January is typically the month when we focus on our visions, goals, business plans and a renewed commitment to successful and healthy life; however, without a few behavioral changes, your good intentions will fall prey to the same old routine in no time. Life will become frazzled, you will revert to "auto-pilot," and chaos will take the place of work-life balance.
Now is the time to learn some life-changing tips, before life gets out of hand in a few months, with hectic days that leave you wondering who turned up the speed on the rat race that you can't escape.
Below are five simple focus rules to finding the balance you need when you are stressed and overworked. By following these five rules, you will have greater success, lower stress, and more time to enjoy life along the way.
1. Fill your own cup first, and then give away what flows over to the saucer.
You must learn to look out for yourself first by engaging in self-care daily. A healthy body will give you the energy you need to accomplish your goals, a healthy mind will keep you sharp and focused and a healthy spiritual life will provide wisdom and direction. Proper nourishment in each of these areas will provide abundant energy to share in your personal and professional life. You cannot give away what you don't have, so make sure you are filled to overflow.
2. Overcome perfectionism.
Perfectionism can be the secret to your success, or the saboteur of your sanity. It can be a healthy motivator to achieve more, produce higher quality work and approach every project with meticulous planning. But when it becomes an obsession, it can wreak havoc on your personal and professional life, causing stress, exhaustion and disappointment and unnecessary worry in the unrealistic expectations that you set for yourself.
If you suffer from perfectionism, here are a few strategies to help you throw off that heavy weight.
- Perfect is the enemy of great. Nothing will ever be perfect! So quit wasting your valuable time and energy trying to reach an unattainable goal. Embrace "good is good enough," and then move on.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. You were born with a unique set of gifts and skills that make you, you. There is no one like you! Likewise, you are not like anyone else, so quit wishing you could be like them! That only leads to feeling inferior and small. Appreciate yourself and focus on what you have accomplished rather than what everyone else is doing.
- Set your expectations on human standards. You are human, and you are expected to perform at human levels, not super-human. Setting the bar at unrealistic levels will certainly set you up for failure, so set your sights on goals that motivate you, not frustrate you. Don't try to be Wonder Woman—she doesn't exist!
3. Control your calendar.
If you remain focused on your purpose, priorities and goals as you set your schedule, your days will be more productive and satisfying. If you get off-track and let others distract you, you will reach the end of each day frustrated and unproductive. See how much white space you can leave on your daily planner, not how much you can cover up. Manage your calendar, don’t let it manage you.
It is essential that you prioritize your daily activities. Your days will be much more productive and efficient if you work on the most important tasks first every day, before getting bogged down with emails! Beware of the distractions that drain your productivity like Facebook and other social media.
4. Unleash the power of saying "No!"
Remember that you have choices, not obligations. There is great freedom in saying "No," so do it often! Choose the things that give you energy and support your goals. Focus on the things that are truly important, and don't feel guilty about being protective of your time. Remember, when you say no to one thing, your time will be freed up to say yes to the things you really want to do.
"No" is a complete sentence! You don't have to offer a long explanation for declining an offer. Or just say, "That doesn't work for me right now," and move on.
5. Separate your work-life and personal life with clear boundaries.
Set a clear schedule for your day, work diligently, and then quit when the time is up. Few projects require you to spend your nights and weekends away from your personal life. Spend more time doing the things you love, and know that your work is a means to achieving a great life, not the other way around. If your career takes you to an office, then breathe deeply when you arrive home and be "present" with everyone who is there. Unwind and enjoy visiting about your day instead of continuing it in your study or at the kitchen table.
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