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Balancing, or some would say, juggling our personal and professional lives can be challenging. When you throw in our culture of being connected to work 24/7 via smart phones things get even more difficult. So I’m always looking for ideas on how to do a better job at it, which is why I signed up for Lauran Star’s webinar Stop the Work/Life Balancing Act.
During the webinar Star, an author, consultant, speaker, and authority on women’s empowerment, really delivered. Her message both educated and inspired. And her strategies were simple and direct, which is why I was thrilled when she agreed to share some of them with me.
You talk about work/life strategies rather than work/life balance, what is the difference?
Work /life balance means there is equal time and energy on both sides – work and life – that if we work 40 hours a week, we should then create another 40 hours of home quality time. Unfortunately this mentality does not work. It can’t.
Work /life strategies however focuses on skills we can use both at work and at home to be more present, have more energy and be happier. Rather than recreating the wheel- use what you currently have in your tool box. It is more about the moment than the focus on hours.
What are three work/life strategies that women can incorporate into their lives right now?
Be present – learn to breath and center yourself when your mind starts scattering and you lose your focus. Be in the moments – and stop multi-tasking.
Journal – Journaling will help you take emotions out of conversations and meeting both at home and work. It does not have to be the next best novel mind you – when you feel emotional, stressed, before big meetings, or when something goes array take a moment and write down – the situation, your reaction, the result, and how would you like it to have been. That takes about three minutes. Reflect later in the day or week.
Q-TIP– Quit Taking IT Personally. Both at home and work things happen… it is not always about you. Remind yourself to not take someone’s bad mood as an affront to you.
You recommend taking work tactics – like having an agenda for meetings – home. Why?
When you schedule meetings at work what happens … everyone shows up on the same page, with enough information to move forward, emotions are low, and there are few surprises. This works at home as well with the same results – sometimes even better results. When we are home we tend to allow our emotions to go unchecked, heck they have been under lock and key for the past 8+ hours- then we have financial, childrearing, food, emotion filled conversations with our loved ones. This is ripe for emotional sabotage. An agenda reminds our subconscious to keep emotions in check – to be careful of blaming the other person- to keep focused on the task and future rather than the past.
You talked a lot about picking and choosing activities based on what you give and what you get back. Can you briefly explain your PIE theory?
Every day everyone wakes up with a whole pie to play with. It is full when we awake and then during the day we unconsciously eat or give away slices. Some people take more pie, others give us pie. However until you start thinking about pie you never know how much you have or who is stealing pie from you. Some of us walk around by 12:00 pm with no pie left yet we have a good eight hours to give to others. The goal is you identify where you give and get pie – so when you need to give more you know where to get more. You will also be able to identify where pie is wasted. Pie is you- Your energy, happiness.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I like most women mentally create a check list of things I need to do by when… Be the VP by 28, married by 30, kids and a dog by 35, own my 1st home by 30, retire at 65 … The advice I would give my younger self would be to take more time out for me. To focus on the present. I am not saying don’t save for the future or have long term goals – just the opposite – have the goals written down and use a road map instead of a check list and life map. Life and success is not a straight line it’s curvy and bumpy and full of passion if you just let go and ride it.
About Annette Richmond, MA
Annette Richmond, MA, CARW, CCELW, is a Certified Resume Writer, Certified LinkedIn Profile Writer, and former recruiter. Her career advice has been featured by Huffington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, Business Insider, Monster, Vault, and WSJ. She helps motivated, senior level professionals tell their unique career story. She also serves as executive editor of career-intelligence.com.