Determine what is important to you. That has to be the starting point. Prioritizing and then
setting goals will focus you on your targets. It then makes it so much easier to apportion out your
time appropriately. Know what your roles are at work and know what roles you want it to fulfill in
your private life. Be sure that the balance you establish gives you maximum satisfaction.
To ensure that you meet your goals (both work-related and personal), it is prudent to define your
goals as specifically as possible, give measurement to them, provide definite timelines, and
although there needs to be some stretch or challenge to them, make them realistic and achievable
given the parameters set. The last criterion for your goals would be to selectively share them -
share them with those who will be affected by, or could affect, the goals, and also with those who
will emotionally positively support you in your direction.
To be really focused, you need to find those aspects of your work or life that you can develop a
Be attuned to your patterns of working, as well as your high alert, medium concentration, and down
times during a 24 hour cycle. This will help you allocate tasks to appropriate times in which to
complete them. Ultimately you want to optimize the time you have available in order to reach your
goals. This means disciplining yourself to work on your most important tasks, even though they may
only be bite-sized chunks of a much larger project, rather than do the quick and easy, less
important tasks that will make you feel better to cross them off in short order on your to-do list
but, in reality, will bring you no closer to your goals.
Create an action plan that includes your goals or objectives, your deliverables, the tasks that
need to be done in order to produce your deliverables, with deadline dates, and quality standards
against which you can be measured. This will help organize you at work.
At home, a family action plan, or chore list will not go amiss. Re-look at how you are living your
life. If most of your time outside of work is spent driving the children around to extra-murals,
then review your family priorities and find creative options that meet each individual child's
needs while at the same time meeting the family's needs. Notice if you are moving items around the
house in order to clean. If yes, then rather place one of each item needed in the relevant rooms.
This will shave off minutes each day, which quickly add up. Avoid bringing paper from the mail into
your home. Have a sorting station as you walk into the house - use the garbage bin, and the
shredder liberally. Have
a "to file" and a "to action" slot handy.
Create and maintain a support system both inside and outside of work. It truly can help you
withstand pressures that you may experience in your life. Do make sure that you fit with your job,
your work area, and the organization. This fit must be in terms of needs, goals, performance
required, competence, and the culture.
No one works alone. If you are in a position to do so, delegate to those who report to you. Use the
70% rule - if someone can do it 70% as well as you can, they are ready to take on the
responsibility for the task, with some mentoring from you. Careful thought needs to be given to
matching tasks to people correctly in terms of competence, experience, interest, and potential.
Then delegation needs to occur with specific parameters set and communicated, authority handed
over, and mechanisms for report back and feedback put in place.
It is key to be challenged by what you are doing, to be committed to what you are doing, and to be
in control of what you are doing. The challenge comes from introducing stretch goals into your
life. It is not about overloading your system. Instead it involves building personal excitement for
what you are busy doing. The commitment implies that you are dedicated to something in your life.
This engenders steadfastness and a strong sense of satisfaction. The control that you need to have,
or take back, in your life is crucial. It is the part that ensures you make a plan of action that
truly reflects your priorities, that you clarify all expectations with your stakeholders, and that
you take accountability for what you do and the quality standards at which you do it, as well as
hold others accountable for their deliverables.
You also need to practice "selective neglect". Don't focus on anything that creates noise for you
and the priorities that you have set. Relegate demands to the relevant level of attention.
It requires constant vigil to maintain a balance between vying work demands and between your work
and your personal life. It is a work life balance juggling act worth perfecting!
↑ Back to Top