“The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise person” Euripides
Managing your work-life balance can be tough when you’re starting out on your leadership journey. There are a few less boundaries, more decision-making to be picked up by you and when you get stuck in the edges between work and life start to blur a bit. So it’s down to you to design a life that is both fulfilling and energy giving – not draining and exhausting. Read on for some fundamental tips on how to manage your time to do this.
But before we get started on that, take 5 minutes to jot down a few notes on what you want to have time for. Note the things you really want to have time for each week. This will be useful as you read through the rest of this article. Let’s get going.
What can you do?
In this article, I want to show you a quick, easy, visual and stress-free way to see what your work-life balance looks like and how to adjust it to make it work for you.
At a glance, you’ll be able to see which areas of your life you’re neglecting and which are dominating. Once you have that information, you can make a few small tweaks to move towards striking a better balance.
Years ago, Stephen Covey – world-renown author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People had a great diary software system to help manage time. His mind-shifting approach enabled me to very quickly and visually check whether or not the week ahead was balanced. Unfortunately the latest version of his software seems to focus on work and little else, but it’s something similar to his method that I’ve built over time and that we’re going to adapt in our approach here.
Step 1: Break your life into 4 categories
The first step is to break your life up into four categories. Covey used these key areas of focus:
The areas I settled on for myself are a little more pragmatic – split between work and non-work:
- Meetings – networking, work time spent with other people, calls, time online etc
- Tasks – work time spent on specific tasks (scheduling these is a great way to get rid of that to-do list!)
- Exercise – whether a run or a yoga classes, get these in to make sure they happens
- Connection with friends and family – research tells us more and more that to be healthy we need to stay connected and, in the current climate we need to get smart about how we make this happen
You can come up with your own categories or use mine or Covey’s. Just make sure they broadly cover the full breadth of life and reflect the balance you want. Stick to four, that’s plenty.
Step 2: Let’s add some colour
You might choose blue for physical, green for mental, red for social, and yellow for spiritual, for example. Make each item in your diary the colour.that works for you
Step 3: What does it look like?
At a glance, you should now be able to see what your work-life balance is looking like. Which colours are dominating and which are missing?
Perhaps you’re clearly spending most of your time on work and spending very little with others.
Maybe you’ll spot that your diary is full of meetings and no time to get anthing done! Using this colour coding system, it’s quick and easy to see what you’re spending your time on.
Step 4: Redesign your calendar
In case you haven’t already worked it out, the challenge is to make sure you’re calendar is multi-coloured!
So if any of your colours are missing from your calendar, find a way to add them in. Time is finite. Where are you spending too much of it? How can you flex your days to get to that class, or make that call? There is only so much time in a day, and you’re the only one who can ultimately manage this time.
Welcome to your new work-life balance
If you use this system and can stick to your schedule around 80% of the time (perfection is not required!), life will now begin to feel a little more balanced.
All of these areas of your life are important for you to be at your best and for you to enjoy life to it’s utmost. There’s the additional benefit that you’ll also be a fantastic role model to those around you.
This doesn’t take long to do. 4 colours, 4 steps to a better work-life balance.
You have the power in your hands and as the man who said he’d “rather die on my feet than live on my knees” Euripides was clearly someone who saw the value of work-life balance 😊.
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – book
- Connect to Thrive – Pyschology Today article
- How to change calendar colour in google
- How to change calendar colour in outlook