Tips to Improve Your Work-Life Balance
The title of this blog is one of my favorite quotes from a dear friend and work/life balance expert Mary LoVerde, who has published several bestsellers on the topic of finding life balance. One of her key themes is that when we are feeling overwhelmed, it is not so much “How do I get it all done?“ but rather, “Who do I need to connect with?” She reminds us we do not live in a vacuum where everything is up to us but an interwoven web of partners, parents, children, friends, work colleagues, mentors and more. She also talks about how to quit things in our life that are toxic to ourselves and others. Finally, she strongly encourages two daily musts – mediation and movement. These concepts can help you start on your journey to finding true life balance.
It’s rarely, if ever, all up to you.
All of our comings and goings have some sort of relationship and context that involves others. The most independent and determined of us all still need to connect, coordinate and rely on others for some aspect of a project or activity. When we think it’s all up to us, we lose perspective that allies, partners, teachers and friends are all there to support us. Engage volunteers who have a similar mission and purpose, together you both will reach your goals much faster and it may be critical to ever reaching your goals at all.
When I think of a circumstance where one might most be inclined to feel it’s all up to them, it is the single parent. So much really is up to them and they are doing double duty. However, this is a time when they really need to stay connected to family and friends – or build a network of other moms, teachers and neighbors. Work to spread out the duties among many “caring connections” and the work will be lighter for all.
Quit to Succeed
Knowing when and how to quit is important to finding balance in your life. Saying no or ending a relationship can be tough. Even when it is with a narcissist. Many of us don’t want to quit something or someone – we want to make it work. Quitting is for “failures,” or “losers,” we think. However, when we find something or someone is impeding our life progress or causing unhappiness it may be time to quit. Again, from Mary – “We stay in toxic situations where we feel under-appreciated, overworked or disrespected because we badly need the health insurance and as a result, we badly need the health insurance.” Learn to prioritize relations based on the benefits it brings to you and others. When you analyze what you are doing and how that either brings you benefits or harms you or others, you can make an objective decision on what you eventually want to get done and why. Learn to eliminate the low benefit activities to better succeed at the ones with multiple or high benefits. For instance, reading to your children before bedtime has a multitude of benefits. Reinforcing the parent and child bond, improving your child’s vocabulary.
When you find it is time to end a relationship with someone or from some activity or project from your life, always put it in terms of you and your needs. Quit with dignity and politeness, there is no need to comment on their faults or past mistakes, or lack of doing their share for the relationship.
Our Need for Daily Meditation and Movement
When our to-do list feels impossibly long, and when we find some positive relationships become disconnected and we fail to quit those time wasters and toxic circumstances – the first thing we compromise is our daily emotional and physical health maintenance. We neglect ourselves trying to get it all done. However, just like an automobile that doesn’t run smoothly without oil (meditation) or won’t travel very far without gasoline (energy and movement), without these types of self-nourishing techniques we begin to yell at our kids and make snarky remarks to our intimate partners.
On a daily basis, Mary asserts, we need to still our minds and connect with ourselves; and we need to exercise and get our blood flowing. An inactive body and racing mind leads to imbalance in our lives. Commit to take care of yourself first, so you may take better care of those around you. Just like in an airplane, where you are instructed to first put on your own oxygen mask and then, once it’s securely fastened, attend to your child’s mask. Not an easy thing to do in a moment of crisis.
Work to find balance in your life and pursue and nurture caring connections with others to help you. Quit what is not working – we simply can’t make everything work. Look to cultivate habits that promote your health, productivity and creativity. Finally, when your “to do” list is overwhelming and you feel paralyzed, think what is disconnected in your life and work to reconnect it.
And if you’d like to explore a new digital media platform that will support and reinforce deep emotional ties in a highly creative fashion, check out my friend Andrew Horn’s “Tribute.” You can almost think of it as a living eulogy.
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