Part 1: What on EARTH is Work – Family Balance?
Work – Family Balance. The words stare back at me from my computer. This is part of my work. When I am not coaching, I am writing, or training coaches. And as I write, I am in my home office, surrounded by work AND family. As I stare at my computer screen, I hear the pounding of my son’s music coming from upstairs and my shopping list beckons me wistfully from my note pad. “We need milk, ” is its ever-present lonely refrain.
And as I reach for a paper clip, my fingers land on a post-it that my daughter has left for me with a drawing on it for “mommy,” making my heart skip a beat as I look at this incredible stick figure and marvel at how lucky I am - the mother of three talented children. As I slip the post-it back into the paper clip jar, I turn my attention to emails. One is from a client, requesting a session. Another is from a high school friend who would like to reconnect with me and the third is from a colleague inviting me to be a guest blogger on her website. It’s a mix – work and family all together – all the time.
For me, work-life balance is about integrating all aspects of my life throughout each day. Unless I am coaching someone, I am probably entertaining a myriad of thoughts and ideas that range from “Did my son remember to feed the cat?” and “Don’t forget to prep for the class you’re teaching Tuesday” to “Call the Plumber,” “Write that article already!” and “Is noon too early for a glass of wine?”
Some will say that it is best to separate work and family life. The thinking is that if we separate the two, we will be able to do each of them with our full focus and energy. Otherwise, we risk feeling as if we are not doing anything well. For those who feel this way, I say more power too you! The goal is not to follow in my footsteps or down the path of others who have found the secret to work/family balance. The goal with lasting results will come from learning your own secrets.
This is what I am planning to help you with during this 5 part series. What is your secret formula to successful work-family balance? When are you most efficient? How do you know you are succeeding in both areas of life? The trick is to look at what has worked in the past, identify your vision for the future and listen to what you already know. The answers are within each of us, after all.
My skill as a coach is to help you find your own answers. So let’s get started!
Step one is to slow down and listen to the wisdom inside you. How often do you slow down and listen? If you are like me, this is not your normal mode of being. Let’s start with three concepts; Thinking, moving and connecting.
Where can you take a few extra minutes for yourself each day? This is in embarrassing, but I will give you an example; After my pedicure yesterday, I sat for 15 minutes and allowed my nail polish to dry. Believe it or not, this is evidence of growth for me. Typically, I hop up and run out the door risking a smudge with every step, in hopes of checking one more thing of my list. If it is possible to make a pedicure stressful, I have found a way to do it! Not anymore. Where can you take a few extra minutes for yourself?
How often do you walk around your neighborhood or from your office to lunch? I have started walking to my errands whenever possible. When you live in Los Angeles, stepping outside your car to walk more than one block is akin to having three heads – odd. Also, it takes a bit longer. But, there is something about walking that forces you to be present and connects you to the world. How can you move more?
Connect. Take a moment and chat with a friend or meet someone new. I have a tendency to run out after the PTA meeting is over – so that I can get to my next location as quickly as possible. What if I stuck around to chat for 5 minutes? What if I struck up a conversation with someone while waiting in line for coffee? Take a moment and connect to another person.
If you are really up for a challenge, why not try my FREE video Series; “7 Days To More Peace Through Imperfection” and see your results accelerate! www.jameetenzer.com
And, stay tuned for part two of the Work – Family Balance Series: Your Take on Balance