Make time for play
If your resolutions for 2013 include achieving a better work-life balance, your calendar holds the key to your success.
But to pull off your goals, you're going to need to turn the traditional way of thinking upside down.
Most people schedule their work commitments on their calendars and squeeze in family, friends and fun around it. Instead, schedule your work around your personal life, say Michelle Villalobos and Jessica Kizorek, speakers, personal branding consultants and co-creators of Make Them Beg, a professional self-development program. For example, they suggest you block out time for the gym, reading for pleasure, coaching your kid, and date night. Even a person with almost no flexibility in his or her work schedule can block out 15 minutes for a walk rather than eating lunch at their desks.
“You have to plan for play. Otherwise, work expands and there's no time for play,” Kizorek said. Today, it's easy to stay a little later at the office or work through lunch because there's always more to do. Using your calendar effectively can help you with boundaries.
Villalobos says once you put “play” into your schedule, it helps to get people who are important in your life to keep you committed. For example, she blocks out three hours twice a week on her calendar to paint. She has asked her boyfriend to help her stick to that schedule.
Realistically, there will be times when you have to reschedule a fun activity because of work demands. “At least you know what you missed so if you don't do it, you move it to another day,” Villalobos said.
If you're in a relationship, experts advise letting your partner participate in creating your calendar. A friend of mine sends his spouse an electronic invite to his poker night signaling that she has the night free to schedule her own fun activity.
Scheduling everything may seem rigid. “That's the opposite,” Villalobos said. “By putting things on your calendar, you can focus on what you need to do in the moment. It allows you to be far more present.”
Sharon Teitelbaum, a Boston-based work-life coach, says to calendar all important life events, including birthdays. It may sound like common sense to calendar your son's birthday, but people forget and schedule business travel, she has found. She advises putting work events in your calendar as far in advance as possible. “You don't want to agree to host a dinner party the weekend before a work retreat.”
For many busy people, the traditional way of scheduling needs to change from calendaring a due date to creating a timeline. If you have a big project you need to have completed by Feb. 15, Teitelbaum suggests breaking it into weekly tasks leading up to that date. “People vastly underestimate how long things take and the number of interruptions they have to contend with,” she says.
Julie Morgenstern, who created the Balanced Life Planner for Levenger, an office products company, says that even on a daily basis people don't plan realistically. “By bravely recognizing the limits of each day and how long each to-do on your list will take, we can see in advance what will or won't fit into our calendar, and become more strategic,” she said.
Cindy Krischer Goodman is CEO of BalanceGal LLC. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Farmers fear 2nd attack of bird flu
- Toyota to invest $50M in driverless technology with Stanford, MIT partnership
- Bank of New York Mellon computer glitch examined for harm to investors
- Voice-assist technology gets big push toward mainstream vehicles
- U.S. adds 173,000 jobs in August, dropping unemployment rate to 5.1 percent
- Jobs report fails to provide clarity to investors
- Alcoa putting $60M into Upper Burrell tech center expansion
- Is safety impaired when braking makes car shake?
- Save big money with comparable model of vehicle
- Indian SUV maker Mahindra to debut electric scooter in U.S.
- Trimmer Pilot belies more room, power