You are commuting on freeways that are getting more congested and now, icy. Your cell phone continues to ring and interprets your day and maybe, your night. You work through lunch as a time saver. You were gone for two days and have numerous emails waiting for you. You have a dinner meeting, but it means you will miss your daughter’s basketball game. Can you relate?
These auxiliary stresses that we might encounter can add chaos to our daily routine and deplete our energy, our patience, our attitude, our disposition, and our zest to be productive at work. The negative variables that we experience compete and upset the work/life balance we strive to have.
Balance, that sense of everything is going well in our life gets lopsided or tipsy. As kid, I loved to play a game called Tip-It. The object of the game was to keep a little plastic man balancing on top of a thin pole as plastics disks were added to disturb his equilibrium. It was nerve wracking and provided fun lessons in physics, a steady hand, and risk. The game reminds me of our lives where our work/life balance tips back and forth and sometimes, topples. The result? Stress shows up as irritability, fatigue, sleeplessness, anxiety, depression, overeating… you name it, something gives.
How can we cope with the busyness or chaos that upsets the scale of work/life balance? Try this:
- Notice – Begin your day with a log of what gets in the way as prepare for work, commute, to work, complete your work day, or return home. The log does not have to be detailed, just jot down the distractions, interferences, upsets, or mishaps that you encountered. Is the busyness a frequent, occasional, or rare event for you? Do you experience more busyness in the morning, afternoon, or evening?
- Sort – Look at your list and categorize the busyness that causes imbalance. Using a scale of 1 to 3, see how much weight was added to you scale of work/life balance and note the frequency of the occurrence.
- I can handle this, no big deal.
- I can feel a sinking feeling, my body is tensing up, and I am upset.
- It is hard to breathe, my palms are sweaty, I feel numb/dizzy, that feeling of helplessness or rage is sweeping over me.
- Patterns – How did you score? Do you have more 1’s, 2’s or 3’s? How often do the events occur in your day? What time of day do you experience the busyness? What do the patterns tell you?
- Process – What can you do to eliminate or turn around an event or the busyness that does not serve you or your company? What are you willing to do about it? Play with some options.
- Action Plan – What’s next for you? More busyness or more business? What can you adjust or eliminate to allow you to control your day and live with intention and choice?
Here are a few tips for you to consider beginning your day with the intention of striving for balance:
- Make a plan to physically and emotionally stay centered and focused to hold the balance for the day.
- Get grounded with your morning. Maybe it’s going to the gym, a run or just stretching.
- Have a cup of coffee or tea, play with the dog, or glance at the newspaper just for fun.
- Try early morning mediation, reading, or journaling.
- Listen to a CD for relaxation or a book on your way to work. Many enjoy their favorite radio station for a good laugh or to feel informed.
- Breathe…inhale, hold for the count of 10 and exhale through your mouth. Repeat 3 times. Inhale calming, fresh air, and focus on the intention to succeed. Release the stress with the deep exhale and expel the nervousness and clutter that traps the mind, body, and soul.