There are days when I feel like I am carrying the whole world on my shoulders. The stress of balancing the important people and responsiblities in my life, as well as my business, can become so overwhelming that every bit of energy is drainned leaving me feeling unproductive and in a state of foggy thinking.
How do you balance work and home life?
I have always heard that writing down a “to-do” list is very helpful; but my “to-do” list becomes so long that I don’t even want to face it on paper. However, I have come across what is called the Eisenhower matrix. An easy stategy to help prioritize my tasks. A simple way to make progress and create a feeling of accomplishment, rather than overwhelm and exhaustion. It is a quick way of discerning how to get out of “putting out the fires” whether they are your own or someone elses and really get done those things that are important and will matter in the long run.
Dewight D. Eisenhower once said, “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.” A statement given in a speach that has changed the thinking of thousands.
He went on to explain, simply put your task in one of these 4 catagories, urgent, important, less urgent or totally unimportant.
Achieving Work Life Balance
If you can train yourself to work primarily from catagory #2…you will find that you can get more done in your day and feel 100% better.
Box 1: Do first.
Important/ Urgent – These are important to my life and career. They must be done TODAY or Tomorrow at the latest. Some people will assign a time limit to each task, using a timmer to keep on track. This box is your red alert box. You get alot done in this box, but it is like running behind the apple cart, grabbing all the little apples as each one bounces out of the cart. Eventually you begin to tire and feel a sense of resentment. Life is not fun and spontaneous. You wake up one day asking yourself, “what am I doing all of this for?” In this box you are living your life from a place of reactive. Everyday you can expect to do a couple of things in this box, and then there will be those moments when some situation calls you into this box, but if you are working form a list primarly made up of #1’s you will quickly burn out.
If you want to be a person who is Proactive, rather than Reactive, create your list primarily from box #2.
Box 2: Schedule
Important/Less Urgent – These are important, but less urgent, They can be put in the calendar, setting aside a specific time to accomplish. This is the box that brings the most fulfillment. When you work from this mindset you are proactive in scheduling the things through out the day that will improve your health, your family, and your career. You choose to find balance, have big dreams, and go after worthwhile goals. This is the box that allows you the time and energy to not only progress yourself, but look outside of yourself to serve someone else. From this box you become a natural leader. You may not physically stand up on a stage in front of thousands hoping to make a difference; no, but your choices and actions will affect generations in ways you never could imagine.
Box 3: Delegate
Less Important (to you)/Urgent (to others) – These are tasks usually come from soneone else. They are important to them and can typically be delegated to someone else. The key is to always check back to make sure that the job has been completed. This box is that person who comes to you with something that they need done right this moment. It is not an emergancy, but it is high on their list of priorities. These are the things that highjack your time, causing you to stop what you are doing and the progress you are making. If you can not give this task to someone else, then find a time to put it on your schedule for another day. Learning the art of delegation not only helps your to accomplish more in a day, it also allows other individuals to step in who may not hold the position that you hold but they have the skilss and at that moment may be more qualified.
Box 4: Don’t do
Not Important/Not Urgent – this catagory helps you sort out those things that are time wasters and really impede your success. These are often tasks that cause a person to become an unconscious procrastinator. These are those moments you find yourself surfing the internet checking up on everyone elses status, playing games, or mindlessly looking at what is going on out in the world. Individuals These tasks are not true relaxation. They have no health benefits. The great thing about this box is it can help you clean out and eliminate time wasters. Only when we become aware of habits are we truly able to do something that will actually make a lasting change. So treat this box like your would when you want to clean out a room or closet. Evaluate what is there and then either get rid of it or organize it.
When you feel like all you do is put out fires?
We all have those days when it feels like all we do is put out others fires. Our list is beginning to pile-up. And those personal wants and needs are pushed to the back burner. However, if this is the norm in your life, then you are due for a change.
There are seasons when children are small or other family members take a great amount of your time. My grandmother use to remind me that I was in a season that would not last for ever, each time I would complain about not having time for myself, with six little ones always needing something. We have all experienced those moments.
Young mothers, yes this is a very hard time of life. There are more days that you feel like you are in box #1 more than you would like to be. You will find many tips that can help you make it through those day. The one advice I wish to share with you at this time, as well as anyone at any age, You have it in you to succeed. You were created with an inner strength, individual gifts, and talents like non other. Your moments of life experience become the mirror that helps to reflect back to you what you are really capable of. Those attitudes and attributes that would otherwise go unnoticed by you and taken for granted. You are not alone, eventhough at times you feel that you are.
I come from a strong belief of where I came from, what purpose I am here for, and where I am really going. So when life starts to come crashing down, and I feel the burden to be more than I can handle, I have a strong faith, that I turn to. You taking care of yourself first, is no different than the instruction each of us is given each time we enter a plane to fly……”put the oxygen mask on yourself first, and then give it to the child.” Have you ever wondered why that is?
At first I was a bit confussed at what was the difference between urgent and important. Let’ take a moment and really examine the difference.
Difference between the Urgent and the Important
You have finished the day and you are completely exhausted. You should feel a sense of great success for all that you did and accomplished, yet all you feel is the serge of frustration that you are falling further and further behind on what you need to get done. Why? Because you find yourself taking care of what others find to be urgent or important.
Urgent means that a task requires immediate attention. These are the to-do’s that shout “DO IT NOW!” We step into a reactive mode when faced with urgent tasks. Our mindset tends to become defensive, negative, hurried, and narrowly-focused.
These are tasks that require immediate attention such as deadlines, problems, crisis, and emergancies. The urgent box not only affects our work time. it can also become spilling over with concerns for children, and other family memebers. One can become stuck on a continuous Red Alert if the skills for emotional balance are not practiced on a daily basis.
Another offender is the increase of technology which keeps us in a continuous state of “switched on”. Cell phones have replaced the alarm clock, sitting by the bed and going off with continual notices of messages and emails. Not only does it impeed our state of restful sleep, this continual diet of information and data is causing many to suffer from burnout or stagnation due to overwhelm.
I know what you are thinking, I have thought the very same thing….”I am the only one to take care of these things. No one else can.” This statement may be true; however, I am finding that as I become better at planning ahead, as well as creating a healthier mindset, I can keep the TRUE urgent events handled and the so-called urgent events away.
So what is the IMPORTANT tasks? These are the tasks that support our long-term mission and contribute to our values, and goals. There are times when our important tasks become urgent; but as general rule, they typically are not. As I have learned to become more governed by a focus on my important tasks, I 100% of the time am able to keep my stress level down and step into a responsive mode. My attitude helps me remain calm, rational, and open to new opportunities and different ways of handling each situation.
What changes has this actually brought into my life? Well I am still happily, and enjoying marriage after 36 years. I am learning to handle the responsibilities and demands of my crazy, and extremely busy life with a great sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. I am focusing on living healthy, both body, mind, and spirit, so that I have the strength to offer service when needed. I enjoy my family….yes, all the Good, bad, and “wow, how did that happen” moments.
And most of all, I love the sense of improvement which comes through each growth experience; those trials that threaten to snag my confidence to jump, the latest challenging hurdle of life.
My desire for you today, is that you will feel the encouragment to organize a Beautiful Life.