Nearly all research conclusively agrees that excessive busyness leads to the deterioration of our physical and emotional selves, with damaging repercussions for our relationships. The truth is, excessive busyness is a deeper sickness in our society than anyone wants to admit. The good news is that you can beat busyness and take back your life!
A RECOVERING WORKAHOLIC
My recovery in this area actually began with burnout. In 2017, during a Christmas break I got the gift of a lifetime. Instead of the usual fun, family down-time, I found myself gripped with anxiety and depression on a level I’d never dealt with before. It was unexpected and I had no idea how to deal with it.
I spent that week curled up on the couch. Occasionally leaving the house to visit family with my wife, which I found to be helpful but not sustaining. That week was a real eye-opener.
As I anxiously prepared to go back to work in the new year I was determined to do things differently. I never wanted to experience that again. Things needed to change, and change radically.
FINDING WHAT WORKS FOR ME (AND YOU)
I needed new tools and healthier habits in my life. I always spent a lot of time reading leadership books, which gave me a great foundation for navigating recovery. Subsequently, I spent the next few months reading and researching burnout, rest, and work-life balance.
A few things became abundantly clear. The first was that I needed better habits, the second was that I needed specific tools, and the third was that I needed a new philosophy on work.
Developing better habits was a simple matter of research and adopting what works best for me, which I’ve shared below. Finding a tool designed for managing work-life balance and not encouraging a busy schedule was more difficult. Seemingly impossible even.
So I decided to create my own. A tool designed for specifically managing work-life balance. One that also coaches me through staying one track. You can learn more about it here.
4 POWERFUL HABITS
Like others, I tried many different habits before I found what worked for me. I encourage you to do that same. Below are the 4 powerful habits that worked best for me in developing better work-life balance:
Schedule The Important Things First: When you sit down to schedule your day, week, month, etc., write out the most important things first. Things like your son's game, date night with your wife, or the next task for your big work project. After writing them down, schedule the less important things around them, not the other way around. Then, if you can, be sure give them the best real estate on your calendar. The time when you will have the best energy.
Say No More Often: Don’t feel bad if you find it difficult to say no when you know you should. So many people share that struggle that I wrote a whole post about it. NYTimes also did a great write up on it. Here are a few things that helped me. Trying saying these out loud - “No, is a full sentence. I don’t always need to explain why.” “Saying no is not a sin. My first ministry is to my family and they deserve my best.” “Every time I say yes to something, I am saying no to something else. I must make sure it’s worth it.”
Minimize Distractions at Work: To maximize your time at home you’ll need to minimize distraction at work. Increasing efficiency will free you from the nagging thoughts of unfinished projects, or worse, taking work home. Simple hacks like setting specific times to check your email or social media can yield massive results.
Start Small If Your Have To: If you’re not able to make drastic changes right now in your work environment or schedule, don’t be discouraged. Many people get to this point and quit before they even start because they can’t make drastic changes. Instead, start small and focus on where you can make changes. Take an inventory of where you do have the power of making adjustments. Make an exhaustive list. Then use that list to start making small changes where you can.
QUESTION: What’s your biggest challenge in developing better work-life balance?
As you consider your journey to a healthier balance between work and home. What do you see as your greatest hurdle in reaching your goal of better work like balance? Work schedule, health concerns for you or a family member, lack of discipline, etc. Send me an email or leave a comment below with your response to this question.