Speaking of our tablets, cell phones and laptops, we always make sure they are recharged. After all they are the life force of our existence—or are they? It is too often easy to forget that we are the life force of our existence. The technologies I mentioned are just tools to help make life easier for us, not to overwhelm us and yet that is what we are allowing to happen. We do not set up clear boundaries. We deplete ourselves of the very energy that we charge our devices with daily. So how do we set up clear boundaries and create true work life balance? Here are ten easy steps to get you on the right track.
1. Monday Morning Planning Sessions
Try to sit down every Monday at work and prioritize the weekly projects. By knowing what is mandatory you can make sure you get those things done first. Instead of trying to focus your energies on several things at once, which depletes energy, you can focus on one project at a time and give it your full attention. You will feel far less stressed this way and thus more energized.
2. Learn to say “NO” and delegate.
If you continue to try to be a one-person show, you will eventually burn yourself out. Learn to say “no” to those things that don’t enhance your career or that you do not particularly want to do and for those items that need to be done anyway, learn to delegate.
3. Schedule down time into your weekly calendar.
The late Mark McCormack, founder and CEO of IMG used to plan his schedule weekly not daily. He was often flying from one continent to another and had to negotiate important deals in the wee small hours of the morning on a plane etc. He had to schedule in time to sleep and time with family and the things that were important to him so that he could stay fresh and function in his busy world. He needed to be on top of his game at all times and the only way to do this was to make sure he scheduled those items into his weekly calendar.
Work will always be there. You need to learn to take care of yourself and make time for yourself as well as the people you love. If you don’t schedule this time in on your calendar the time will just fritter away.
4. Find a Hobby – Be Creative
Take up painting, dancing, a musical instrument, gardening etc. You may be surprised how much you love it and how it replenishes your energy level and revitalizes your soul. Try to be as creative as possible. Creativity is one of the keys to happiness and fulfillment. When we feel happy and fulfilled we feel more in balance.
5. Eat Well and Get a Good Night’s Sleep
This should go without saying and yet most of us are so busy during the day we either forget to eat or we grab a cup of coffee and an energy bar, or worse a greasy fast food item. We often work late and leave little time for rest. You need to relax in order to feel energized so make sure you are eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and getting a good night’s rest. Please do not answer emails, go on social media, or watch TV or the news just before bedtime. Studies show that whatever you do in the last half hour before you go to bed gets replayed 4 times more often in your subconscious than anything else that happens during the day. You don’t want the murder and mayhem from the news to be that programming. This is a great time to meditate or recite your positive affirmations.
Exercise boosts your energy level and gives you a greater ability to concentrate. Research shows exercise can help you be more alert. When you feel yourself start to fade during the course of the day, step outside and take a walk around the block. You will find the fresh air and the movement give you added energy.
7. Drop toxic people and activities
Very few things can really zap your energy as much as toxic people and activities. You know who and what they are. They are energy vampires. When you spend time with or doing them, you feel mentally, physically and emotionally drained. Some of these people and activities you may not be able to completely remove yourself from but you can certainly make sure you spend as little time with them as possible. Don’t sit around and gossip with them or find yourself saying things you wish you hadn’t said because they led you down a road you didn’t want to go down. Take a look at the activities that zap you. If you don’t like grocery shopping, see if you can order your groceries online and have them delivered. Hire someone to mow your lawn or barter something you love to do with a friend who loves to do something that depletes you. See where you can outsource those chores and errands that zap your energy.
8. Don’t bring the office home with you
Try to make this a hard fast rule. If you set clear boundaries you will find when the work day is over you have time to spend with your family, friends and your new found hobby. This will help to replenish your energy supply.
9. Minimize Social Media and turn off notifications
While social media gives us a false sense of connecting to those near and dear, it also is responsible for separating us from the ones we love who are immediately close at hand. It infringes on your family time and personal life. Schedule short periods of time to check your social media and emails into your daily calendar. This will allow your brain some much needed down time. This is a particularly difficult item to master because social media has become a socially accepted addiction.
Also make sure you turn off all notifications on your phone, computer and tablet. Even if you don’t immediately respond to the notification, your brain is still expending energy to notice and process the alert. Not to mention it is rude. You should be giving your full attention to the people you are with instead of your device.
10. Take time for introspection
Whether you decide to take a long daily walk, ride your bike, sit outside or journal, make sure you are taking the time to reflect on your life—who you are and the direction you are headed. Make sure you give yourself honest, loving feedback on those areas of your life you think you can improve. Don’t forget to be grateful for those areas you have already worked on and for what is working well. When we take the time to assess where we are on our journey through life on a regular basis, we don’t wake up one day asking ourselves “where am I and how did I get here?” We adjust our journey daily.
Remember your energy is a finite source. Just as you are responsible for making sure your devices are all charged up and ready to perform, you need to do the same for yourself. You are the best judge of when you need down time. By the time others realize it, it is too late. The damage has often been done. So stop to smell the roses, take that much needed unplugged vacation. By following some or all of the tips above you will find your life to be more in balance and balance is always a good thing.
© 2015 The Presentation Pros
Deborah Darling is The Women In Motion Business Group's Executive Contributor and President of The Presentation Pros.