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Thought2Action LLC ®
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Posts: 99

October is National Family and Work Life Month. With autumn and winter holidays approaching, this is a good time to examine how satisfied you are with your current balance of work and home responsibilities: Is your work life consuming more time and energy than you'd like? Are you spending less time than you'd like with family and friends? How often do your work responsibilities prevent you from maintaining your relationships with your spouse, children, or BFF? If your answers are anything close to "yes," "yes," and "too often," it's time to take steps to re-balance. Following are some tips and links to get you started:

 

Prioritize at work and at home. At work, make it clear to yourself and your boss what you're able to accomplish in the time you have, and commit to deliver your work product - whether it's a physical product or a collection of services - on time and of high quality (you and your boss must agree on what this means). At home, make it clear to yourself and your family when and how you will be available to them, keeping your work schedule in mind as well as your priorities for using your time. Visit WebMD for ideas on how to make this happen for you.

 

Get organized. Part of the reason your life is unbalanced could be that your home and workspace are cluttered, and your schedule is equally cluttered. You are wasting precious time trying to find your things and find enough time to do all you would like to. Decluttering your space - both at home and at work - will immediately help you feel more relaxed and balanced. Decluttering your schedule will help you find the time you need to do what's most important to you. To clean up your schedule, go to the article "Organize your schedule." To start decluttering your space, pick the room that bothers you most, whether it's your workspace or the kitchen or a bedroom, then make an appointment with yourself to get started. Visit the "tips" section here at Thought2Action.net for room-by-room tips to get organized.

 

Know your limits and learn to say no. You may be a highly productive person, but you can't do everything that others expect of you. When you've given yourself time to get organized and set priorities at work and home, you'll be able to see better what your limits are. The challenge will be to acknowledge those limits, share them with family, friends, and co-workers, and stick to a new personal policy of saying no when appropriate for you. Link to Quintessential Careers for a helpful list of insights and tips.

 

Use people resources and technology to be more efficient. You don't have to do everything yourself, so enlist the help of others to complete tasks with you or for you, both at work and at home. At home in particular, you may be stuck in a cycle of doing tasks yourself that your spouse or children, for example, could do with a little direction to get them started. In addition, determine what technologies can help you streamline tasks or allow you to complete them differently. For example, if you're comfortable with the technology, you might switch from a hard-copy day planner or calendar to one that's available online and on your smart phone. You might negotiate with your work for the opportunity to telework one or more days a week. To put technology resources in perspective, visit Ant's Eye View.

 

Determine what is "good enough." Perfection is typically the goal most of us think about when completing a task, but often, perfection isn't necessary. One by one, think about the tasks for which you're responsible - at home and at work - and determine for each what is good enough to call it complete to allow you to move on to something else. You'll be less stressed, and you'll find that you have more time to do the things you really want to do. For some perspective on what's "good enough," link to Slate.

 

Share your tips for work-life balance here.

October 23, 2010 at 5:20 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Thought2Action LLC ®
Site Owner
Posts: 99

Feel like you just don't have time to do everything you need to do? Can't cram another task into an already jam-packed week? If scheduled activities have overtaken your life, it's time to live on "dog time."

 

As David J. Salmon, life coach, has observed, "Dogs don't tell the time by clocks. They are more in harmony in nature. They know what time it is by how they feel and the routine things around them. They know when it is time to go out, time to eat or time to sleep by how they feel. Their instincts tell them to follow their own internal clocks attuned to their own rhythms. They sleep when they are tired, drink when they are thirsty and ask to be fed when their internal clock tells them it is dinner time. They go with the flow for the rest of the time. They are happy to drop everything and go for a walk at any time of day. Dog time means living in the moment and enjoying whatever it brings."

 

Here's how to realign your internal clock using dog time:

 

1.  Set aside a day, a weekend or a week, just for yourself. Ask relatives and friends to cover for you if there are obligations you can't reschedule.

 

2.  Take off your watch, put down your smart phone, turn off your computer and live by your internal clock: Stay up until you're sleepy. Sleep until you awaken on your own. Eat when you're hungry. Go outside for a walk when you feel like it.

 

3.  Make it a point to remember how you felt during your dog-time day, weekend or week. Make it a habit to give yourself dog time once in a while to reset your internal clock. In fact, find ways to fit dog time into your busy life regularly, whether it's an evening after work here and there, a Saturday when you deliberately don't run errands, or time you take off from your workplace (be it home or an office).

 

Share here ways in which you take dog time to rest and recharge.

February 23, 2011 at 6:03 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Thought2Action LLC ®
Site Owner
Posts: 99

Ever hear the adage "the hurrier I go, the behinder I get"? Even if you haven't, you know exactly what it means. Often the faster you try to accomplish everything on your to-do list, you feel more stressed, and ultimately, you get less done. You make mistakes, forget details, and have to do things twice (three times?) to get them done right. Tension rises, happiness falls, and life feels like a grind. If your daily routine feels even a little like this, it's time to make a change. It's time to slow down.

 

It may be difficult to imagine slowing down to accomplish more, but it really works! Start with these steps:

 

1.  Chew slowly. When was the last time you really took time to savor the food you eat? Select a meal. Set a place for yourself at the table. Cut your food into bite-size pieces. As you take each bite, notice the colors, the texture, the smell. Remember the flavors as you chew and swallow. When you finish, you may be surprised to learn that chewing slowly added only about 10 minutes to your meal. And you may find that the experience is enjoyable enough to slow down even more next time.

 

2.  Block 30 minutes of unplanned time on your calendar. Keep the appointment. In other words, don't let other tasks interfere with this block of time. How you use the time is up to you at the moment it begins: Sit quietly, chat with a friend, do some stretching, file your nails, read an article. Whatever appeals to you at that moment is what you should do. This short period of spontaneity may lower your stress significantly and help you think about the rest of your schedule more clearly.

 

3.  Say no once today. If your schedule is already packed, it's likely that you have difficulty refusing when asked to do something. Whether it's at work or at home, to a colleague, a friend, or a family member, tell someone today that you just can't do something that they expect of you. Say it gently, say it firmly, but say it. No. It may be difficult the first time, but with practice, you'll find that it's easier to set priorities and say no again and again when that's the right thing for you. You'll be freeing more time to do the things that are most important to you.

 

Share here the ways in which you're learning to "chew slowly."

February 26, 2011 at 5:34 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Thought2Action LLC ®
Site Owner
Posts: 99

All of us get the same amount of time each week – 168 hours. It’s the way we use the time that determines our stress and happiness, our anger and joy. If you’re feeling pressured, pushed to the limit, or just worn down, it’s time to put your time back in balance. Use these tips to help:

 

1.  Do one thing at a time. We create much tension and stress for ourselves by trying to accomplish many tasks at once. To reduce your stress, try single-tasking one day this week. For example, start your day by eating breakfast without TV, radio, newspaper, or other distractions. At work, open only one window at a time on your computer desktop - email or word processor or internet browser - focusing on one task at a time. At home, notice the steps you take as you do laundry, taking time to observe textures, sounds, and smells. And so on throughout the day. You may find that, in spite of your single-tasking, you are able to accomplish much and feel more relaxed.

 

2.  Work to defeat Parkinson’s Law. “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” You may be trying to cram 24 hours' worth of work into the 16 or so hours you're awake. You may be trying to complete too many easy, less important tasks and leaving the more difficult, more important tasks for later. Consider making an appointment with youself - and keeping it - to set priorities for your activities. See the Get Organized article on "where your time goes" for a step-by-step process. The ultimate benefit will be more time for what's really important, like relaxation, family, and friends.

 

3.  Notice your surroundings. Your morning commute is a great example. How many days have you arrived at work barely remembering how you got there? Or, how many times does your work day begin with high stress because of difficult traffic? This week, make it a point to notice and appreciate the environment around you during your commute: other people, license plates, the morning sky. Give yourself enough time to travel to work, observe all the things you have been overlooking all these weeks and months, and appreciate the sights and sounds around you. You may find that by relaxing during your commute, you have a less stressful day.

 

Share here your tips to balance your schedule and manage your time.

February 28, 2011 at 6:57 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Thought2Action LLC ®
Site Owner
Posts: 99

Making time to be happy doesn't mean that you should set aside five minutes daily, stop everything, and smile like a lunatic (like the old saying "smile often so others wonder what you're up to"). It does mean that if you're not as happy as you'd like to be, you can probably find some time in your schedule to do something about it.

 

Here's how - ask yourself these questions:

 

1.  What are my priorities? Be honest with yourself here, or you'll probably keep doing what you're already doing, and you won't feel any happier. Make a list to keep for reference, and number it to indicate your most important priority with a "1," the second most important with a "2," etc. Beside each priority, write the amount of time you'd like to spend on each (in hours per week/month or percentage per week/month - either way will work).

 

2.  How does my current schedule conflict with my goals? Beside your ideal amount of time, write the actual time you spend on each goal, using the same scale (hours or percentages). If there are difference between your ideal and real numbers, you now have the opportunity to look closely at your schedule to determine how to bring the numbers closer together. Make a second list, this time showing what you actually spend time doing each week/month, and using the same number scale as the first list.

 

3.  Do my goals align with my personal values? This question provides you with the opportunity to look for contradictions between the goals that determine what your schedule looks like and the personal priorities that will make you truly happy. For example, if your top priority is maximizing your time with those closest to you (usually family and friends), and you routinely work 60-hour weeks achieving at your workplace, you'll want to focus on that contradiction to determine how you can reduce your time at work to increase your time with family and friends. There are always some circumstances you cannot control, but you may be surprised at the ones you can - devising a telework schedule several days a week, for example, or moving closer to your work to minimize your commute.

 

Share here how you have made time to be happy.

March 2, 2011 at 5:21 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Thought2Action LLC ®
Site Owner
Posts: 99

Routines are good! They're a great way to use your time efficiently and handle everyday tasks. They're useful to simplify parts of your day and enhance your productivity. They're comfortable and comforting.

Days filled with nothing but routines, however, dull your senses, narrow your vision, and make your schedule rigid. If you're feeling bored or frustrated with your current routine-filled schedule, it's time to take a S.E.A.T.

Fred Tracy, personal development professional, invented the memory device (mnemonic) S.E.A.T. to help his clients become more flexible and balanced in their lives. When you're no longer getting the results you want by following your comfortable routines, Stop Everything and Think. Here's my interpretation of Tracy's model:

 

1. Select an activity or routine that is no longer satisfying or productive. Perhaps your exercise routine is no longer helping you lose weight or it's no longer fun.

 

2. Stop Everything and Think. Instead of examining what you're doing that is no longer productive, ask yourself why you're doing it. Perhaps you chose a gym for your exercise routine because you wanted to meet people and find groups to encourage you as you lost weight. Keep asking why until you get to the real reason you keep doing what you're doing, even though it's not productive (or enjoyable) anymore. Perhaps you keep going to the gym because it's easy to get there and you have created a time slot for it in your schedule that works.

 

3. Consider alternatives. What other options are available to you that will produce better results? If you can't think of options yourself, ask a trusted friend or relative for ideas. Perhaps you can keep going to the gym but change your activities there, like trying new equipment, enrolling for a class, or inviting a friend along for support. Or, you might consider different exercise options altogether, like learning a new sport, joining a running club, or starting a walking group in your neighborhood. Select alternatives that address the real reasons you identified during your S.E.A.T. time (in the example, convenient location and workable time slot were key).

 

4. Make time to take action. Schedule your new activities - and keep the appointments - for a month to help create a new routine for yourself. During that time, you'll be able to make adjustments if the activities don't produce the results you hoped for right away. Perhaps joining a running club was too much too soon, so creating a neighborhood walking group might work better. Maybe the time slot you set aside doesn't fit your new exercise routine, so you need to take a careful look at your schedule and make an adjustment.

 

5. Enjoy your new routine and renewed productivity!

 

Share here how S.E.A.T. helped you change an unproductive routine.

March 4, 2011 at 2:18 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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