Article originally published in
By Nancy Keny
Does this sound like you?
“When things slow down at work I’ll…”
“When I have more time I’ll…”
“When I make more money I’ll…”
“When I retire I’ll…”
You’ll do what? What would you do if you had all the time and money to do exactly what you wanted?
Do you know specifically what those things would be or is it more vague and general? Perhaps spend more time with your family, volunteer in your community or pursue personal interests?
Why is recognizing and achieving more balance and fulfillment outside of the workplace so critical?
Because finding fulfillment in the workplace is often not an option in today’s ever-changing business environment. Creating your own satisfying personal life:
- Helps eliminate burnout
- Increases your motivation
- Improves your health, both physical and psychological
- Creates less stress and more stability
- Improves your effectiveness
- Allows you to become a happier, well-rounded person
Pro-active Steps Toward Balance and Fulfillment
Your first step to becoming pro-active is to create a tangible list of those things you want to do, no matter how unrealistic or ridiculous they may appear.
Next, rank each goal according to their importance. Choose only one that you absolutely must have to be fulfilled. Let the rest go for now so you don’t become overwhelmed. Realize that your goals may change and the need for periodic re-ranking will occur. The key is to experience small successes to keep you motivated towards pursuing the rest of your goals.
Finally, clearly and precisely define your goal. For instance, take a vague goal such as “spend more time with my family” and think about the specifics. What does “more time” really mean? Ten minutes, an hour? What days? Weekends, evenings, mornings? How would you be “spending” that “more time”? Taking a walk, playing a game, eating meals together, vacationing? Once you become as specific as you can with the details of your goal, only then you can take the next step to making it happen.
How can you make this happen with your already busy and hectic schedule? By implementing skills and strategies that you already have and utilize in the workplace.
Just as you would schedule important meetings, appointments and projects at work, the same would go for your personal goals. Schedule your priority goals into your daily planner as if each were an important business client or boss to whom you can’t say “no.”
In order to adhere to your personal schedule, you only have to remember to ask yourself one question, “Does this interruption or request take time away from my scheduled priorities?”
If the answer is yes, use the same responses to interruptions that you would in a business situation such as “I have another appointment, commitment” or “I’ll have to get back to you.”
You have to recommit yourself to your main goals on a daily basis to maintain momentum and thus follow-through on what it is you say you want.
What if time-management and scheduling are not enough and your goals are still not being accomplished? Stop and honestly assess what the obstacles really are. Only then can you make a true commitment to following through.
- Excessive amount of time spent doing or thinking about work
- Procrastination—not taking action due to being overwhelmed
- Misplaced guilt—self-imposed or otherwise
- Misplaced beliefs—shouldn’t spend time for yourself
- Lack of clear personal goals—letting others set your goals
- Setting “should” goals
- Struggle with discipline and structure—not devising a doable game plan
- Lack of accountability and follow-through—not creating a support system to hold yourself accountable for walking the talk
- Perceived lack of money—waiting to do anything until the mortgage is paid off, the kids are out of college….
After you make your list of obstacles, rank them in order of intensity. Choose only one obstacle and brainstorm ways of overcoming it.
Don’t overwhelm yourself by tackling all the obstacles at once. Focus on one at a time. Acknowledge yourself for being extremely resourceful and intelligent. Experience the success of defeating one barrier at a time.
Letting go of those things which take away from living your life on purpose, helps you become more focused and less fragmented and overwhelmed.