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Work-life balance: for many years I searched for it. At times, I even made choices that seemed bold in the moment but were a cover-up for the possibility of failing at attaining perfect parity in my life. What I did not realize then, but have complete clarity on now, is that the golden ticket to work-life balance was not something I could find outside of myself. Rather, gaining work-life balance was a unique power tool that I possessed inside of me. Balance was about relationships starting with myself.
Work-life balance is a myth. The control that you may be seeking in creating harmony in all aspects of your life has little to do with balance at all. When I think about balance, my mind wanders to a juggler in the circus. The juggler tries to keep all the balls in the air at the same time, and in so doing they live in fear. Just like the juggler, you may be afraid that the various aspects of your life, like the juggler’s balls, will drop and smash to the ground. When you strive to balance your life, it is common to seek perfection, to keep all your work-life balls in the air continuously. This is exhausting.
Balance suggests that all aspects of your life are equal. It hints that you must keep juggling the same way repeatedly each day and that there is only one right way to do so. If you miss, you lose something. Balance creates a scarcity mindset that is rigid and sometimes scary. When you juggle, you give up the control in your life that you most value and you burn yourself out.
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Aligning your work and personal life is incredibly important in creating a full life. Now more than ever before, there is a blur between professional and personal. You are not two separate humans, so shifting your mindset to a whole life approach permits a more authentic flow, erases the need to juggle, and replaces it with self-leadership.
For many, work from home now requires a different perspective on leading your life. Embracing this will allow you to welcome choices that harmonize you within each 24-hour cycle, authorizing you to adjust for imperfections and to decide what is genuinely important within each day. While balance is static, alignment ebbs and flows as you do. This creates an opportunity to pick what authentically matters from a positive abundant mindset. Picture a menu of choices. You “get to” pick from that menu of alignment! When you focus on aligning work and life today, you prove what's important to you and recalibrate your needs in real-time. You choose balance and alignment; balance and alignment do not choose you.
Alignment won’t always be divided evenly, nor should it be. Both balance and alignment are about relationships and decisions that define your connection to yourself, other people and events. It is a daily dance between your time and your values and how you best make use of them. When you make changes, how you calibrate “balance” and alignment needs to shift as well. Don’t be afraid to lead.
Even ordering a pizza is delegating your dinner requirements and clearing a path for more time in your day. Good alignment is dependent on clear and consistent delegation. Tonight’s dinner may not be perfect, yet it is good. Someone else may not complete a project the way that you would, but they will do a good job.
Delegating reduces perfection while creating more time and greater energy for you to spend on things that have more significant parity with the symmetry of the day at hand. Delegating can include assigning tasks to family members, hiring an intern, securing a cleaning service, or making use of an APP or program that automates part of your business. The great thing is that once you understand what you need to delegate to others, you invest your time and attention on auto-adjusts what you then delegate to yourself!
Old habits may not fit a current version of you! So much has changed in the past few years. It makes sense that the rules and boundaries that speak to your goals and values would need to be recalibrated also. Command and lead new habits by starting with an updated list of what you value. Your intuition is your truth in action supporting decisions that speak to both your head and your heart in tandem. Get clear on what is most compelling to you personally and professionally. Once you have your values list in hand match your rules and boundaries to it. Write down a list of new rules and non-negotiables. Read them out loud and own them. Then enforce that list with intuitive decision-making.
Begin your day with an intuition journal. Your journal’s pages will hold and enable intuitive decision-making that will feed better alignment every 24-hours. Picture yourself at the center of each page of your journal. Every decision you log informs the various pieces of a pie that mirror your self-leadership for that day. What is essential now? Group your thoughts by category and then identify and implement at least one action step for each that gets you closer to the relationships, events, and goals of your daily pie. Allow your intuition journal to drive your to-do. Each day, evaluate anew and adjust the gaps to align.
Time is an essential element of work-life integration. Make a list of all the ways you currently spend your time. Then attach a numeric value of time to each item on your list. Circle the things that seem repetitive, unnecessary, or heavy. The items that you circled may be stopping you from aligning your life and feeling energized and accomplished. Which of the items that you circled can you eliminate or pull back on to redesign your day?
One hour translates to two weeks back in your life each year that you now get to drive and assort anew! If you eliminate two hours from your time inventory, you grab back a month to recalibrate! Once you access your time inventory apply, the changes to your calendar. Weigh your personal pursuits the same as you do your professional ones and treat them respectfully.
At the top of your week, schedule a meeting with yourself and color-code your activities so that you can see where personal, and professional are represented. Finally, marry your time inventory to your short-range and long-range goals. Do your daily to-do and calendar reflect and echo your goals? How you lead your time is how you align and balance your life.
This article was written by an FGB Contributor.
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