By Loretta McNary
Note: We welcome Loretta McNary to desotocountynews.com as a Lifestyles contributor to our website and social media channels. You will be seeing her columns on a weekly basis here on the website and be sure to catch “The Loretta McNary Show” on her channels, including YouTube, Facebook, her website, and others.
We have all heard it before, perfectly balancing work and home is a never-ending battle. This proverbial hamster wheel for adults is dizzying at best. Trying to achieve unrealistic work demands, cooking healthy meals, cleaning, staying organized and spending quality time with loved ones can be overwhelming. It’s like we check one thing off the To-Do List and 5 more appear. Before you know it; the To Do List is out of control and so is our anxiety. Yet, according to social media, some people seem to have a magic wand when it comes to work life balance.
Whatever the case, there is hope. Based on my research and the results of trying multiple ways to balance everything and retain a semblance of peace and contentment, here are my 8 Steps to creating a realistic harmonious work home and self-care balance.
Bonus Step: Let’s Redefine What Balance Looks Like
Balance is relative. It will look and feel differently to each person. For some people the balance is 40% Work, 40% Home and 20% Self-care. For someone else it could be 35% Work, 50% Home 15% entertainment and self-care-ZERO.
Based on years of trial and error, balance in my life looks like, being intentional with every encounter and being present in the moments. When I am working, I am totally working, with the understanding that my faith and family are first and foremost. When I am with my family, I am not working. I have proclaimed Sundays as my sabbath. I am not doing anything that looks or feels like working. And it is my day for attending Church in person or online, relaxing, watching movies, reading a book and meditation.
Here are 8 steps to assist you in creating harmony in your pursuit of work life balance. I have also included my personal book recommendations for each of the steps that have been instrumental in developing my work life balance blueprint:
Step 1 Adopting Time as Your Collaborator
Book Recommendation: Time Management by Brian Tracey
Prioritize on Purpose:
- Identify your most important daily and weekly tasks and goals.
- Prioritize the tasks and goals in the order of significance.
- Use a planner or calendar to organize your schedule to allocate dedicated time for each task, if it is not completed add it to the next day’s schedule. Remember to not overload your daily list.
Master the Art of Time Blocks:
- Divide your day into time blocks dedicated to tasks and projects.
- Allocate time to accomplish each block, without distractions.
- Organize your daily schedule to include travel time, breaks, and planning time. Stick to the schedule. Check the schedule each time to prevent overbooking.
Optimize and Adapt:
- Review regularly and refine your time management strategies.
- Identify areas for improvement and implement the needed adjustments.
- Embrace new tools and technologies that align with your time management goals.
Step 2 Balancing Boundaries at Work and Home:
Book Recommendation: Boundaries for Leaders by Dr. Henry Cloud
Identify Your Boundaries
- Define clear boundaries and expectations.
- Conduct a time audit, to identify time-wasting activities and redundancies
Protect Your Boundaries
- Be consistent in enforcing your boundaries
- Communicate your boundaries with respect and assertiveness.
Step 3 Choosing Peace to Remain Calm in Chaos
Book Recommendation: The Untethered Soul by Michael J Singer
Dedicate Daily Moments
- Consistently make time for moments of mindfulness, prayer and meditation.
Create a Soothing Space
- Create a serene space conducive to deep contemplation and inner peace
- Cultivate an attitude of “being” present and aware in each moment, drawing insight from the from various practitioners of peace and tranquility.
Spend Time Outdoors
- Connect with nature. Being outdoors can foster a sense of calmness and connection. Finding inspiration in the nature around us is fortifying.
I always immensely enjoy spending time on the beach, near a river or a lake. It is something about being around large bodies of water that completely calms my soul and gives me a profound sense of peace.
Additionally, what really works best for me and is very impactful is prayer and reading scriptures on peace. My favorite is 2 Thessalonians 5:23. “Now may the God of peace himself give you His peace at all times and in every situation.”
Step 4 Dream Again, Embrace Failure
Book Recommendation: Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Melissa Gilbert
Remember Your Dreams and Be Curious
- Allow yourself to dream again. Be curious and open to new adventures and ideas.
- Explore different interests, especially those that seem unrelated to your current hobbies.
- Engage in activities that spark your creativity and imagination.
Cultivate a “Grow” Mindset
- Believe in your ability to adapt, learn, and grow.
- Embrace failure and setbacks as opportunities to do things differently. Failure is proof that you tried something new.
- View obstacles as a chance to discover new ways of succeeding and growing,
Take Calculate Risks
- Set goals that align with your dreams and your passion.
- Break down large goals by taking manageable steps of action.
- Be brave. Be consistent and deliberate each day to reach your dreams and don’t be afraid to adjust your course of action along the way when necessary.
Step 5 Elevate Kindness in Every Encounter
Book Recommendation: The Kindness Diaries by Leon Logothetis
- Always choose to be kind every chance and every encounter.
- Regularly engage in small acts of kindness each day.
- Offer genuine compliments, help a stranger in need or hold the door open for others.
- Engage actively in conversations listening without judging and offering an opinion unless asked.
- Endeavor to understand other people’s perspectives and emotions.
- Extend compassion and support where needed.
- Take a moment to imagine yourself in the shoes of a person in need, consider how they feel and what essentials are required to improve their circumstance. This practice will lead to a greater understanding and sensitivity. And provide insight on how to help them.
Step 6 Generate a Mindset of Gratitude
Book Recommendation: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
Create a Gratitude Journal
- Generate a habit of gratitude through daily reflection and writing them down.
- Develop a mindset of gratitude.
Practice Being Grateful
- Regardless of circumstances, count and recite 5 things you are grateful for when feeling down.
- Ground yourself in the present moment to foster growth.
- Gradually integrate practicing gratefulness into your daily routine.
Step 7 Intentional Love for Family and Friends
Book Recommendation: The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman
- Identify the unique needs and love languages of your family and friends.
- Adapt your conversations, care and expectations to their individual needs.
Individualize Quality Time
- Foster open and honest communication to build stronger relationships.
- Involve each participant in planning family activities.
- Choose activities that they enjoy based on their feedback.
Be Spontaneous and Creative
- Implement a supportive and nurturing environment that respects everyone’s boundaries and personality.
- Host weekly and or biweekly family meetings to discuss various topics i.e., school, goals, relationships, dreams, challenges, vacation and holiday plans, work obligations etc.
- Normalize conversations regarding family history, health, and finances.
Step 8 Ensuring Contentment Through Self-Care
Book recommendation: The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
Create Boundaries for Self-care
- Establish a self-care routine that includes physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional well-being.
- Time-block several self-care appointments on your calendar each month.
- Practice peace and gratitude to cultivate a sense of calmness.
- Set boundaries to protect your time, energy, and mental health.
- Communicate openly and honestly with loved ones regarding the importance of self-care.
- Understand and respect the boundaries of others and encourage others to respect your boundaries.
- Prioritize quality time, experiences, and adventures with yourself. Make time for meaningful connections.
As you can see from the 8 Steps, experiencing Harmony in Work Life Balance is possible. And these steps can help us have peace, joy, fulfillment, and happiness in our everyday life. Of course, this is a not a one size fits all magic wand. It takes commitment, dedication and tenacity to achieve this level of euphoria.
If you are up for the challenge, and open to experimenting with all or a few of the steps listed above, let me know your results by sharing your comments online. Perhaps you have your own tried and true steps that have worked for you. If so, please feel free to post them as well.
Until the next article, “Think Positive, Dream Big Dreams and Help Someone Along the Way”.