5 Ways to a More Harmonious Life
These are some questions which come up regularly when I work with clients. “How can I find more balance in my life? I need to have more balance or I am going to lose it!” They often ask, “How do you do it? How do you find balance while you’re growing your business?” For those who know me well, they say, “Heather, you have three young children, a husband, you volunteer, you run three times a week – how the heck do you find time to run your business?” Wow! Even writing that reminds me of how crazy life gets!
The answer is simple. I actually 1. Schedule Everything into my day-planner. Yes, everything – from my clients, to business meetings, to my own workshops, to business networking events, my children’s activities at school, extra-curricular activities, family outings – you name it, it’s in my day-planner. It keeps things simple. I don’t miss meetings or activities – it just works!
I have also learned to check myself by asking, “Okay, who am I kidding?” I am learning, the art of saying “no.”
- The Art of Saying “NO”. Saying no though, is more about “not now”. It’s not that I don’t want to do something or that I don’t want to see someone or that I don’t want to attend a particular networking event. It’s about deciding what is possible; what can wait; and/or what I must actually have to say ‘no’ to. It’s not that those people, events or things are less important, it’s more about putting family first (or god forbid), getting some much needed rest or some “you-time”, that is MOREimportant in that moment – it’s about practicing self-love and self-care.
- Practicing Self-care. Yes self-care. I ask my clients, “What is most important to you?” They say, “Well, my business or career and my clients or customers are important, but my family is MOST important.” To that, I may respond with, “What about you? Where are you on the scale of importance? Without you, there is no business or clients.”
Practicing self-care is critical! It is not selfish, by the way. In fact, in my opinion, it is as important as exercise, drinking water, eating healthy and BREATHING! How many of you (myself included) forget to breathe sometimes? How many of you reading this right now, sometimes forget to eat? Hours go by and you’re still sitting at the computer or running around, and you forget to eat and take in fluids. By the way, if you are reading this and you haven’t eaten or had water in a few hours, do that now – this blog post will still be here when you get back!
The irony in all of this, is that the very things that we feel are important or is preached to us as BEING important for survival, (food, exercise, water and air), are the very things we put off. In fact, in doing so, we are moving into a state of imbalance every day. This can create all kinds of health issues. Our bodies and brains are starved for nutrients and water, which can cause us to become agitated, lose focus and ultimately become far less productive than if we take frequent, short breaks.
- Work-Life Balance!Recently, I spoke on this very topic at a Women’s Wellness Conference. It was just two years ago that I made the biggest career change of my life – I resigned from my dream job. Why, you ask? I was forgetting to breathe; I was neglecting my family with all of the travel; I wasn’t eating properly, I wasn’t exercising. My doctor informed me, when I saw him for yet another respiratory infection in December 2013, that my asthma had worsened, so much so, that he needed to put me on a Steroid puffer, to better manage it. You want to know something though? It wasn’t the puffer that I needed. What I really needed and wanted, was space, freedom and flexibility to live and to be with my family – I needed more work-life balance. You know how I know this? I have not used that Steroid puffer since April 2014!
- Set Clear Expectationswith everyone around you. The last layer is to set clear expectations. This includes your spouse/partner, your children, your friends and extended family, colleagues at work or business associates and clients. Most people respect your expectations and boundaries; they just want to know that they can count on you, or in the business world, they just want a response with 24-48 hours. My husband and I and our children have a very solid communication base, sitting down for dinner together as a family, most nights. We are in contact throughout the day as well – keeping current with comings and goings.
In business, something that I am an advocate for, is a Service Level Agreement (SLA) set up on my voice-mail system. In my voice-mail message, I specify the time-frame in which one can expect to have response from me. As business owners or in the world of business, we spend a great deal of our time away from our desks, networking, drumming up new business, preparing for meetings and meeting with clients. It is so important to set clear expectations and let others know when they may expect to hear from you.
Here’s hoping that this story will enable you to have a more favourable, and fulfilling life, into which you will also be able to weave your career, or grow your business, in harmony with you and your loved ones. Namaste.
Owner at Spark Your Vitality