philosophy, if you will, insinuates to some degree that there is no overlap and that parameters of time and geography dictate level of involvement in your career. Now you are telling yourself that a focus on work can only occur between the hours of 9am and 5pm on weekdays. Additionally, once you are off the premise of your office building you no longer permit yourself to work. The truth is, there is no sure-fire way of establishing a stable and thriving lifestyle. All you can do is make deliberate decisions that cater to and act as a potential catalyst to your end goal. The impulse to counteract the stresses of career with excessive self-preservation and alleviation seems to be a way to justify outlandish decisions.
Yes, it’s obvious that having work to do and a career to maintain as the sole focus in a person’s life is excessive and draining. Yes, it’s true that a person must be fulfilled in areas related to work as well as outside of work. Yes, everyone has items they need to get done and planning is necessary. But also YES, you can make real time decisions about engaging in work-related conversations while still maintaining balance. It is unrealistic to think that the magical on/off switch you are functioning to is a solid paradigm for your life. There is no reason to not check your email on vacation if you want to. The real aim should be to have clear intent in what you do. Andres Rodriguez, Director of Client Accounts at Protis Global, asserts that “it’s not work life balance; it’s just life. You should choose to be ‘all in on life’ all the time, whether it’s your personal time or work time. Removing the barriers between the two allows you to focus on making progress and stop wasting precious time worrying about balance.”
As a swap out for the outdated idea of “work life balance” we offer you the “Get Your Shit Done Mentality.” Essentially, what do you need to accomplish? What do you need to do to ensure that whatever that is gets done at the level you require? These are your nonnegotiables. Do all of these nonnegotiables first. After you are done with everything you need to do, do what you want to do. Here are 5 bits of advice to help you get things done:
COME TO TERMS WITH REALITY.
The first step to this revolutionary method is to get a clear picture of what each individual task is. There are actual conflicts and then there are conflicts that a person only believes are real that can be quite simply mitigated. People have emotional ties to many of the things they do and allow themselves to be overwhelmed by the cloud of responsibilities looming over their week/month/etc. Understand what each duty is and what function this duty serves to accomplishing your ultimate objectives.
DEGREE OF URGENCY.
Secondly, organize each of the tasks you have now designated as necessary based on its degree of urgency. Every item on your list needs be addressed; however, not everything needs to get done right now. Some tasks are extremely time sensitive and need to be handled NOW. The next iteration of tasks are likely time sensitive tasks but not with the severity as the NOW tasks so they are placed in the SOON category. The last iteration is the LATER level. These items on the LATER list are the least time-sensitive and do not have as intense of a point of expiry as items on the two previous lists.
ORDER OF IMPORTANCE.
Once you know your timeframe for each task, take your new categories and figure out, within each category, what is the most important to do. Do what is most important first and continue down your list of tasks accordingly. Similar to how each task does not require the same degree of urgency, not every task is as important and crucial as the other. It is important to prioritize your tasks based on their order of importance.
There are tasks which take an excessive amount of involvement and others that don’t take as much effort to accomplish. Make sure you are clear on how much focus you must allocate to a task before you do it. Knowing exactly what you’re getting yourself into allows time to prepare and mitigates the risk of spreading yourself too thin or putting yourself in a situation where, even if you have every intention of getting something done, you get distracted or pulled in another direction. It is crucial to have everything in its place and a place for everything in order to GET YOUR SHIT DONE.
Give your undivided attention to the task at hand. This step may be one of the most important to the strategy, but it’s also the hardest to take seriously because it’s not a tactical procedure. In order to give 100%, you can’t have 10% of yourself focused on the next step. This is slightly easier to do once you have sifted through your tasks completely and have a time and place for everything to happen. It’s hard for anyone to fully disconnect, but it is crucial to productivity. Efficiency with compromised quality is not effective or efficient at all. This step is a mindset. Ultimately, be scrupulous about doing what you need to do now, now.
Lastly, find out what it takes for you to be revitalized. Similar to being present, if you are burnt out there is no way for you to whole-heartedly confirm that you have done the best you can at completing a task because you, yourself, are whittling away from exhaustion and no longer operating at 100%. Sleep, meditation, reading, sports, vacation, etc. can all act to reinvigorate you. Be able to recognize when it is time for you to replenish your physical, emotional, and mental vitality and do it.
All in all, the intent is not to merely balance work with life. They aren’t contrasting factors. Just like you would integrate anything else into your life, the intent is to mesh work into your life in a manner that is as close to seamless as possible yet not consuming. The aim is to gain momentum and to keep moving forward. The goal is not balance. The goal is progress.