Striking the elusive work+life balance

I met with my friend and mentor for lunch  and an overdue catching up session. It was good just to take time in the middle of the week to recharge, enjoy a good meal and have meaningful conversation with someone who understands my heart. The topic of balancing came up and we spent much time sharing coping strategies.

If you ever felt like your work/ life balance was teetering on the edge, maybe it’s time to make changes before overwhelm sucks you in. Whether you’re a single person or a woman with a family, life is often overwhelming. I’ve come a long way in managing all that I have going on. It’s not something I’ve perfected and I don’t think I ever will.  But I’ve made the commitment to not let what I do and the things I need to take care of take me. Finding and striking balance is key. Here are a few tips for dealing with work/life balance..

1. Realize that there will always be room for improvement and thnigs take time. It takes time and energy to resist reality. Trying to make something happen in a time that is not practical often leads to overwhelm, stress and even abandonment of the project or plan. Accept that fact and make strategic steps to take you from where you are to where you want to be. You know the old saying, ‘Rome was not built in a day?’ Keep that in the back of your mind as you move from where you are to where you desire to be. Getting where you aspire to be is oftentimes a process. Once you come to terms with that, enjoy the journey getting there.

2. Be realistic. I see it all the time, people playing superhero, biting off more than they can chew only to be left feeling….overwhelmed. Sometimes you just have to be real about what you can and can’t do. It doesn’t make sense to take on more clients or projects than you can manage and hope to heavens that you’ll somehow happen to get it done. It just leads to a feeling of let down and defeat and compromising your character by putting out shoddy work.

3. Revise your commitments. Being realistic often means revising your commitments. Instead of making a promise that is likely to be broken, why not look at your time, what you can manage to do in the time you have and revise any commitments before they end in broken promises? Promises are not made to be broken, but some can be revised. By acting promptly to revise commitments that you cannot or may not keep, you save yourself the stress of letting someone down and you let them know you respect them and their time enough to let them know ahead.

4. Make a list, check it twice. I love lists. I keep them on my computers and sync with my phone and tablet. They help keep me organized and organization goes a long way to attaining balance which is just what I need at times when I feel like I’m flying by the seat of my pants. I’ve found that just the process of putting it on paper or typing it on my computer has a way of burning it into my memory and when I check my list it is already done. I remembered it, just because I wrote it down. Don’t underestimate the power of writing things down!

5. Just Breathe. Need I say more? No matter how many measures you try to put in place to strike a work/life balance, life has a way of getting in the way. I don’t think anyone has totally perfected that balancing act and if you know someone who has, make an introduction for me as I’d like to pick their brain! When things go awry, sometimes the best thing to do is just breathe, collect yourself and then keep going.

How do you manage overwhelm? What measures have you put in place to fight the feeling of overwhelm? I’d love to hear from you!


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