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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 December 3, 2019

          7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

          7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

          I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

          It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

          A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

          1. Define Career Success for Yourself

          Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

          What does career success mean to you?

          This is about defining your career success:

          • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
          • Not what people may think of you
          • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
          • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

          “A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

          When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

          There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

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          • Work-life balance
          • Opportunities for growth and advancement
          • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

          Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

          • What do you mean by work-life balance?
          • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
          • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

          Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

          • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
          • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
          • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

          Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

          • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
          • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
          • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

          Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

          Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

          What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

          2. Know Your Values

          Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

          There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

          Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

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          • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
          • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
          • Put the words on your fridge
          • Add the words on your vision board

          Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

          3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

          When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

          How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

          Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

          • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
          • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
          • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
          • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
          • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
          • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

          Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

          • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
          • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
          • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
          • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

          Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

          By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

          4. Determine Your Top Talents

          What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

          What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

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          What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

          What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

          What do you notice?

          5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

          Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

          I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

          Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

          Keep these words visible too!

          Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

          6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

          Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

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          Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

          “These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

          7. Manage Your Own Career

          Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

          Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

          Summing Up

          For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

          Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

          Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

          1. Define Career Success for Yourself
          2. Know Your Values
          3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
          4. Determine Your Top Talents
          5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
          6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
          7. Manage Your Own Career

          “When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

          Good luck and best wishes always!

          More Tips on Advancing Your Career

          Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

          Reference

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