Over the years I have found myself at the end of each day, week, and year dissatisfied with how I have spent my time. I used to be drawn to any information about how I could add ‘balance’ to my life or how I could be more efficient. I’ve come to believe there is no such thing as ‘work-life balance’. I realized there will be times where some areas of my life will receive more attention than others depending on the season of my life as well as priorities at the time. I realized I can make time for more of what I want if I keep in mind 3 key tips:
Implement the 'good enough rule
Check for effectiveness
Implement the 'good enough' rule
There are many monotonous tasks we have to do as a normal part of life. There’s no need to make these tasks more time intensive than they have to be. Consider relaxing your ‘standards’ and implement the ‘good enough’ rule when possible.
I know some of you are saying, “whoa! No ma’am!” so let me explain. The ‘good enough’ rule means to be satisfied with a task being completed in a way other than you would have completed it. Will you feel less joy if your child folds the towels in halves instead of thirds? The ‘good enough’ rule also means completing some tasks less frequently. Will you enjoy your space less if you do not clean the baseboards in your house weekly? Keep going through your to do list until you find things you can release to the ‘good enough’ rule. I’m sure there are a few tasks where you can apply this rule and free up some time.
Check out my Facebook video about children helping with laundry to consider ideas of how you may involve your family.
When it comes to ‘good enough’, also look at where you can take some things off your schedule. Resist the urge of falling into the trap of believing busyness and exhaustion are status symbols to achieve. Resist filling every bit of free space on your calendar. Maybe it’s good enough to attend 3 of the 4 general school events. Resist the need to top your co-workers’ story on who had the busiest weekend during the Monday morning download of the weekend’s activities. I know it might feel awkward to say on a Monday, “I had a fun weekend” or “I feel recharged, thanks for asking” but give it a try.
This tip is challenging for many because it takes courage. Courage to do what means the most for you which sometimes mean, saying “no thank you” without guilt or concern that you are not a good person.
Prioritizing also means recognizing the phase of life you are in and adjusting your priorities accordingly. There were phases of my life where I worked 16 hour days and was happy to do it because I was single without any other responsibilities. I was also new in my career and had lots of things to learn. That changed when I got married, because I wanted to make time for my husband. It then changed again when I had kids. The number and types of activities I used to volunteer for also decreased or stopped.
Check for effectiveness
The final tip is to periodically assess your personal effectiveness (I suggest at least monthly). Determine if you are achieving the results you want (i.e. living the life you want) based on your current phase of life, priorities and values. Here are a few questions to consider asking yourself during your self-assessment:
What is my current phase of life?
Have I adjusted my priorities to align with my phase of life?
Have I implemented the ‘good enough’ rule where possible?
Have I delegated where possible?
Am I adding unnecessary self-imposed expectations?
Did I do more of what I wanted over the past month? If no, what changes can I make?
Let me know if these tips work for you.