This week- scratch that- this month has been incredibly busy for me at work and home and I’m finding myself to be a bit overworked and bit overtired. What a great opportunity for me to take a look in my work-life balance toolbox and put those tools to good use!
When life gets busy, the most important thing I can do to maintain balance is take care of my basic needs. I need to get enough sleep, eat three meals a day, take a walk, stretch my body, laugh, relax and have a little fun each day. Practicing self-care keeps me healthy, focused, and better able to make good decisions in my work and my life.
It’s also important for me to let my goals guide my choices. I have limited time and lots to do! I am able to make good decisions when I let my goals and values guide my energy and effort instead of running around putting out fires and checking off unimportant to-dos.
When I’m busy I find myself getting caught up in the rush without giving purpose or value to my activities. When this happens I go back to the basics of working mindfully. When I’m not working mindfully I feel drained instead of energized as I jump from task to task. Being active, open and aware of the present moment allows me to give my best effort at whatever I am doing.
When I am working mindfully, I stop multitasking and allowing what I can accomplish one thing at a time be enough because, after all, it really is enough! We often tell ourselves we have to get more done than is truly important and necessary.
I’m better able to balance my work-life by saying no when I need to do so. Saying no appropriately allows me to follow through on my commitments, effectively manage my energy and efforts, and create clear and honest boundaries.
I love your comments! How do you balance your work-life? What is it like for you when you are overwhelmed? How can you live the life you want today instead of living life as it rushes past you?
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Time management offers ways to increase efficiency and productivity, but time management isn’t valuable if you’re not spending your time on a life you value.
I prioritize, create to-do lists, minimize distractions and follow many other forms of time management. I generally get done what I need to get done, but I often feel rushed, tired and constrained by time. When I stop and consider those feelings, they aren’t created by time or the lack of time, those feelings are created by my concept of time.
Time management isn’t effective when it’s about to-do lists, planning, or scheduling- it’s about focus. I let go of the idea that I can control time- I can’t. What I can do is direct my energy by focusing on what is important to me- living a life that is fulfilling to me and loving my work-life.
I have the same amount of time each day, and I generally perform the same activities day-to-day. So what’s different on the days I feel peaceful, productive and balanced? The difference is my focus.
When I can give my full attention to what I’m doing when I’m doing it, I do not feel very concerned about time. In fact, when I practice mindful behavior, I accomplish more than I do when I focus on schedules or to-do’s.
I love my work-life when I am putting energy into what’s really important to me. I do this by asking myself, “how important is it?” If something is not important, or will not be important in a day, or week, or month, it might not be worth giving too much thought or energy today.
Another idea I practice is, “do the next right thing”. When I find myself distracted by unimportant tasks, I can practice doing the next right thing. A quick check of my intentions usually tells me if what I’m doing is worth my attention.
I can practice focusing on what’s important when I stop multitasking and allow myself to consider what I’m working on this moment. Attention to the present moment helps me be peaceful and productive.
Okay, so I admit I continue to practice time management because it helps me do more of what’s important with my time, but I will also be mindful that time management is useless if I’m not focusing on the right things. I cannot create more time but I can choose to spend the time I have on living a life I value.
Do you value how you’re spending your time today? What does time management mean to you?Join the Conversation
Years ago most job advertisements listed multitasking as an essential skill of qualified employees. Now more and more studies and articles suggest multitasking is a drain on employee and company resources.
Today we have more opportunity to be attached to many different tasks at once than ever before. We can take phone calls, emails, files and documents with us wherever we go. We are tempted to multitask our life away, twenty-four hours a day.
When our focus is split by multitasking, we are unable to devote ourselves to the task at hand and unable to fully enjoy life. Being present in each moment as we live it allows us to experience with all our senses, to pay attention to our needs, and proactively consider and manage our needs and the needs of our employer.
I excel in my work and am more successful at meeting my goals when I am focused on one task at a time. I can prioritize and consider which task requires my immediate attention, and focus on that task before moving on to the next task. It is enough to manage one task at a time, and in doing so I make fewer errors and spend less time making amends to customers and co-workers, and less time correcting errors.
Practicing work-life balance requires me to focus on what’s important and let go of the rest. I must attend to what is truly essential to my personal care, family care and professional goals. To be successful in my work-life balance, I must reduce the amount of unwanted and unnecessary information that will distract me from what is important to me.
Loving my work-life requires me to live a mindful existence, doing the next right thing and allowing what I can accomplish today to be enough. Loving my work-life requires that I accept myself as I am so I may make the best use of my skills and talents and ask for guidance and direction with other tasks. To do this I must pay special attention to this moment as it happens, recognizing and honoring what I can and can’t do.
We all have to multitask sometimes in our work and our lives. Practice balance and moderate multitasking so that multitasking works for you, not against you. If multitasking is splitting your focus, creating feelings of stress and causing increased errors, consider unitasking instead and experience more joy in your work-life.
For more information on the potential harms of multitasking, consider these articles:
Believe It: Multitasking Reduces Productivity…. and That’s Not All by Marlene M. Maheu, Ph.D. from SelfHelpMagazine.com
Drop that BlackBerry! Multitasking may be harmful by Theresa Tamkins from CNNHealth.comJoin the Conversation