Few executives would argue that 2010 was a frantically busy year. I’ve spoken to A LOT of people who are really unsatisfied with the frenetic pace of their lives and worry that there is no end in sight to this changing without taking some drastic steps. So here are a few suggestions I’ve picked up: Achieving balance is not a one size fits all strategy. It is somewhat like appreciating art – a matter of taste.
Marcia Hickman, Director of Finance at Owens Corning and I spoke recently about this topic. She is one of the satisfied executives I found who is feeling clear about what takes for her to keep all the plates spinning, at least more often than not. Here are some of her thoughts:
Guts: “Have the guts to make some tough choices. No one is going to help you find the right balance better than you. This is not a solution to expect you will get help from at work, especially from your boss,” says Marcia. Marcia offers the following tips: “Say no or not now to things you can’t deliver on, challenge deadlines that are self created, have the courage to tell others you are coming in late so you can work out a few mornings, or that you are not willing to work through your lunch hour so you can give yourself a thinking break.”
Fear: “If I let my record keeping slip at home, bills won’t get paid. This starts a vicious cycle that usually motivates me to make the time to keep up with our books.” I have similar tasks at work that are just non-negotiable, I make sure I get them done no matter what, and on time because so many other things depend on them.”
Joy: “Have something you love to do that doesn’t have anything to do with work and invest in it, ideally with someone you like to spend time with.” Marcia has horses that not only does she love to ride, but she has invested in their care and keeping of. “It’s not easy squeezing in 2 rides a week, but when I’m not traveling, I make sure my daughter and I get to the stable so we can enjoy our horses and time with each other. Having made the investment in me, keeps this fun on my non-negotiable list.”
Non-negotiable means just that to Marcia, not willing to budge on keeping what’s important to her on the front burner. What are you non-negotiables and are you making them your priority?
For another look at prioritization, check out this blog post on how to manage your to-do list one post it note at a time: http://the99percent.com/tips/6945/If-It-Wont-Fit-On-A-Post-It-It-Wont-Fit-In-Your-Day
We are always looking for sanity strategies that really work in today’s challenging, fast paced world of work. Let us know if you have some ideas to share.
Written by Diane Ring
Executive Coach and Head of Environment & Energy Practice