Examine priorities before it’s too late

  • By Monika Kristofferson Office Efficiency
  • Thursday, July 31, 2014 3:17pm

You need to have a balance between work and life. I’m sure you hear the phrase often, but do you have it?

Managing a business and having a passion for what you do can lead to a slippery slope of workaholism.

If you love what you do, it may not even feel like work at all.

Surely, work is important, but so is a lot of other stuff in our lives. Sadly, sometimes it takes shattering events like Sept. 11 to remind us that there’s more to life and forces us to re-examine our priorities.

Don’t let it take a major illness, divorce or total burnout to make you examine your work-life balance.

To clarify, balance does not require a 50/50 split between work and your personal life.

It merely means you need to strive for a comfortable balance for yourself and your loved ones to provide an income and enjoy life, too. The following four pitfalls may be throwing off your balance.

Instant accessibility. We can easily be “on” 24/7 through text, email, phone, Facebook and LinkedIn messaging, tweets and so on. You can’t turn it all off and keep it off, but you can control “technology blackouts” by unplugging during recreation and family time. You can also influence expectations of others by establishing and communicating what your response times will be.

Unless it’s a true emergency, people can wait a bit for your response.

Social media vortex. Have you ever jumped on a social media site for a few minutes and ended up there for an hour or more sucked into photos and videos? It’s easy to do.

It’s also common to feel overwhelmed by the many sites that you may feel obligated to engage with.

The first step is to create profiles on the sites that make the most sense for your own business.

Be effective on fewer sites versus ineffective on many sites. Perhaps LinkedIn makes sense for you but not Twitter; you get to decide.

The next step is to track your time so you don’t get sucked too far into the social media vortex.

You can set a timer or, if you really want to get serious, use RescueTime.com and receive a report about where you’ve been spending your time on the web.

Working and driving. When you use your cell phone to make a call, check email or respond to a text you are adding to the feeling of overload because you are multitasking.

You are also breaking the law and you are putting yourself and others in danger.

But, that tone is mighty tempting. Aside from the safety aspect, it can cost you money.

I looked up the ticket for distracted driving and it starts at $124 in Washington state.

And, distracted driving isn’t just relegated to using your phone, put away the lip gloss, too.

Activity overload. “No” is a complete sentence. I realize there are some tasks that you don’t get to choose to say no to and you just have to power through them. But, I bet there are many activities and obligations that you do have the power to say yes or no to in your life.

When deciding if you should say yes or not, ask yourself the following questions:

Do I want to do this or do I feel obligated to do this? If you feel obligated, it’s probably the time to say no.

Do I have another activity that takes the same time and energy commitment that I can remove from my schedule?

Is there someone else who would be a better fit for this task?

Am I passionate, excited and have the skills to fill this role?

Am I fully aware of the time commitment involved?

Maintaining a work-life balance isn’t easy, but if you strive for it on a regular basis, you will be healthier, happier and more productive. What will you do today to improve your life balance?

Monika Kristofferson is a professional organizer, productivity consultant and trainer who owns Efficient Organization in Lake Stevens. Reach her at 425-220-8905 or www.EfficientOrganizationNW.com.