That title sounds like a complete myth, doesn’t it? We all acknowledge that life can be busy, especially as we hit the mainstream of our lives with careers and family. There are so many things trying to leverage our attention that it can feel like we’re trying so hard to keep up that we forget to stop and take it all in for a minute.
Even if we find a vacant moment in time, between electronics and social media, we can quickly fill that void and lose that moment of peace and reflection. This is how an exhausting day goes by without anything truly productive achieved.
Today, we will address time, and while we cannot promise you more hours in a day, we have some suggestions to help you strategize the demands on you and help you find a little more balance, but even more importantly – satisfaction.
Are your activities aligning with your mission?
It is easy to fill a day with tasks without accomplishing anything at all toward your goals and aspirations. As you tackle the little tasks and that long list of emails, always maintain a focus on your life mission, at home, and within your career.
Benjamin Hardy, Ph.D., suggests strategies to get yourself out of a holding pattern in an excellent article: If you’re too busy for these 5 things: your life is more off-course than you think. Print it, dog-ear it, and mark it up as a great source of inspiration to get your life and mission back into alignment.
It may be time for a course correction
As we get into a rhythm with our lives, even the most organized people need occasional course correction because misalignment has nothing to do with a lack of organization. It just creates more to organize. In other words, we can lose focus on things that matter by busying ourselves on things that just don’t matter in the long run. By stopping periodically to evaluate our course and actions, we can keep from straying from the path we set for ourselves and fall into bad habits.
Invest in your future
We always hear something like this on the topic of career, finances, and relationships. What we often overlook is how we spend our time. We must make an effort to define who we are and why we do things to make the most out of our lives.
Focus on why before focusing on what
Ask yourself, “why does this task matter?” Which of your life goals is moving forward as a result of that task? As you start to categorize your tasks into buckets of purpose, not only are you becoming more conscious of thought with them.
Define your goals, and metrics to see your progress. As you are more thoughtful with your actions’ alignment with those goals, you begin to feel a higher level of control as you increase confidence in letting go of things that simply don’t contribute.
You can talk about your goals as often as you like, but it’s something else to work towards them and see progress. That movement requires thoughtful effort daily. Tiny bit by bit, concentrate on those things that lead to your ultimate vision. Acknowledge that every action will not do this, but make it a priority. Work on them in the morning, giving them first bidding of your energy before other responsibilities invade and start taxing our energy.
Flying by the seat of your pants keeps you busy, but it doesn’t keep you focused. You did a great start by defining your goals and metrics; the next thing to keep yourself on the path is to break your goals into small, actionable, and attainable steps. That means no pie in the sky tasks (like winning the lottery) that your success is dependent. You stand the best chances of success with a structured plan that continues to motivate you as you see you progress closer to your goals.
Negotiate all other tasks while trimming the fat
Consider this: The more time spent on unrelated tasks, the less time you have to spend on what truly matters to you. Once you know what you want in your life and have a plan to get there, it’s time to start removing or negotiating those fillers that don’t align with why.
Adjust course as needed
Sometimes you just need to pause and analyze your strategy and goals to make sure they are current. Your plan for success is not a static one. Life happens, and it brings with it several plot twists along the way. When a new challenge arises, or you discover a flaw in your plan, adjust your plan as often as you need. It’s critical to keep your plan relevant to maintain your motivation to push forward through everything life sends your way.
A few life hacks to ram through the minutia
You can negotiate and mitigate, but not completely eliminate all of the miscellaneous tasks. For those we couldn’t purge, here are some hacks to help boost your productivity:
David Allen, an author and time management consultant brings us the two-minute rule as a way to prioritize tasks. The rule states that if you can do an action in two minutes, then do it right away.
The reason is that it takes longer to organize it and review it later than it would take for you to do it right now. Prioritizing by time requirements helps when it comes to chunking your work and devoting uninterrupted time to those that require more attention.
Try a priority matrix
Stephen Covey, a time management guru, introduced us to a time management matrix focused on urgency and importance. When your workload starts to feel overwhelming, this matrix is an excellent way to identify where your attention needs to focus:
Urgent/Important – these tasks need to be done immediately
Not urgent/Important – these tasks need to be included in your daily/weekly/monthly plan (whichever is appropriate)
Urgent/Not important – these are the interruptions to your work plan that need to be addressed (hint – always carve out some time in your day to address these.
Not urgent/Not important – why did you give this attention again? Once identified, it’s time to stop.
Create and keep a daily schedule
We say daily because planning too far ahead only leads to diversions of your plan. Adopt a morning routine to prioritize your goals for the day. By intentionally strategizing your day before tackling assignments head-on, you ensure a well-balanced day instead of a chaotic race to finish your tasks in a random method.
Employee satisfaction carries an organization through the best and worst of times.
When it comes to work-life balance and satisfaction, we have less control over the life-part, however, through wellness programs and resources like Work2Live, we can be a supportive employer. Work satisfaction can carry a company through all of its ebbs and flows along the way, and an engaged workforce has the strength to see it through. Enrollment is easy, or contact us for a demo of the program and we can answer all of your questions.