Yesterday I had the pleasure of interviewing work life fit expert Cali Williams Yost on my radio show. In case you missed it, tune in to SIRIUS 112 and XM 157 for a replay this Saturday at 6am eastern. Also here are highlights of the tips Cali shared:
First, change the way you think about work and life…
1) Manage your work+life fit day-to-day, not just during big life events. You can no longer afford to have your work and life just “happen,”. If you don’t spend at least some time thinking about and organizing the things you have to do, and the things you want to do, you will get even less done.
2) Understand that there is no “balance,” or right answer for how work should fit into your life. Your fit will not look like anyone else’s. The answer is what works for you and your job—it needs to be a win-win.
Now that you have the right mindset, here are some action steps to take in 2009:
3) Keep a work+life fit calendar with all of your work and personal appointments/goals/responsibilities in one place. I’ve tried every process and tool to help manage my work+life fit and what I keep coming back to is my calendar to effectively manage the way everything fits into my ever-changing work+life fit as a mother, wife and business-owner.
How do you begin?
• Figure out what type of calendar works for you. I like Outlook for entering “to dos” electronically. But, because I am more comfortable working off a paper copy, I print it out and carry it around.
• Enter in as many personal appointments and plans as you can think of for the next six months (a year is even better but could be too overwhelming), from doctors appointments to dates with your partner.
• Finish by entering work related appointments including “quiet time” and vacation days. (Tip: for vacation more than a week, block off two days before you depart and two days after you return on your calendar. That will remind you not to over-schedule yourself so that you don’t start vacation completely fried, and return immediately overwhelmed.)
• If there are periods when you business is busier than other times, note that on your calendar. For example, accountants are busier certain times of year than others.
Then, start actively managing your work+life fit calendar. When a new work project or personal responsibility appears, go to the calendar and ask yourself:
• Can I do it given what else is on my plate today, this week, this month?
• What do I need to shift or let go of in order to manage my work+life fit?
• Am I leaving time for activities that keep me healthy and functioning at my best (e.g. going to the gym, shopping for healthy food, sleep)?
4) Finally, set time aside—daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually—to check in and answer the question, “what do I want?” Check in and ask yourself what you want your work+life fit to look like and compare it to the work+life fit you see in your calendar and life.
Yes, times are challenging, but now more than ever it’s imperative that you take control of the way work fits into your life. Use these tips to make 2009 the year you start managing your work+life fit in a way that allows you to bring the best of yourself to work and to the rest of your life!
More information about managing your work+life fit can be found in Cali’s book, Work+Life: Finding the Fit That’s Right for You (2005 Riverhead), and in her Work+Life Fit and Fast Company blogs, at worklifefit.com/blog
What’s your work life fit strategy for 2009? What approach works for you in finding time for your most important priority?