Write out workable goals and how to achieve them and instead work that plan.

    3. Develop a “completionist” attitude.

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      As Larry the Cable Guy so succinctly puts it, “Get ‘er done!” Set goals. Write down these goals and mark them when complete. In this way you are developing a track record of personal accomplishments. Stop hesitating and begin. The more time you spend attempting to justify or simply “put off” working a doable plan, the more time that is wasted.

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      Avoid “jumping off the wagon” through worrying whether or not your plan is the “best” plan. Such worry feeds back into the perfectionist attitude that defeated you in the first place. Keep going. If you must, check the plan and goals once a week. And don’t forget to mark off goals as they are completed. It’s perfectly fine to check your progress; just don’t lose your forward momentum.

      4.  Build your community of like-minded people.

      Seek out those people who think like you and befriend them. Hopefully these people are, like you, encouragers. Through these positive friendships you will gain and grow exponentially in confidence. A confident lifestyle helps you “take the bull by the horns” and cultivate the things and ideas that are important to you, permanently sloughing off the non-essentials or the things that drag you down.

      Cultivate those people who will inspire and motivate you to concentrate on the goals and plans that are important to you. In this way, the people and plans that are superfluous or drain your energy are “fired.” Through cultivating these friendships, the burdens of life can be shared, essentially freeing you up to enjoy what is important to you.

      5.  Do one thing at a time.

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        Engage your full attention to the task at hand. This is an equivalent to hanging a “do not disturb” sign in your mind. When at work, concentrate on work-related tasks and do the same when with family. Tackle small or large goals as you see fit. And this is key: it’s your life and through expending your energy on what you believe is important, you will be able to prioritize and achieve.

        Break down larger tasks into simpler, doable steps and then start working on them. This one-at-a-time approach is the real secret in achieving a healthy life balance. Remember to follow through to completion in order to reap the reward of accomplishments, even small ones. You will also gain a powerful feeling of being in control and successful.

        6.  Use a schedule.

        Developing a daily schedule can be difficult. Yet a daily schedule is one of the best ways—indeed, perhaps the only way—to track goals, get more done, and even prioritize. Tracking goals helps you know what has been done and what will be done. Checking off these goals adds to a positive self-esteem and feeling of accomplishment. Priorities, essentially, allow you to expend your best energy into those matters that are most important.

        Always schedule a pleasantry into your day. Something that you look forward to. Perhaps one day it is golf and another it is eating out or visiting friends online. It doesn’t have to be a large or costly activity, only one that you enjoy. Vary your routine and do something you find pleasant and fun every day. Scheduling in this time is also a great way to recharge and tackle the rest of the day.

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        7.  Set healthy personal boundaries.

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          This tip has a great deal to do with priorities. There are only so many hours in the day to accomplish all of life’s tasks, both small and large. Boundaries help by letting you say “no” to a task that may be too time-consuming. Some people may view setting personal boundaries as mean or selfish; quite the contrary, personal boundaries are a gift to yourself.

          The lack of boundaries is what often leads to imbalance in the first place. Setting boundaries lifts self-esteem and lets you take control and responsibility for your life. Boundaries allow “you” to be “you,” free from manipulation and controlling or abusive relationships. Your needs are therefore acknowledged as you come to understand that your needs are as important as anyone else’s.

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          Last Updated on April 17, 2019

          10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

          10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

          What’s the secret of professional success? Some of it lies in the mastery of your discipline and all the technical skills you have to carry out your job; but a much bigger part lies in the soft skills list you possess.

          Soft skills are your people or relationship skills—how well you get along with others and your ability to communicate and collaborate—as well as the personal characteristics you bring to the job, such as optimism, a can-do attitude and the motivation to work hard. These skills are not always easy to point out, but their absence can cause serious problems and negatively affect the whole work atmosphere.

          They say that hard skills will help you get the job, but soft skills will help you get along—and get ahead. With that in mind, here’s the top-10 essential soft skills list to help you advance your career.

          1. Communication Skills

          Communication skills are hands-down the most sought-after soft skill that bosses want, and this one ability covers a lot of ground.

          To communicate well, you have to listen carefully, interpret the context of the conversation, express yourself clearly, persuade others of your point of view, check your body language and use an engaging presentation style that won’t intimidate or bore your audience. That’s a big ask!

          Your personality traits can influence the way you communicate with others. For instance, some people get straight to the point and center their arguments around facts and logic; others are cooperative and sensitive to how others feel. Both these approaches are equally valuable but there can be misunderstandings if you don’t understand where the other person is coming from.

          Taking a comprehensive personality test can help you understand why you communicate the way you do and where your blind spots are. It can also help you understand other communication styles is so you can tailor your communication to the person you’re dealing with.

          After all, connecting with your conversation partner is the hallmark of good communication.

          2. Flexibility

          Change is an essential part of any business. Companies need employees who are flexible enough to work with new initiatives, open to new ideas, and generally are able to tough it out when things don’t go as planned.

          Research has found a link between job performance and flexibility over the long term because there will be times when you have to step outside your routine and rise to fresh challenges that didn’t exist before.

          Being flexible doesn’t mean you have to hop into a new task or job role like an expert. Rather, it’s about showing you’re willing to accept new responsibility and learn different things.

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          Bosses look for people who are prepared to step outside their comfort zones and are open to alternative solutions when their first idea doesn’t work.

          3. Being a Team Player

          Working on a team can be challenging but learning to do it well can definitely help you get ahead in your career. Employers look for people who can negotiate, cooperate and manage conflicts with other people to achieve a common goal. That includes the ability to build lasting relationships with customers and clients.

          What makes a good team player? Essentially, it’s someone who knows the goal and knows her role. Employers look for evidence that you know your strengths, your responsibilities and how you can best contribute to the team, then put those skills into action by sharing ideas and communicating in a respectful manner. That’s the definition of being a good team player.

          This is another area where taking a personality test can help you get ahead. When teams work together, each member brings a unique set of skills and qualities to the group. Research has shown that different combinations of personalities affect how teams collaborate and how productive they are.

          Knowing who you are, and how you work on a team, can drive new insights and open the door to better teamwork.

          4. Positive Mental Attitude

          There are plenty of things you can’t change at work, like the people you work with or the fact that the printer is broken again. The one thing you can change is how much you let these things bother you.

          Bosses like people who are calm, rational and upbeat—those who diffuse tensions in the workplace, not get all grouchy and go around slamming doors.

          Studies show that people who maintain a sunny disposition have better relationships at work, are happier in their jobs and make better decisions than those who whine and complain. Some suggest that a positive mental attitude can also make you live longer—which means it’s beneficial for every area of your life![1]

          It’s not always easy to keep a “glass half full” mentality when work is stressful and the deadlines are piling up. But there are some things you can do to help maintain a positive attitude. Laughing at your unfortunate circumstances keeps the work environment positive, and taking “sanity” breaks can help you keep your cool in high-pressure situations.

          Managers look for positive mental attitude in a team member that is ready for a promotion, so it really does pay to keep your cool in challenging situations.

          5. A Strong Work Ethic

          People with a strong work ethic are committed to the role, persevere when things get tough and are inspired by challenge. These people are ambassadors for the organization, and will always be seen as top talent and ideal candidates.

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          If you can exhibit this skill, then expect to be seen as a great candidate, eligible for new opportunities and positions throughout your career.

          Since a strong work ethic can mean different things to different people, it helps to show specific examples of your exceptional work ethic during a performance appraisal or interview. For instance, you might talk about:

          • A time when you persisted in the face of challenges and did not shy away from hard work.
          • How you volunteered to help with projects even though these tasks did not form part of your job description.
          • The networking, workplace learning and skills betterment you’ve undertaken, which shows ambition and drive (people with a strong work ethic have those qualities in spades).
          • How you own your mistakes and never, ever point the finger of blame at others.

          For help with building a strong work ethic, check out these tips: How to Build a Reliable Work Ethic

          6. Public Speaking

          Who’s terrified of public speaking? Pretty much everyone, since public speaking is America’s number one fear, ahead of death at number five and loneliness at number seven.

          Yet, according to Warren Buffett, mastering this one skill you could increase your personal value by 50 percent.[2] That’s huge!

          If you’re not natural at public speaking, you’re in good company. Buffett had to work hard to overcome his stage fright and once dropped out of a public-speaking course before it started—because he was afraid of public speaking! He eventually realized that he needed to build up his confidence by just doing it; over and over in front of small groups.

          For a more structured approach, Toastmasters International teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a variety of pathways. Membership of this non-profit looks good on your resume but the real payoff will come when you can put your newfound skills to use on the job or in the interview room.

          Or, you can check out this advice: The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

          7. Integrity

          From a manager’s point of view, the two integrity skills that will set you apart are:

          • Always doing what you say you will do
          • Owning an error instead of minimizing or hiding it

          …even when no one is around to check up on you.

          There are lots of people who have climbed the ladder without scruples, but they are not the people who others trust, respect and support when promotion time comes around.

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          Behaving with integrity is a safe and consistent way to enhance your reputation and achieve your professional goals.

          8. Managing Your Time

          Phone calls, texts, Slack pings, meetings, huddles, side projects, multitasking—we are busier today than any generation before us. There’s no denying the workplace is an incredibly distracting place to be.

          A lot of us have traded effectiveness for busyness which we wear as a badge of honor, both as a proxy for productivity and to show our value to the company. But what bosses want, what they really, really want, is someone who actually gets stuff done on time.

          Time management is not merely the art of being on time, but of managing your time so you focus on the projects that really matter and add value to the business. This means prioritizing well, sticking to schedules, delegating, and not getting distracted by tasks that are easier to perform or less important. It means planning ahead and learning when it’s appropriate to say no.

          Time management can be a tough skill to maintain, but not a difficult one to pick up. Monitor your actions for a few days—how long do your tasks take to finish? What’s interrupting you? What causes you to lose focus? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can set a schedule for yourself to make sure you’re spending your time wisely and this valuable asset is never wasted.

          These 20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity are also great to try.

          9. Assertiveness

          In any workplace, you typically will find people with the following conflict styles:

          • Passive: Those who go out of their way to avoid conflict.
          • Passive-aggressive: Those who express their negative feelings through actions rather than words.
          • Aggressive: Those who respond to conflict in a hostile and rude manner. These people get their opinion heard but they won’t make any friends in the process.
          • Assertive: People who stick up for their rights while still respecting the rights of others.

          Managers look for assertiveness above all other styles because it allows decisions to be made without conflict or alienating people.

          How do you use this information for yourself?

          It starts with understanding your personality so you can anticipate how you will react when conflict arises and address your own shortcomings. Then, you can start influencing the team for top results, and securing your own career advancement in the process.

          Learn how to be assertive and gain respect:

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          How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way

          10. Creative Thinking

          LinkedIn recently analyzed over 50,000 skills that employers search for when looking for candidates to find out what skills are currently in demand.[3] Taking the number-one slot on the 2019 soft skills list was creativity: the ability to solve problems and think outside the box.

          Creativity is about bringing fresh, and sometimes unorthodox, ideas to the table. This helps companies to innovate, and companies that do not innovate will not survive very long.

          How do you showcase your creative thinking skills? The golden rule is to participate.

          Be brave and share your ideas during group brainstorming sessions. Volunteer to run a society, networking event or recruitment drive. Ask “what if” questions: “What if we add this information to the client welcome pack?” “What if we eliminate step 3 from the process?”

          These activities demonstrate that you’re prepared to go beyond “business as usual” towards creative problem solving—an ability that will serve you every day, all throughout your career.

          You can learn to unleash your creativity power:

          What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

          Final Thoughts

          The good news? Every item on this soft skills list can be learned. Although you may feel lacking in certain areas, taking an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to focus in on the areas that you’ll benefit from developing.

          So take an inventory of your personality, skills, and talents. This will give you a baseline for your communication style, attitude to change, conscientiousness and more. You can then identify your weak areas and develop strategies for improving your team-building, assertiveness and conflict skills.

          The better news? The effort is worth it. Developing your soft skills opens the door to a new job or a promotion, and helps you succeed once you get there.

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          Featured photo credit: Rachael Gorjestani via unsplash.com

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