Dealing With Overwhelm and Creating Your Work-Life Balance
Today I want to talk to you about my own personal quick tips for creating your work/life balance.
So there is that famous quote ‘a woman’s work is never done’, but work in general is never done – which is a good thing really, because if there is no more work to be done, there is no more progress to be made…. right?
But constant work without play makes for a very dull existence. Most of my life I have either been going 100 miles an hour, or stalled completely.
So quick story…
Since going down the path of entrepreneurialism, I’ve had to learn the hard way that you need both personal and professional balance. I’m a single mother of two boys, I have this constant thirst for knowledge (so my head is always either buried in a book or researching online – yeah I know GEEK ALERT!), and I have worked crazy hours trying to stay on top of things. It’s been during those hectic times that I don’t look after myself. I don’t eat right, I snack, and I certainly dont exercise!
I know I’m not alone and I know for a fact that many women entrepreneurs can relate to this!
We as business women, tend to get so wrapped up in taking care of everyone else (clients, customer, employees, family, friends, partners etc), that we forget to take care of ourselves or more to the point, we simply don’t!
So back to my story…..
Last year I experienced the trip of a lifetime with my two boys. This kind of stuff memories are made from.
The three of us went on a 4 week road trip across United States, from California to New York (I know what you’re thinking and yes, driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road is just not natural!!!!) and during this amazing trip I still had keep my business running and continue working.
Two things really stood out for me.
The first is….
I actually managed to get done in less than a few hours a night, what would normally take me an entire day to do back home!
I realised that at home I constantly stop to check my emails, check my social media pages and I was distracted by dealing with things that weren’t working on my long term goals, that I thought I was really busy, when all I was actually doing was time wasting.
When I was travelling through the States I would only check my email accounts and social media once per day, and at night once the kids were asleep, I would deal with anything that needed to be dealt with then and there. Life still went on, the business continued to flourish and the wheels keep on turning.
So now I want to share with you my strategies for regaining your work – life balance so that you can avoid some of the pitfalls and mistakes I have fallen into in the past.
When in overwhelm DON’T PANIC, you just need to break it down into smaller steps
Even if you feel panicky, you can choose modest, recoverable steps to start addressing the situation. I find when Im inundated with work I need to break it into smaller chunks.
How I do this is by creating different lists and taking what I call a ‘brain dump’.
I write down all the things that need to get done for both work and personal, then I will allocate these things into different rankings of importantness e.g;
- Things that need to be done that are URGENT AND CANT WAIT (these are the things I know I need to address straight away),
- NOT URGENT BUT IMPORTANT (these are things I need to do but can action in the near future),
- NOT URGENT AND NOT IMPORTANT (note that this is usually the list you can delegate to your VA if its business related)
So remember its all about ‘baby steps’ and breaking it down into manageable chunks
Tip: It also helps to talk with a coach or mentor, your mastermind group or a close friend to get perspective.
You Need ‘Me Time’
Take the time to center yourself. Either meditation or simply quiet reflection are so important to our overall physical and mental health.
This is time we can use for exercise, reading a book and hobbies etc.
Again, it doesn’t have to be massive amounts of time, but at least some time for exercise and self-care is necessary. Women especially are good at taking care of everyone else and neglecting themselves. Don’t do that!
Remember…You cannot fully give to someone else when you are empty yourself. Make yourself a priority, and make time to care properly for yourself, physically and emotionally. Trust me, you will be a much happier person and be able to give that much more to those you love.
Set Healthy, Flexible and Achievable Boundaries
Yes, real life and real business are intimately connected, but that doesn’t mean that you need to give up your privacy. To find your work life balance, set boundaries so that you can feel generous without feeling depleted and available without feeling invaded. Keep them flexible, because as you would know things change.
Create or Refine Your Systems
We can’t manage real life and a real business without good systems. Look at where things feel most out of sorts and resolve to create or improve a system to get things on track.
Block out your time!
I schedule absolutely EVERYTHING!
I not only diarise things I need to get done in business but also personal life, including time to walk the dog, time with kids etc. I know this may seem a little OCD but honestly by me being able to visually see what I need to get done each day, it allows me to stay more focused on the task at hand, and also helps me make deadlines.
I know that Im not going to overcommit myself, and I do this buy using Google Calendar because it links to my phone as well as my computer and I can access it from anywhere.
So if I cant complete something scheduled for that day then I can simply move it over to another day with a ‘drag and drop’ motion – done – easy peasy!
So while work is important, it’s not the most important thing in life.
If you make the other things your first priorities, your time spent working will be much more productive. You won’t feel so burned out and stressed out, and you will accomplish alot more than you would otherwise.
One of the most important things we can do to become more balanced in our lives is master the art of Mindfulness.
It means being fully present in every moment, giving our full attention to every task.
This can be difficult for many of us, because as we are performing one task, our mind is already moving ahead to the next task, and the one after that. This means that at any given time, we are performing multiple tasks at the same time. One we are performing with our hands, and the others in our mind. What a way to feel exhausted and overwhelmed!
Try focusing only on one task at a time, and I think you’ll be surprised at how much more you can get done, and with less fatigue at the end of the day.
It takes practice though.
At first you may need to consistently bring your attention back to the task at hand. Your mind may want to keep wandering, as it is used to doing. That’s okay, simply bring it gently back to what you are doing right now, and continue on. With practice, you will be able to master this and feel much more centered and calm throughout your days.
I would love to hear your time management tips or your work/life balance tips. Please share them with us in the comments below
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