10 Things We Can Do to Become More Balanced
I recently listened to a Lorin Beller Blake, a very successful entrepreneur and dynamic keynote speaker at the Moms in Business Unite Conference and wanted to share her tips with you to help you achieve more balance in your life:
1. Quality time with family. Choosing to pick up my daughter from school each day is one way I choose to have quality time with her every single day. So, choose quality time with family. It does not have to be long. A few minutes each day is invaluable.
2. Book it! I also put in my calendar my work out schedule on a weekly basis. That schedule is just as important as my work, if not more important! Schedule things that you typically let go by the wayside if you are committed to impact your life here.
3. Daily goal review. Look at your goals on a daily basis (or at least weekly) and be sure that, within your week, you create the time and space for each area of your life.
4. Three goals per day. Set only three goals each day taken from your goal sheet or “to do” list – no more. Meet your commitments to yourself (more on this later in the book, SPLASH!). Accomplish those things early in the day and then allow the rest of your day to unfold naturally.
5. Keep it simple! People think that in order to have more fun and recreation in life it means more vacations! Crazy! What could you do every day for five minutes that is pure joy and fun for you? It might be to walk outside and notice the flowers, stop and really listen to the birds, or bring a massage therapist into the office every Friday for everyone that wants to partake. Bring fun and joy into every day, rather than put it off for the next vacation! Bring a tiny bit of the feeling of vacation into your world today. It changes the feeling of the day.
6. Acknowledge. Take two minutes out of each day to acknowledge someone, either at home, at the office, or both. Doing this has us switch our energy to what we are truly happy about rather than things that frustrate us. Acknowledge those around you; it changes the tone of the day!
7. Bold Actions. Take a bold action every day toward a big goal. Progress makes us feel productive. It makes us feel that we are in a state of action and makes us feel in charge of our world. Bold actions are key to balance. Take a bold action in each area of your life on a regular basis.
8. Health and Fitness. Years ago, I was in the fitness industry. We (mistakenly) make people feel like workouts need to be an hour to an hour and a half long. This is really not true for basic good health. Dr. Mehmet Oz, cardiac surgeon and co-author of YOU: The Owner’s Manual and YOU: On a Diet (among others), debunks some of the ideas we used to have about fitness, including:
• Increase your heart rate only 60 minutes per week! We need this for peace of mind anyway. That can translate to taking three (3) 20-minute power walks a week. Take the break to do this during work hours if you can. You need it!
• Walk 10,000 steps daily. (Wear a pedometer to see if you are close!) Park a few rows out in all parking lots. Take the stairs, not the elevator, and you’ll quickly make headway toward reaching 10,000 steps.
• Work in only five minutes a day of stretch/flexibility exercises! (I do this with my daughter when she wants to get on the floor and play.)
• Incorporate strength training into your workout schedule. A total of 30 minutes per week is sufficient!
9. Simplify! Throw things away. Be clutter free. Messiness and accumulating “stuff” creates negative energy that truly leaves us feeling more heavy, more unbalanced, and adds to our “to do” list. I am a huge believer in creating clutter free space!
10. Stop multi-tasking! Yes. Stop! We think that this allows us to get more done. But really, it makes us crazy! Do one thing a time and do it well. Let’s get more mindful about whatever the task is at hand. Love the task at hand. When we multi-task, we do not fully enjoy anything we are doing.
So above I shared HOW we can get more balance in our lives… now, 10 tips on BEING more balanced! It IS a state of mind as well!
- Breathe. Really breathe, deep down to your toes. Fill your entire chest cavity. If you actually put one hand on your chest and one on your belly, both hands should move if you are truly breathing.
- Slow down. I find this one challenging, but when I get conscious enough to be aware of the silly speed at which I am moving, I breathe, slow down, and life magically changes!
- Notice our surroundings. When I do the first two steps, I realize, “Ah, the wind is blowing, the chimes are singing, the water on the lake is calm, the sun is out, the air is warmer. When we do this, we begin to engage all our senses and, in doing so, life is more balanced.
- Acknowledge each other. This was also part of the doing list, so that must mean it is ultra important! But acknowledgement is not just something to do; it is a way of being. When we get out of our own way enough to be able to see how others are being and what they are doing, we can acknowledge them. This actually starts with a way of being in order to do it well and consistently.
- Yes or no? Be clear, conscious, and aware of “choice” in every single thing you are saying “yes” and “no” to. This guarantees that you will enjoy life more. It is when we fill our lives with “shoulds” that we begin to resent the world and ourselves.
- Be Silent. Among the noisy world find silence. I notice silence at a red light. I notice silence after asking a question. I notice silence in a gaze. I notice silence while waiting for a plane. The world is a very, very noisy place. But if we actually look for the silence, it is everywhere. And in that silence, work-life balance is found. “Go quietly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there may be in silence…” – From Desiderata, written by Max Ehrmann in the 1920’s
- Be in the moment. Moments matter. In work-life balance it is the moments that matter. My husband and I both work from home. Our lives are busy and fast-paced. Phones are ringing and we are constantly having our own conversations in our offices. Even so, we can sometimes walk past the other person, have our eyes meet, and say “hi” without saying anything. That is a moment. Or, there may be a time when he is on the phone and he reaches out and touches me when I know he is focused elsewhere. In that moment, he is letting me know I am noticed – and that matters. Create moments! This creates work-life balance. Creating moments does not take away from the time in your day and does not take any planning at all. It only takes thoughtfulness and care for humans in your world, and nothing more really matters. One more thing about moments: Don’t only create them only when you feel good – create moments when you don’t! You’ll be surprised how it gets you out of your “funky mood.”
- Be grateful. As they say, create an attitude of gratitude. I remember that when my daughter was three years old, we began ending our day together asking, “What are you grateful for?” She was three and she got it! She would tell me two things she was grateful for and I shared mine with her. We have continued to do that and it is a fun way to spend time at the end of the day. For an entire month, she told me she was grateful for the “puppy that JoJo gave me.” Other days, she says: “I’m grateful for you, Mommy,” and she gets to hear that I am grateful for her. She hears that I am grateful for others – for things we do, things we have, and experiences we create. I also tell her things I am grateful for about my work. I tell my colleagues in conversation what I am grateful for rather than finding something to complain about. It is amazing how it quickly changes the tone of the conversation! Try it!
- Be joyful about the little things. We tend to skip over them but stop and be joyful about things that you are truly joyful about. Celebrate in that moment. This is much like gratitude but slightly different. It is about bringing joy back into your life consistently. I notice how many people don’t laugh any more, and when something is funny we chuckle. Live out loud and laugh out loud!
- Reflect. Notice your life. Notice your body. Notice. Notice. Notice. Be curious. It is amazing how much of life we miss and how much you’ll see by just reflecting. It is the only way we see our progress, others’ progress, and the world’s progress. Reflect. Notice. Be curious.
Finally, Here are some tips from women who have created businesses models based on the 30-hour work week:
- Have written and well known company values. The values should be discussed regularly and actually run the company rather than the people.
- Reduce or eliminate personal use of technology during the workday, i.e. email, cell phone, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
- Allow work from home and pay by project rather than hourly, OR reduce full time salary slightly and reward based on quality and bottom line rather than just hourly.
- Have weekly planning sessions for teams.
- Be thoughtful about the amount of email that is sent internally. Use face-to-face communication rather than email for basic communication.
- Utilize leadership and leader behavior to increase the level of communication among the team.
- Allow for leaders to emerge at every level of the company. Breed creative thinkers and problem solvers.
- Negotiate contracts on a work week that is shorter.
- Have set contact hours that are less than the ones you actually work.
- Take vacation/time off often. If you schedule it, it happens!
- Everyone in the company should have goals in all areas of their lives.
- Maintain a state of freedom and choice versus the thought that life is all work.
Lorin Beller Blake is an inspirational and powerful leader of women business owners. Since launching Big Fish Nation – a set of creative tele-programs, books and tools designed to guide and empower women business owners – in 2001, she has served thousands of ‘Big Fish’ and helped empower them to realize their ideal lives – not just as successful, prosperous entrepreneurs, but as women who feel balanced and fulfilled on all levels.
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