You start each week with the best of intention. You promise your family -- and yourself -- to leave the office "at a reasonable hour" each day. You vow not to let work flood your weekend. It's hard to cut back -- even when you know its what you need to do. Finding work-life balance isn’t easy. What you really need to do is to find your work-life groove.
You know when you're "in the groove." Energy is high. Life moves smoothly. You're doing something easily and well. You're enjoying yourself. Everything -- work, life, business, family -- all works so much better when you're in the groove.
Work-life groove doesn't magically materialize. With a bit of a reboot of your weekly plan, you can find your work-life groove:
1. Implement power hours. With so many distractions throughout the day, it's tough to be as productive as one needs to avoid late night and weekend work. Plus, distractions drain your energy and sidetrack your concentration. When that occurs, everything in your day takes twice as long to complete.
Sprinkle your week with "power hours". Use uninterrupted, prescheduled 60-minute appointments with yourself to undertake important business growth projects.
Imagine what you will achieve in one ceaseless hour! Four ceaseless hours in a week and you’re having dinner with family and seeing the latest movies on weekends.
2. Front load your workweek. Most small business owners come to work on Monday reinvigorated and reenergize. Why not use your fresh energy and focus as a way to get ahead? Isn't that a novel concept?
Address the business growth initiatives that require the greatest amount of effort, energy, and focus. When your week begins to catch you, and your ability to concentrate wanes, your most significant plans are complete.
3. Take frequent breaks throughout your day. Avoid becoming a victim of "decision fatigue". Studies find that each decision made, large or small, drains your energy. You may not feel it physically, but it affects you mentally. With less mental energy to take you through your work-week, more hours are required to get the job done.
Fight against "decision fatigue" and be highly productive with small, frequent breaks throughout the day. In fact, former client, Dr. Lisa Berntsen's recent study, Take Ten Outside, offers an excellent solution to sustainable performance throughout the day. Simply stated, those who take short 10-minute breaks outside "reap the benefits in well-being, productivity, creativity, and reduced stress."
4. Manage your goals -- not your time. Time management is really a tool of the industrial age. You put in X time to produce X. With the explosion of the information age, time management is a technology of the past.
The technology of performance and achievement for the 21st century is goal management. Your goals determine how you organize, plan, and achieve throughout the day. Shift from time to goal management to shed unnecessary tasks and get in the work-life groove.
5. Exercise. Does exercise seem like one more task to squeeze in your already demanding day? A new study reported on the Harvard Business Review Blog Network sheds new light on how exercise helps you find your work-life groove.
"They show that making a commitment to regular exercise can ease feelings of work-life conflict in a couple of ways:
First, and least surprisingly, exercise reduces stress, and lower stress makes the time spent in either realm more productive and enjoyable... A reduction in stress is tantamount to an expansion of time.
Second, we found exercise helping work-home integration via increased self-efficacy. The term refers to the sense that one is capable of taking things on and getting them done -- and although self-efficacy is a matter of self-perception, it has real impact on reality."
Go on, now. Get your work-life groove on!