Work/Life Balance: Plan Accordingly

Long holiday weekends are a great opportunity to relax, unwind, visit with friends & family, get away for a couple of days, catch up on a few things around the house, maybe catch a movie or essentially from whatever is a break from the daily grind. As well, an extra day added to a weekend can help with business planning, setting the stage for a productive period ahead. For the Independence Day Weekend, it’s even more the case as we’re entering a new quarter and the second half of the year.

A long weekend is the perfect time to reset the clock on work/life balance. It’s a perfect time for some mental health maintenance. It really is a perfect time for new beginnings. Whether an early morning walk or bike ride, without a specific time to get to the office or for a scheduled call or anything work related, the time to focus on a physical activity is open-ended. Better stated, there’s no pressure to rush! A morning or two of the same would help to start a regular routine.

Mental health maintenance is extremely important, and with physical activity added to the mix, increased benefit should be realized. Feeling better about ourselves would go a long way toward maintaining good mental health. (I know, I need to practice what I preach and will commit to making it happen this weekend.) More importantly, a clear, calm mind coupled with a strong sense of accomplishment further fortifies our mental health.

Of course, it would be very difficult to leave our smart phones at home, but if we do bring them, we should only do so to be able to listen to music, podcasts, etc. We should plan on having developed a few play lists, making sure to diversify our music so we may listen to what may be most appropriate for the moment. It is imperative that voice mail and texts be ignored while focusing on this personal time. Distractions must be avoided, or at the very least, minimized.

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Mixing in “productive” relaxation would add the work component to work life balance. Reading about our favorite business topics, motivational & inspirational quotes, and ways to succeed are relaxing. So is reflecting about the same. Mostly positive thoughts come to mind. It is very calming. A clear mind would definitely help provide a different perspective or insight. Meaning – we’ll most likely see things differently with a clear mind.

Thoughts about work are going to occur. There’s no doubt. However, these thoughts typically become foundational components of planning. We must make note of our thoughts – writing them down, recording them. These thoughts should be reflected upon as we shift our focus – from life balance to work balance, and ultimately to work/life balance.

When shifting to work mode, it’s imperative we do so in small blocks of time. As it’s the weekend, we have the luxury of working without the interruptions of email and text messages. We must take advantage of that but must do so without being overwhelmed by the work itself. Breaking up our time into small sessions will help ensure we won’t be overwhelmed while also ensuring we get things done while still having time for rest and relaxation – the life balance part of the yin-yang of work/life balance.

Look, there’s no right or wrong way to achieve and maintain work/life balance, and especially on weekends. So, it will take us to plan for the same. Ahead of the weekend, write down what you’d like to achieve on both sides – work & life. I don’t suggest actually scheduling to accomplish each thing on your list. I do, however recommend writing things down as our goals for the weekend. Don’t forget to include Monday evening as preparation for the week ahead.

Best-selling author and motivational speaker, Harvey Mackay shared an article yesterday (The Best Time to Start Anew is Now) that I thought was very timely. I’ve shared the same with my thoughts as follows:

“Despite the start of a long holiday weekend, tomorrow is the start of a new quarter. Can you afford to wait until returning from the holiday weekend on Tuesday before starting to think about your efforts for Q3? I’d suggest taking some time over the next few days to re-evaluate your prior efforts, revenues, profitability, and changes that are needed to make for a successful Q3. Develop an action plan so you can hit the ground running while others take a few more days to even begin to move forward.” 

I’m very passionate about work/life balance and as such, I’m always seeking out information and articles on the subject. Yesterday, in addition to the article referenced above, I also found this quote by Jack Welch of GE fame. I’ve read his book, Jack: Straight from the Gut, which I had found to be very interesting and informative. I believe his philosophies to be somewhat out of the norm at times – definitely different from other leaders of the day. So, it was no surprise to read his thoughts on work/life balance. I’d love to learn what you think of his quote below!

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I’d like to leave you with one more thought… If you’re struggling to achieve work-life balance, you’re not alone. Understand how to better manage your time, detach from work and care for yourself. Learn more in this article from the Mayo Clinic, Work-life balance: Tips to reclaim control

Have a great day and holiday weekend. Make it happen. Make it count.