Preparing to participate in the TODAY Show’s #DoingItAll series with Maria Shriver, made me think about the tips I’d want to share with everyone to help them be their best, on and off the job, in 2014. So, here they are!
1) The goal is work+life fit, not balance. A perfect 50-50 split between your work and your personal life doesn’t exist. And, for many people, “integration” is not the solution. It is the problem. They want work and life as separate as possible. Whether blended or separate, lots of work or a little, find your work+life “fit” or the way work fits into your life based upon your unique work and personal realities at a particular time.
2) Your employer can’t give you your work+life fit. Whether you have flexibility and support in your workplace or not, you still need to make your everyday work+life fit happen as deliberately as possible. And our research continues to prove most of us aren’t following the simplest steps that would make a big difference in our personal well-being and professional performance.
3) You have to learn how to manage your everyday work+life fit, flexibly and intentionally. It’s a modern skill set we all need to succeed, but few of us have. We are not taught how to put small, strategic boundaries up and allocate our time, money and energy across all the areas of our life. And we need to learn. What does that skill set look like? The Tweak It practice is one example of an everyday work+life fit how-to, while Work+Life is a process to create a formal flexible work plan that resets your work+life fit.
4) See all of your work, career and personal “to dos” as a big, beautiful buffet of possibilities. We are too reactive to everything that comes at us daily. Reframe all of those endless “to dos” and see them as part of a big, beautiful buffet. You can’t eat all of the dishes at once, even though most of us try to.
5) Set aside 20 minutes each week to reflect what you need to do and want to do at work, in your career and in your personal life. This is where you will figure out how many servings you can take from which dishes on your work, career and personal life buffet to be your best over the next seven days. Again, our research shows most of us don’t ask these simple questions.
6) Take small, meaningful actions, or “tweaks,” to close a gap between what’s happening in your work+life fit and what you want to have happen. Too often, we think a huge change is required to resolve the everyday overwhelm we feel. When the truth is a cup of coffee with a friend, doing your grocery shopping for the week online, or getting your haircut can make a big difference. But, once again, our research shows most of us don’t do this.
7) Keep a combined work and personal calendar and priority list. You’ve identified the small, meaningful actions, or “tweaks,” you want to make in key areas over the next seven days. Now add them to a calendar and priority list that displays both your work and personal “to dos” for the week in one place. That way you are making decisions throughout the day based on a complete picture of what you want to accomplish on and off the job.
8) Good time management, or “what” you are going to do “when” is not enough. You have to think about “where” and “how” you will complete a particular tweak if you want it to happen.
9) Help each other! Life is way too fast-paced, and complex to think that we can go it alone and achieve success and well-being without any help. We have to work together to achieve our unique work+life fit goals in a mutually beneficial way. Want to try to walk for 30 minutes at lunch three times a week? Ask a colleague to cover for you, and then offer to cover for them if they have an important “tweak” they want to accomplish.
10) Celebrate success. If you choose seven additional work, career, or personal life tweaks for the week, but only accomplished five because of a customer crisis at work, and then your daughter got sick, celebrate the five you achieved. Perfection is not the goal. Life happens. Celebrate what you do get done, because it’s probably more than would have happened if you didn’t choose at all.
Here’s to a 2014 full of personal and professional success!
Related article: Fast Company–5 Insanely Simple Work Life Balance Shortcuts from People Who “Have It All”