5 February 2013

Are You Wearing Too Many Hats?

We constantly hear the work/life balance drum being beaten these days. Do you sometimes wonder if you’ll ever stumble across that mystical Holy Grail of perfect life balance? Or does it seem like something that only happens for others?

If life is too busy, maybe it’s time to step back and evaluate. Are you trying to fit too much into every day, every week? How many hats are you wearing?

How many roles are you currently committed to?

Take a minute and write down all the roles you juggle – they might include parent, adult child of aging parents, grandparent, sibling, friend, employee or employer, taxi service to various child-based activities, contributor to voluntary organisations, church or community group member, sports activities, ….. How many categories do you have? And – have you put ‘self’ in there?

Around the world I’m now hearing the phrase ‘energy management’ as opposed to ‘time management’. Consider those multi-layered hats you wear – can you grade each on an energy ratio? When do you experience your highest energy? What lights you up? And what drains you? Most of our close relationships are non-negotiable (sorry, you can’t return that messy 12 year old!), but what about some of the more peripheral ones? Do you find yourself reluctantly putting in ‘time at mill’ on some of those committees or activities? Does the family feel stretched like a sick rubber band as you or your partner run children to endless classes and events, leaving no time for relaxing? Do they really need to belong to everything?

Here’s the key – minimise, simplify, cut back – until you feel in control. There are no prizes for being a martyr. If we try to do everything we’ll end up doing nothing properly. We’ll also burn out, be snappy, poor company, tired parents and lovers, and less-than-effective workers.

Apart from minimising your involvements and paring back to a more simple life, you might like the following strategy.

Every six weeks have a work-free weekend

The temptation is, when you’re learning a new job or carrying a very heavy schedule, to just keep going. After all, we can catch up on evenings and weekends, can’t we?

However, and probably just as well, our bodies were never designed to run non-stop. Think of your body as a rubber band. If it’s at stretch all the time it will snap much more quickly than when pressure is released from time to time.

It was explained to me this way by a nutritionist.

‘It all relates to stress,’ she said. ‘If you think of all the events in your life as individual stress bricks (positive as well as negative), every time you experience a stressful situation or are particularly busy you’re adding another brick to the stress wall around yourself. If you just keep going the wall has nowhere to go but up. Many of the people who live this way spend the first part of their annual holidays (if they take them) exhausted and often sick.

‘The best way to keep the stress wall at a healthy level – enough to keep you vibrant and alert – is to take a complete break of a few days about every six weeks. This knocks some of the bricks down and keeps the wall always at a manageable height. On this ‘do nothing’ weekend don’t take your computer with you, don’t take ‘catch up’ work, and get someone else to take any work-related calls or emails.’





Are your days too short, workload too large and work-life balance a pipe dream?

Take a look at these Books, E-books, CDs/Teleseminars, Online Courses/Webinars and Tools. They provide practical, effective and easy to implement ways for you to free up your time, improve your productivity and reduce stress from overload.



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