Most of us know that work-life balance doesn’t just happen. We must be strategic in our efforts to gain it—and to keep it. Work-life balance is not a one-time fix, but rather it is a continuous process of rotating priorities.
Generally, most people believe that dividing tasks into neat baskets and carefully allotting equal amounts of time for each job would produce a work-life balance. But that’s not true at all. It would be nice to have a simple division problem with no remainders (16 waking hours divided by four critical tasks). Using a piece-of-cake calculation to produce an even flow between work and home life wouldn’t be beneficial.
The reality is, having a successful work-life balance necessitates having a strategic plan that is fluid and malleable for inevitable changes in priorities. Having targeted priorities is a precursor to work-life balance. And it doesn’t just happen.
We can assign targeted priorities after gaining clarity and alignment around your purpose, vision, mission, and values in life. Understanding these crucial components is essential before taking strategic aim at ranking priorities. And priorities are non-negotiables when attempting to develop a work-life balance that is customized for you. Here are three steps to help you gain clarity and alignment that will give you confidence into the new year.
- Get clear about who you are. In other words, what is your purpose? How do you want to show up in the world around you? This is foundational to building a life that is well balanced with tremendously fluidity when there is opportunity to shift. When we fail to consider our purpose, we are more likely to adopt fruitless tasks and adhere to a regimen that does not align with the essence of who we really are. These efforts may leave us overwhelmed, exhausted, and conflicted. Once you’re clear on your purpose and the other components, then you can decide what you want to emphasize in the new year. Determining your emphasis early will help you to develop a more concentrated plan of action.
- Get clear about what you want. What’s happening now in the current year? How would you like to experience next year? What growth opportunities exist? It is important to be targeted and specific in these areas. Determine what’s working and what’s not working currently for you. Doing so will help you decide where to place your focus in the upcoming year. Often times, we will make a plan hastily, without taking the time to survey what’s already happening (good or bad). We fail to consider where improvements could be made.
- Make a strategic and aligned plan to move forward. After you’ve gotten clear about the essential components (purpose, mission, vision, and values) and what you want, then you can move toward setting goals and developing a workable strategic plan to achieve them. Keep in mind that all plans should be made with the understanding that they may change as your priorities and life circumstances also change. As you hone your vision and gain better understanding of your purpose, your goals and aspirations may shift. However, because the plan is anchored in purpose and the current priorities in your life, work-life balance will be the end result. And you can feel good about your decisions.
Work-life balance is always the result of having priorities that reflect our life purpose and our core values. Forget about having everything in neat little baskets, divided equally. Begin with understanding who you are, who you were created to be, and the value you add to the world. In other words, begin with understanding your purpose. With this understanding, you can prioritize confidently and make decisions conducive to achieving a customized work-life balance.
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