With the summer vacation season coming to a close shortly and so many of us – teachers, congressmen/women, stay-at home moms, the fashion world, and every other job in between, gearing up to go strong when September strikes, it is the perfect time to reassess the balance you have that will propel you to work at your optimal best, help you meet your goals and aspirations and bring harmony into your life as a whole.
I love to go back and reread many books that I keep on my shelves and one of them is Mireille Guiliano’s most recent Women, Work and the Art of Savoir Faire. Within it she speaks of many aspects of creating a successful work life, and one of the important anchors of each of our lives is the work-life balance. She describes it as a four legged support system. The four elements being:
1) good health
2) a functional social network of friends and family
3) a solid employment situation
4) time, space, principles and policies for yourself – finding your personal zen
Each of these points are fairly self-explanatory, but what she goes on to say in detail about each one of these elements is that each person will have a different approach – especially the fourth element – your personal zen.
One ritual I love to partake in at the end of August and beginning of September is to go through each of these four points and set goals, make schedules and determine how to make sure I find this balance. For example:
Good Health – making a weekly schedule of how many times I’d like to walk, which days and times would work best with my schedule, when I’d like to carve out time for yoga and strength training is something I revisit based on my goals at least once a year (and sometimes more). If I have it in my planner and set in my mind that I want to complete two strength training sessions a week, yoga Saturday mornings and a walk with my dogs every morning, I have a goal in mind and I view it as an appointment. Now sometimes it doesn’t occur exactly as I have planned and I might have to move some days around, but by having a goal, you can feel accomplished at the end of the week when you know you completed your fitness regimen. The same approach works for eating as well.
Healthy/Supportive Social Network – Some people need more time with others, some need less. Some find it through friends, some family, some both. The key is to have an outlet to share and discuss with people you trust. A small intimate group and possibly a larger more casual group are something to incorporate in a way that makes you comfortable. Everyone’s will be different, and it will change as you go through life, but to help maintain good health, be sure you have a confidante in your life that you trust and who has your back.
Solid Work Situation – As a teacher, I appreciate the time to reboot during the summer and what I try to do at the beginning of each school year is make necessary changes to my day that will provide less stress and increased productivity. Whether it be making sure I bring healthy treats ahead of time and put them in the refrigerator so that when I’m needing a boost I’m reaching for almonds instead of donuts, or if I plan on arriving an hour earlier or staying an hour later on certain days, I try to learn from what worked in the past and tweak what needed adjusting. More importantly for each of us, it is a time to assess whether or not we are in a career that has opportunities for growth AND whether or not we are taking advantage of them. Change your approach and you just might be pleasantly surprised with the results.
Personal Zen – We all need regular time to immerse ourselves in hobbies and leisurely pursuits that de-stress us and bring utter joy. This could be regular pampering at the spa, time to kayak in the nearby lake, going out on the town to listen to your favorite musicians, having a fiction book to read each night waiting for you on your nightstand or cooking together with your significant other. Whatever it is that brings you pleasure, erase the thought that it is selfish because in fact, it is necessary.
By establishing these four elements in your life, you will create a more contented day-to-day experience, and thus be more productive at work. After all, as stated in yesterday’s inspirational post, there are so many reasons to love our work. Why not establish a work-life balance that makes it even more enjoyable which in turn will help you become even more successful? Have a lovely Tuesday everyone.