Ah yes, work-life balance, the proverbial seesaw that points to that one state of equilibrium we’re all after. Most executives would agree that life rarely looks like a justice scale with equal parts work and play. Revamp how you spend your time by reading Arden Coaching’s post about making room for the priorities that mean the most to you.
Life is hectic, crazy, messy, beautiful, and usually far from balanced. You can’t stack up four portions of work and four portions of home and call it a day, mostly because obligations are likely to come up on either end: Plans change, kids get sick, projects take more time than anyone thought they would.
Rather than achieving this impossible ideal, work-life balance should be more about focusing on what’s important to you and finding a way for both aspects to coexist. Our coaches refer to the work-life relationship as less of a balancing act where you’re teetering to please both parties and more like an integration where one thing flows into the next.
Getting Your Priorities in Line
So how do we work toward restructuring this concept in our own lives? You first need to figure out those things that are most important to you from a high level (in both categories, of course, at work and at home). What are your priorities? What do you want to be able to say that you’ve accomplished this month, year, and decade?
Going Against the Grain for Your Goals
Once you’ve identified what ranks at the top of your list, it’s time to craft an action plan that ensures you’re actively working toward the goals that are important to you. Let’s say, for example, being at every one of your daughter’s ballet recitals is one of the priorities you identified. How do you plan on carrying through with being there, even if it means skipping a sales pitch? What type of reaction can you expect from work when you have to leave early occasionally?
Planning for how you’ll handle this pushback will help you make time for the things you need to when the time comes. It’s likely that work priorities will surface in a similar manner; maybe you’ve also acknowledged your nomination to speak at an annual conference your company attends as an upcoming priority. Establishing a month-by-month plan of how you’ll work toward this goal will help to make sure that your efforts are worthwhile.
Improving your work-life integration starts with identifying your priorities and putting viable action plans behind them. Does your business offer its employees enough flexibility when it comes to making room for their personal and professional priorities?
For helpful tips on how to take a temperature reading with your employees, check out our post “Three Tips to Keeping Your Employees Happy.”