22 Mar

If you had balance in your life, how happy would you be?

Work-life balance – a phrase we hear all too often. But some people will roll their eyes, put the thought of balance into the “too hard” box and carry on with the juggling act they call life. Sound familiar?

When the topic of work-life balance comes up in a coaching session, and it comes up often, people have a range of opinions. They either believe that it’s too selfish on their part to have a balance in their lives, in other words they are not worthy of balance; or they don’t believe that all components of their life carry equal weight. For example work is seen as more important than spending time with family and friends or exercise.

The funny thing is, is that no one in your life is going to create balance or happiness for you. You have to make it happen for yourself. Stop waiting for permission, stop waiting for someone to make you happy and take control of your own balance and happiness.

Here are two questions I would like you to think about.

  1.  If you had balance in your life, how happy would you be?
  2. How are your personal goals aligned to your work/business goals?

If you think your life is unbalanced and you are unhappy in your current situation because of this, either working too hard or playing too hard. Think about if you changed your current situation, how happy would you be or how much happier would you be?

We cannot separate our personal lives from our working lives, so are your goals in alignment, or do you try and live two separate lives? How’s that going for you?

One tool which you can use to help you reflect on all areas of your life and to create a starting point for change is the wheel of life.  After you have rated yourself on each of the eight areas, think about a goal that you would like to achieve for each of these areas. Let each goal be as important as the next. Then put your thinking cap on and come up with a way to achieve these goals.

Remember, no-one but you is going to create balance for you.

05 Jan

Hi, my name is …, and I’m a workaholic

Imagine this scenario, after years of job-hopping, dabbling in various industries and clock-watching until the end of the work day, you have finally found your calling in life! You have discovered what you were put on this earth to do. Every morning you jump out of bed with great energy and gusto, full of creativity, ideas and solutions, ready to get stuck into work for the day.

The euphoric feeling of loving your work, feeling valued and having the right “fit”  is incredible. You feel like you could go on working forever with no sleep as if you were permanently on cloud nine. Herein however lies a problem, if you jump in boots and all, continuing at the same pace and intensity with no boundaries, you may find yourself waking up one day realising that your life is all about your work and nothing else.

If you don’t want to be classified as a workaholic or a “work martyr” and you want to maintain the love for what you do in your work and still maintain some sort of balance, then think about implementing the following guidelines into your day. This way you can have your cake and eat it too.

1. Have beginnings and ends

Have set times every day to start and end your work day.  By keeping these time boundaries in place it prevents you from encroaching into your personal time. Sticking to this every day allows you to start building a positive routine into your life.

You may believe that by extending your working hours it will be beneficial to your business, more hours means getting more work done? Actually working more hours does not make us more productive. According to a study completed at Ohio University the human brain needs a 15 minute break after every hour of work. Unfortunately not many people carry out this practise, which results in a decrease in productivity. Interestingly, another study published in 2014 by John Pencavel of Stanford University showed that an employee’s output falls sharply after a 50-hour work-week, and falls off a cliff after 55 hours—so much so that someone who puts in 70 hours produces nothing more with those extra 15 hours. All that is achieved is a waste of time and an increase in your frustration levels.

2. Have daily micro-goals

To-do lists have their place, but one component that is most often missing from this list is a deadline. This can be dangerous especially for someone who is prone to shifting into workaholic mode. To-do lists can go on forever and we tend to keep adding to the list without including deadlines.

So here is a challenge for you. Every day pick 3 micro-goals, tasks which you can achieve in one day. This helps to re-enforce the “beginning and end” concept. Ending the day at a set time, knowing that you have completed the set tasks for that day provides a sense of closure.

3. Have a hobby

It’s not about rushing out and joining a book club or scrapbooking group for the sake of having an interest. It’s about acknowledging the fact that work is not everything. Finding something that inspires you, motivates you, challenges and excites you besides work is key to creating that work-life balance we hear about so often, but don’t always achieve.

Something I learned growing up was “too much of a good thing is not good for you.”  A simple principle that has kept me in check over the years. Everything in moderation, that includes work.

You may find the workaholics anonymous assessment helpful if you believe you may be a workaholic.

01 Sep

Is work-life balance achievable?

Last weekend was a productive one for me, decluttering my kitchen cupboards. In our home we are avid followers of Marie Kondo’s philosophy of “If it doesn’t bring you joy, get rid of it.” Whilst decluttering and celebrating our new found space, I thought about her mantra and realised that one could apply the same philosophy to life itself, and specifically to work-life balance.

Finding work-life balance in our modern busy lives often feels like searching for the holy grail, completely impossible. However, unlike the holy grail, work-life balance can be found. It is achievable. You just have to know where to look.

Instead of trying to cram so much into our work and personal lives, and desperately trying to “make it work”, think about what you can remove. Ask yourself this question, “How is this task/job/action serving me?” If the answer comes back negative, then why are you still doing it?

How can you remove the task/job/action from your life? Do you need to delegate the task, apply for another job or stop performing a certain action? Whatever it is, if it is not working for you, if it is doing you a disservice, then find a way to remove it.

By removing “stuff” from our lives we start to create some breathing space. We start to create a balance. Making a choice to keep something in our lives also reminds us of its importance. We cherish it more.

Now here comes the trick. Once you have eliminated and decluttered unnecessary things from your life, be incredibly mindful of adding any new things.

When embarking on a new project or task ask yourself these questions:

  1. What joy will I get out of taking on this new task?
  2. Will this new task fit into my existing lifestyle and work-style?
  3. What have I removed from my life to make space for this new item?

Trying to achieve work-life balance is ongoing. It is not a quick fix, but something we are continuously managing in our lives. Remember you are in control of what comes into your life, so if it doesn’t serve you, get rid of it.

Need some assistance with finding your work-life balance? Why not take on the service of a coach to help you? Contact Nicole at nicole@tikumu.co.nz to set up a free consultation.

14 Aug

Do we ever stop learning?

Do we ever stop learning? Most people would agree that no, we don’t.

So if we believe that we should be continuously learning, should we not always be open to opportunities for growth and development? Unfortunately, so often that doesn’t seem to be the case. Why do we limit ourselves from being developed, or when we have the opportunity to learn we poo-poo the idea and make excuses to avoid it?

One of the biggest obstacles for many people’s personal growth and development is their unhealthy pre-occupation with work. The “job” becomes all-consuming, and unreasonable work obligations are allowed to take away from personal learning time.

I often hear things like “Ah, I would love to attend that talk or seminar, but I’ve got work to do” or “No, I haven’t managed to read that book, I needed to finish off a work report”. You could say that work has become the be-all and end-all, and anything outside of it is less important. Lack of work-life-balance comes to mind.

Is this trade-off due to our feeling of guilt if we pay more attention to something other than work? The feeling that we will be seen as a “slacker” by our peers, work colleagues or heaven forbid, our bosses?

If your answers to the following questions highlight that your personal development time is lacking due to work, what are you going to do to change it?

  • Do you allow your job to overshadow your opportunity to develop?
  • Do you put other people’s requests and demands before your own development opportunities?
  • Do you allocate time during your week or month for personal development and growth?
  • Do you discuss your personal development goals with your boss?
  • What would happen if you actively included personal development into your schedule?
03 Mar

Golden nuggets worth sharing #8 – How to make work life balance work

I came across this TED Talk and thought it quite relevant, especially at the beginning of a year, where most people are very focused on change and planning out their lives for the next few months and also trying to instil new year’s resolutions or new habits.

I found this talk extremely impactful and Nigel Marsh’s simple message is extremely inspiring.  (I won’t say why, as i’ll give it away). I found that this talk also aligned itself to mindfulness practises, which is focusing on the present and being mindful of the here and the now. Besides the positive impact this has on our being it also nourishes the soul and makes the ordinary, extraordinary.

The talk is 10 minutes long and will hopefully provide you with some juicy nuggets to implement this year.

Watch it below, or on the TED.com website.