In the Knowledge Age in which we live, it is easy to be consumed by work and forget our personal life. After all, there’s always more to do, right? But as the old saying goes, “No one ever lay on their death bed and wished they’d spent more time at the office!”
Following are some tips for striking the right balance between your work (especially for knowledge workers and infopreneurs) and personal life:
1. Decide what is most important to you – long term – in your life. One exercise that can help bring this into focus is to write your eulogy – really! What would you want people to say about you when you are dead? Whatever that is, notice how much you’re pursuing that quality or goal or cause in your life. If you aren’t doing it now – or not as much as you want to – how could you begin pursuing it more?
2. Create a vision for your ideal lifestyle. They say “if you don’t know where you’re going, any path will get you there.” Unless you create a vision statement for your work and your personal life – just the way you want it to be – you won’t know when you have arrived! You’ll find yourself “striving but never arriving.” So write out a descriptive statement of how you want your schedule to be, your work space, your home, your clients, your relationships, your body, everything in your life – just as though you were writing it for a movie producer. Then, get about the business of producing your life!
3. When you’re working, work; when you’re playing, play. If every time you leave your office (even if it’s in the spare bedroom!) you continue to think about work, leave your work cell phone on, or check email later in the evening, you are failing to mark boundaries between work and play. That means you don’t get the full benefit of your “down” time…and you don’t recharge the internal batteries that allow you to do what you do well. Dedicate work time to work and play fully when you’re off work…you will have more energy and more joy this way.
4. Avoid multitasking. I know, it’s hard! But studies show that people are only 40 percent as productive when they do more than one thing at once than if they focus on one thing at a time. Give whatever you’re doing – or whoever you’re talking to (!) – your full attention, then move to the next task. Live intentionally, one task and segment at a time. The quality of your life will improve, you’ll get more quality work done and you’ll build quality relationships that flourish under the light of your undistracted focus.
5. Plan your time off in advance. How many days a week would you like to work? How much vacation will you take this year? If you don’t set it aside in advance, chances are that work commitments will eat up the time you would have taken off. Most infopreneurs should plan on a minimum – even the first year – of two to four weeks off during the year. Build it into your fees and block it out in advance. You’ll be glad you did!
6. Implement at least two or three “power hours” each work day. The typical coach and infopreneur is distracted much of the day. “Power hours” are when you write a list of at least 5 priority tasks, set a timer, and focus on nothing but those tasks for that hour. No email, no phone calls, no distractions. And you get them done! Start with a goal of at least two of these each day.
7. Set goals for both your work and your personal life. Take a moment to review your day planner (Palm, Outlook calendar, wall calendar etc.) for the past month or year, notice how many of the entries relate to your work. If you’re like most people, 75 to 90 percent of the content will be business or work related! Start a practice of setting at least one goal for your personal life and one for one of your relationships each day – along with the work goals. That in itself will increase the balance in your life right away!
8. Delegate everything you can. If you have used our fee setting formula in my book, Launch Your Practice to set your fees, then you know what your time is valued at – it’s your Hourly Labor Rate. To the extent you are doing anything that could not be billed at that rate, you should be looking for a way to delegate it as quickly as you can! That includes running to the post office, office supply store and Fedex; updating your web site; answering routine inquiries; clearing spam out of your email account; answering the phone; and numerous other tasks. Your goal is to have as much revenue-producing time as possible during your dedicated work hours.
9. Exercise regularly. When I interviewed people who had mastered transition for my Simon & Schuster book on the subject, one theme stood out: each of these people exercised regularly during normal times in their lives, and even more during times of stress and transition. Virtually every successful infopreneur shares this trait – and that is why the major hotel chains have improved their workout facilities so significantly for traveling infopreneurs.
10. Meditate and activate a connection with the God of your understanding. Feeling connected to something bigger than yourself can help put the challenges of everyday work and life into perspective in a way nothing else can. By implementing a daily practice of meditation to achieve a calm, centered state and connection with your Higher Power, you will find you are able to maintain this state even when life becomes difficult. It is proven to improve health too!
For more about life/work balance and the other 8 components of Career Infopreneur Success, look for Marcia’s new book in June and plan to attend her Career Coaching Boot Camp June 22. See [http://www.careercoachingbootcamp.com] for details about the event and the next two complimentary preview calls. To learn more about career coaching, visit http://www.careercoachinstitute.com