Well, hello again! I have emerged from a long summer’s nap only to find someone was sleeping on the job with regards to writing my blog. My explanation: I recently acquired office space and have been finding that the to-do list for work far exceeds the number of hours per week I have to tackle it.
I have smacked right into the harsh time-management realities of being in business for myself. I imagine that being in private therapy practice is similar to owning any other business, so hopefully I have a lot of sympathy out there. The biggest problem for me is the computer. The darn thing has a habit of always being on and calling my name with its siren’s allure. When at work and not in session with counseling clients, this is a fine thing. I can easily fill any schedule holes with productive use of my time. I’ve concluded, however, that when at home, a laptop and a business to run can quickly take over one’s life.
I think I have turned the corner and am officially emerging from the work-life imbalance.
5 Lessons I have learned about having work life balance:
1. Make a hand-written to-do list, every day, with very tiny baby steps. It feels great to cross things off. It feels awful to have items sit on your list for weeks. Break everything into the tiniest steps and you’ll be amazed how much you can accomplish, guilt-free.
2. Get as much as you can accomplished in the day, and then recreate your to-do list for the next. Most importantly – put the work away now. If you draw sudden inspiration at 8 PM, simply write it down on your handy-dandy list and walk away.
3. Make exceptions be the exception. I have not been a saint as far as putting down the work at night. I am sure many of us cave to work when we know we should be playing with our kids, snuggling with our spouses, or taking care of ourselves. I was comfortable with breaking my boundaries once in a while, but I had to give myself a stern talking-to when the exception snuck into a rule.
4. Ask for help to build in self-care time. I have recently needed to ask for some time off from my family to exercise. Lack of me-time is one of those crazy consequences of parenting that I didn’t see coming. Especially as a working parent, it can be really tough to justify even more time away from the kiddos. But, my body and my mind NEED the break. It takes a village, folks…
5. Give yourself self-care pep-talks and put it on your list. There’s the sometimes (OK frequent) specter of lack of motivation that enters in the picture for me. Just keeping it real. I have to give myself regular reminders to exercise or it simply doesn’t happen. It is easy to pile on the guilt, but I find this is only a distraction from the prize – actual exercise time. I gently, but firmly, remind myself to stay focused and get out the door.
Have you been feeling a little out of balance lately? What are you doing to right your ship? What makes it hard for you to have good boundaries around personal and work schedules?
Let’s talk! Counseling can help with challenges such as stress management, setting and making progress toward goals, and values clarification.