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15 Strategies for Work Life Balance

In my last post, we talked about prioritization and assigning higher importance to the tasks that take you to the next level in your goals. This allows you to move your focus from the small details of life to the details that matter.

Recently, I helped to facilitate a workshop on the currently hot topic of work/life balance. The workshop was based on the 15 strategies championed by one of the great gurus of work/life balance at P&G, Jim Lafferty. Work/life balance has been an issue for a corporations for a long time. Although many initiatives have been implemented to help people find balance, we have not progressed greatly in this area. One reason for this is that work/life balance is a deeply personal and unique for each individual. Therefore, each of us has to define and think about what an ideal work/life balance would look like. I’ve included his 15 strategies at the end of this post, but will be taking a closer look at one that I have found most useful recently:

Have One Schedule

Jim Lafferty is a big proponent of having one schedule for your life – i.e. having both your work and home calendars on…one calendar.  The key perspective shift here is that your personal appointments are just as valuable and are busy times as work appointments. Some ideas here to make this come to life:

> If you use Outlook, schedule your personal appointments with a filler title to ensure that co-workers don’t schedule over your personal time.
> If you have a smart phone, use the built in calendar or an app as your primary calendar. This enables you to integrate your Outlook calendar with a Google calendar, for example, onto one calendar. iPhone users automatically have this functionality as a part of the phone, but there are also various apps offered by Rainlendar, Doodle, Tungle, etc. that can integrate calendars.
> Web based services such as Tungle.me allow you to sync calendars online and then send the link out to those who wish to make an appointment with you. This is a great way to make personal appointments

I took Jim’s strategy one step further – having one to-do list for both work and life. This has made my life considerably more efficient. I used to have thoughts floating in my head about what I need to do regarding my house when I was focused on work or vice versa. I also used to have random pages filled with To-Do items, separated for work vs. home. Now, with one list, I’m able to set goals that allow me to accomplish all the important things touching both areas. Neither area takes precedence over the other – I am constantly aware of the things I need to accomplish and they are of equal importance as soon as I put them on one list.

Try it out – let me know how it works for you. It’s changed the way I spread my time throughout the day. And removes anxiety of all the tasks I have yet to do. They are all written, in one place.

The rest of the 15 strategies are:
> Define your “5 roles” in life and Make choices
> Use 1 schedule for your life
> On the defining moments, choose family
> Take real vacations
> Master writing
> Practice 80 to 20
> Train your people
> 30 minutes of exercise/day
> Keep relationships well-fed
> Leverage technology – be smart!
> Develop a list of “100 things to do before you die” – go for at least 2/year
> People rise to your highest expectations – or sink to your lowest.  Trust and Delegate.
> Use the “mother” rule
> Integrate P&G and your life
> Give back

Your Coach Challenge: What will help you prioritize your to-do list?