by Stephanie Wachman on 06/09/11
The other day I had a dr. appointment and parked my car in a garage. When I got back, my car would not start. I began to panic. I had a lot of work to do and deadlines that needed to be met. I actually planned my work schedule for that day to the minute. It took an hour but finally they came to jump start my car. When that didn’t work, I had to wait another 90 minutes to get a tow truck. All the while, I kept hearing the ticking of the clock because I knew that none of my work was getting done.
As I sat outside the parking garage, I took a deep breath and thought about how there really is no such thing as a work/life balance. In day to day living there are challenges that can offset the balance no matter how well you plan. In order to achieve an attempt at balance we have to create an action plan that focuses on the controllable but accepts the uncontrollable. Sitting under a big tree I thought of three ways to achieve controlled imbalance.
First, is what I refer to as low hanging fruit; these are the easy to control time management tools. We all carry cell phones, iPads, laptops and smart phones. For most people they are always with them, literally in hand. I now refer to them as “binkies” my son used to have a binky that I could never pry from him and the way that we manage our cell phones today are not unlike a child’s binky. It’s time to take our personal time back by turning off our phones every day for 1-2 hours. Here are some suggestions: during dinner time, turn off your phone and put it in a drawer. When in the car, turn it off and stick it in your glove box. This will not only make you a safer driver but will free up your mind for creative thinking.
Secondly, establish at least five goals. You want to think long term and ask yourself where I see myself in three years, one year and one month. Plan your goals around what is most important to you in your life, such as: family, health, friends, career and finances.
Thirdly, create a weekly and monthly action plan to use as a tool to achieve your goals. Refer to this plan often to keep you on track.
It’s very easy to get caught up with all the uncontrollable things that can happy at any time, but when we take daily ownership of our time, have a clear long and short term vision for ourselves and identify the actions it takes to achieve our goals, then we have control. The next times you find yourself standing in front on a stalled car with a To-Do list as long as an eighteen-wheeler; smile because at least now you understand that you have controlled imbalance.