4 Steps to Customize Your Life
The start of a new year is the perfect time to reflect on life and how you are living it. The most content women I’ve met actively define how they want their work to fit into their lives.
For some of you, integrating work into life sounds like a luxury you cannot afford. But, let’s think about it for a minute… In 2015, weren’t you already balancing many different commitments and values at once?
It feels like everything needs attention and care: family work, friends, home, community and let’s not forget, you. While you likely can’t make those responsibilities go away, perhaps you can define them in a different way. Here’s how:
1. Don’t let any other woman’s lifestyle bully yours.
You and only you know what the best priorities and schedule are for you. There are countless ways to manage a work/life integration, and yours should be tailored to your needs and values. You are not in competition with any other women, so don’t compare yourself to what your friends and family members do, or don’t do.
You might even take a look at what the men around you are doing, or better yet, what they are not doing.
2. Rank your priorities.
Talk this through with a trusted friend, mentor and/or your spouse. This is your first step towards customizing your life, and once you have the priorities ranked, you start to mold your schedule around them. Have your planning partner help you assess your needs by answering questions like:
- What are my most important goals and values for the year?
- How, when, and where do I work best?
- From my top two priorities, what events or commitments do I see as non-negotiable?
- How flexible can I be about my daily and weekly scheduling, while staying focused?
3. Ask your manager and family if you can make some adjustments.
Have the courage to present different ways of getting things done. These could be to your schedule or the tasks you do. You might be surprised what’s possible.
4. Start saying NO.
Now that you’re creating a schedule that works for you, start saying firm “no’s” to whatever is not a part of your priorities and the schedule you’ve created from that list. You’ve made strategic, thoughtful decisions about how you can optimize your time, so now, simplify. Say no to the things that don’t fit with your priorities and goals. There’s no need to need to provide a long explanation or rationale – a simple no will do.
When you’re finding it difficult to say no to something, turn to your weekly plan as a kind of third-party for the authority to stay on track. Decline by saying something like, “That does not fall in line with my current priorities,” or “I’m committed to focus on ______ instead right now.”
Work/life integration is challenging at any age, career stage or business. We’d love to hear how you’re customizing your professional and personal please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your tips, strategies or story.