Work life balance with Star One Logo and an image of a clock face

Whether your organization has 10 or 1000 team members pitching in, we seem never to be at a loss for new incoming “things to do”. Do they all carry equal weight? Must they all get crossed off the list? The key to not drowning in the waterfall of incoming tasks is to maintain a focus on priorities that lead us to our company’s vision and goals.

Work Life Balance Is A Myth

Have you ever attended a meeting and checked your email at the same time, claiming to pay attention? Driving while listening to a great e-book – and missed the exit or asked yourself how did I get here? Of course you have. Then it’s no surprise to hear that it’s a myth that work life balance is attainable. Believing that there is such a goal makes us feel like failures because we haven’t reached it yet. The truth is, you’ll never reach it if it’s only a concept. And proof of this concept hasn’t happened.

We cannot possibly do two things at once with excellence. Think of a balance scale. To achieve a perfect balance with two things at opposite ends, they must equal in weight, size, or mass. What two things can you do equally at the same time giving both equal justice?

The path to a successful life is to focus our time on one thing in one area at a time, which means we take time away from something else. While work life balance is not actually achievable, being balanced in what we choose to do – one at a time – is.

Saying no to things that are in conflict with what we want to do at present allows us to be fully present in the moment. Whether it is a business meeting, planning time in your office, family dinner, relaxing to renew yourself, or time with friends; focus on what you want in that moment and give it your full attention. Direct your attention to what you want to achieve at the moment and be great in that moment.

Set Your Rules For Managing Time 

Don’t worry, we all experience that feeling of letting time slip through our fingers. It’s not hopeless; for a start, I’ve recently shared my favorite 7-time strategy rules. Feel free to use them and add your own. More strategies include:

Develop a strategic plan outlining the business's mission, vision, values, and long-term objectives. Get started here.

Using the tried and true method of defining SMART goals for your organization or project: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Defining these goals provide a clear direction and help prioritize tasks and opportunities that align with the overarching objectives.

Understand the difference between what appears to be urgent versus what’s truly important. Focus on tasks that are both urgent and important, and delegate or eliminate tasks that are neither.

We all get distracted – we’re human. Take a moment to pinpoint common recurring distractions in your work environment and take steps to minimize them. This could include turning off email and app notifications, finding a quieter (or noisier!*) setting to work, and time blocking for creating space for meetings and administrative tasks.  * We’re all different – some people work best enveloped by the background noise of a busy coffee shop.

Freeing Up Your Time

Surround yourself with talented people and trust them by delegating tasks. These should include tasks that

  • you can easily train someone else to do;
  • you can automate;
  • you hate to do and tasks you’re not that great at doing.

This creates open space in your calendar for strategic planning and decision-making. Trusting others to handle day-to-day operations allows the department head or business owner to focus on high-priority activities.

Stay informed about industry trends, market developments, and emerging opportunities, but avoid getting overwhelmed by information overload. It’s not your job to know everything and no one can keep up with daily changes in industry trends. Set aside specific times for research, and identify only a few top industry news sources.

Giving You Permission to Say ‘NO’ to Great Ideas

Great ideas will come your way – so when you’re presented with new opportunities, assess them against your pre-identified strategic goals, potential return on investment, and feasibility. Not every opportunity is going to be perfectly in alignment with your mission, goals and values, so permit yourself to turn down the pursuit of shiny objects.

A huge consideration – will this new idea divert talented team members from their original projects? Will you need to bring on more resources, pay for more tools? 

Schedule regular reviews, with yourself and your team, of progress towards goals and priorities. Evaluate what's working well and what needs adjustment, and be willing to adapt plans based on changing circumstances or new information.