Life and Spiritual Coaching

September 8, 2008

Staying focused – part of Life/Work Balance

Filed under: Life Balance — by Donna Ritter @ 6:12 pm
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The world we live in is extremely busy. Every morning, I have over a hundred emails in my inbox. If I were to carefully go through all of that email the first thing in the morning, I’d end up being bushed before the day began! Something I learned early on in my career was that I needed to stay focused on the most important tasks and screen my time working on non-essential things. This includes a lot of the email that most of us receive. I also learned to value my work life balance. I have a family to spend time with and being a workaholic was not on my priority list!
I put several practices into place to ensure that my life stays balanced. First was to establish clear working hours and stick to them! Another was to clear my desk every afternoon and write down my most important tasks for the next day before I left. That way when I came in the next morning I had a starting point for the day that followed.
Some of the habits I had to change were saying “yes” to every request. I classified requests for my time as vital, important or normal. I also let everyone I worked with know that I had 2 scheduled times to respond to email and phone calls – and that I’d be screening the requests. If it was an emergency, they needed to let me know that. If not, I classified the request in one of the 3 buckets I just mentioned.
Another thing I needed to do was delegate things to others who were more than capable of completing the request. I had to let go of my desire to “do” everything myself. I have always made sure to talk to anyone I worked for to find out what were the most important things to them and to let them know how that they could get my immediate attention if need be.
I also gave up on the idea of multi-tasking being a great solution. Although I thought I did it well, in reality it scattered my thoughts and increased the length of my work day. I gave up on being a perfectionist. They amount of time I spent polishing something was not always productive.
An important part of staying focused is to keep track of your time in your daily schedule to see how much time plan to spend on each task. Then next to each task, write an ROI value. When you look over this list of tasks you can fine tune your ability to prioritize your work to make sure you are putting your time towards the most valuable tasks.

When I put these practices in place for myself, I found is that I was more relaxed, got more things done and left work at a reasonable hour.

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