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Strategies For Work-Life Harmony


It’s no secret that things move a lot faster than they used to-including us. Within minutes of a world event, a billion people know about it! News moves faster and faster, and so does business. Our busy, stressful lives can have a negative impact on our work and our lives. The good news is that we can develop behaviors that help to bring work and life into harmony, where we have a healthy home life and a productive professional life as well. Below are practical, down-to-earth strategies that can inform and invigorate our work and home lives.

Know Thy Time–-time is limited and is totally irreplaceable! One cannot rent, hire, or buy time. You cannot get back yesterday. And, everything you do requires time. Do you know what you are doing with your time? Are YOU doing what you want to do with your time? How can you make the most effective, useful and harmonious use of your time? As you will see many of the strategies below have to do with time. But, to know HOW to use your time first requires you to know what YOU WANT. What are your desires, ambitions, and passions? Are you doing what you love? Are you leading the life you want? Are you leading a meaningful life? We start with visioning–determining what your heart wants you to do and harmony will flow from there. You will be empowered because your actions and your decisions about YOUR time will follow the path of your heart–your dreams, wishes and desires.

Seven ways to create harmony

Visioning Integrating Recharging Planning Organizing Saving Asking

  1. Visioning–Create a list of your top 10 goals that you would like to accomplish in the next 12 months for work. From that top 10 list, choose the top five that you would like to accomplish in the next six months. From your top five goals, choose the top three goals you want to achieve in the next three months and then prioritize these three items. Do the same for your home/ personal life. By creating these lists you are helping your brain prepare itself to make it happen. Remember your goals are your heart speaking, figuring out HOW you will do it is what your brain does well and that can even happen while sleeping. So tell your brain the goal (passion) of the heart and the brain will get to work on figuring out how to accomplish it. See Take time for your life by Cheryl Richardson for more on visioning.
  2. Integrating–Integrate work and home whenever possible. When you keep them separate you end up trying to balance even more tasks. Think about what values you are expressing through your work and home life. Women who describe themselves as INTEGRATING their roles are generally more satisfied with their lives and feel that their roles fit together than women who describe themselves as balancing their roles. Which of your goals can be achieved at home and work? Consider focusing on goals and actions that benefit you both at work and home.
  3. Recharging yourself–Take care of yourself by doing something that recharges your batteries (i.e., running, walking, reading, meditating, whatever). Make a list of your favorite things to do and make a plan to do one a week. Remember the airline advice about safety masks–in the event of an emergency put your safety mask on first then help others. You cannot take care of others if you are not taking care of you.
  4. Planning family time in advance–If you have children, schedule a special time with each child once a week–something your child enjoys (e.g., favorite restaurant). Spend special time with your partner without the children–choose a special event–date night.
  5. Organizing your time–Decide ahead of time (day before) what you will do (create to do list) and stick to it. Capture your thoughts in a small notebook (PDA or blackberry) that you can carry with you and write down ideas, things to do or notes. Ideas vanish quickly when we are doing a lot. Set up tickler systems (reminders–15 minutes, 30 minutes ahead, a day, or month, whatever works for you). Finish tasks started. Setting up a good filing system will save time and stress. Do your hard jobs first.
  6. Saving time –Use PDA, cell phones and blackberries when waiting for the train, bus, or plane. Get rid of a phone tag by asking your caller to leave a detailed message on your voice mail so you can be prepared with an answer when you call back. Use email for short messages only. If you are writing more than 2 paragraphs picking up the phone or going down the hall will be understood much faster and clearer and shows that you care. Try to consolidate activities whenever possible. For example, ask friends or family to join you in some of your hobbies or tasks (i.e., take a computer program class together).
  7. Asking your current or potential employer about job flexibility opportunities (like telecommuting or working fewer hours) will help. Women tend not to ask for things–like raises, promotions, flex-time, helping with chores. Many women assume that others should notice their hard work and reward it without having to be told. Men do ask, request and/or demand more money, a raise, flex-time, etc. Ask and you might be surprised. See Women don’t ask: Negotiation and the gender divide by L Babcock and S. Laschever.

Source by Debra Harkins

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