Excerpt from blog by Eric Barker, "Barking up the Wrong Tree"
Comment from Heinz A. Müller: In these hectic times, Wok-Life Balance becomes more and more important. I think it is worth it for all of us to have a look at this particular issue. Eric Barker in his blog, “BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE,“ has some interesting ideas and advice.
Achieving work-life balance can look impossible. And, frankly, it seems like it’s getting harder.
Via The ONE Thing: A LexisNexis survey of the top 100 newspapers and magazines around the world shows a dramatic rise in the number of articles on the topic, from 32 in the decade from 1986 to 1996
to a high of 1674 articles in 2007 alone.
You Need To Draw A New Line
I’ve posted plenty of research on productivity, time management and procrastination – but that’s not the issue here. Not at all.
Those are hacks that help you be more efficient but in the modern world you are getting
25 hours of to-do’s thrown at you every 24 hours.
Thinking that if you spend enough time you will “get everything done“ is an illusion. You will never be “done.“
The happiest people are not people who don’t have a care in the world. Those people are bored.
Research shows the happiest people are busy – but don’t feel rushed.
Anxiety is reduced by a feeling of control. And what do studies say about work-life balance? Same thing – a feeling of control is key.
You have to draw a line. You must decide what is important and what isn’t.
How do you draw that line? By asking yourself one simple question a few times a day.
“What’s The Most Important Thing For You To Do Right Now?“
The main problem people have is they treat everything as important.
You can’t do it all and everything is not equally important.
So how do you determine the most important thing for you to do right now?
1) What Are Your Values?
Clay Christensen, Harvard Business School professor and author of How Will You Measure Your Life? (www.measureyourlife.com) knows what he values.
He works Monday to Friday. Saturday is for family and Sunday is for God. Period. No work on the weekends. No exceptions. No matter what.
Clay knows what’s important to him, drew a line and probably doesn’t suffer from many work-life worries.
Ist his effective for everyone at every company? No. But you have to start with knowing what matters most to you and drawing a line.
2) What gets you disproportionate results?
Face it: often you start by doing whatever happens to be in front of you but proximity does not equal priority.
In his book The One Thing, Gary Keller applies the “Pareto principle“ to the workday:
Most of us get 80% of results from 20% of the work we do. So focus on that 20%.
What really creates progress vs. treading water? What gives disproportionate results?
Do that first and most frequently.
3) What’s the thing only *you* can do well?
If someone else can do the laundry at home, let them do it. If someone else can do the filing at work, let them do it.
But if you are parent, you need to be at the parent-teacher conference and if you’re the sales lead you need to be at the sales meeting.
All in all, the effective executive tries to be himself; he does not pretend to be someone else. He looks at his own performance and at his own results and tries to discern a pattern. “What are the things,“ he asks, “that I seem to be able to do with relative ease, while they come rather hard to other people?“
Management guru Pete Ducker says focus on the things that only you can do. Delegate, outsource or neglect the rest.
4) What’s most important right now?
You feel good when you check a lot of things off your to-do list. But were they things that are most important and urgent? That’s what matters.
And being important doesn’t necessarily mean it’s urgent.
And as Clay Christensen points out, it’s all too easy to put off important family time for urgent work deadlines.
If you you’ve been neglecting your loved ones recently, work might be urgent but not important while family is both important and urgent.
So how do you deal with work/life balance? Here are some key ideas:
What’s most important thing to remember?
You can do anything once you stop trying to do everything.