Guiding Mid-career Professionals to Jobs They Love

Fitting Work and Life Together: Strategies to See the Big Picture

The Big Picture

It is pretty widely accepted that the days of working from 9 to 5 are long gone, and the ability to focus on your life outside of those working hours has disappeared along with it. When work bleeds so heavily into our personal time it can make life feel like a constant state of chaos that we can’t control.

So what can you do about it?

If you can’t beat them, join them:

  1. Plan your work goals and personal goals at the same time. I recently spent a day doing my 2015 goal setting. I had all of my business goals written on sticky-notes and posted all over my wall, and right in the center of them was a set of notes that displayed my personal This allowed me to work on these two seemingly separate items simultaneously and see how they interacted with each other. Having both sets of goals all in one place also enabled me to keep them both in mind and make sure that I didn’t over-commit to one without acknowledging the other.
  2. Keep one calendar for both your work and your personal life. In addition to my work meetings and deadlines, I include my kids’ school calendar, my nanny’s schedule, important financial goal reminders (contribute to IRA, pay quarterly taxes), doctor’s appointments for the whole family, date nights, birthdays, holidays and other important dates to remember. My husband and I use the family calendar options to each add our personal commitments that will impact each other.If you are looking for the right tool to do this, Google Calendar is a powerful option. You can create individual calendars (one for you, one for the kids, etc.) and share them with multiple people. If it starts to look crowded (which can add to your stress, even if what you are seeing isn’t related to you) just turn each calendar on and off as they relate to the information you need at any given moment.
  3. Add your work and personal goals to your calendar. First and foremost, attaching a date to a goal can help clarify how and when to make progress towards that goal. Second, and perhaps more importantly, it will show you whether your goals support each other or are in conflict! For example, planning to update my bathroom during the same month when I’m delivering multiple workshops is a great way to generate a whole lot of stress and set myself up for frustration and failure. Seeing this on my calendar, I adjusted my plan to now have the bathroom update happen in a slower work month.

We often feel overwhelmed and stressed when we feel we can’t control what’s happening to us. When you can put a strategy in place that allows you to truly see the big picture of everything you have going on in your life, you are better able to make smart choices, rearrange and re-evaluate as necessary, and set yourself up for great success!

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