The Easy Way to Find Time for Everything You Want to Do

Follow the Tweak It strategy to make small, simple steps for a better 'work/life fit'

by Cali Williams Yost • Next Avenue
work life balance image
Photograph: Shutterstock.com

In today’s fragile economy, how can you make time for the things that matter most without risking your job or alienating the people important to you?

My two-word answer: “Tweak it.”

By “Tweak it,” I mean you should deliberately harness the kind of small, everyday actions that we often overlook or dismiss as unimportant. In other words, it’s time to sweat the small stuff. The goal is a "work and life fit," not necessarily “balance.” (I’ve devoted my work/life consulting practice to this idea, and just wrote Tweak It: Make What Matters to You Happen Every Day. I also have a website with practical “Tweak It” tips.)
 
The Big Benefits if You ‘Tweak It’

By capturing the power of intentional choices regarding your career, relationships, caregiving duties, personal finances and home, you’re more likely to:

  • Keep your job and love your life.
  • Build a foundation of well-being and order.
  • Master technology to achieve your goals.

The Importance of Setting Boundaries

Recent research confirms what I’ve discovered over the five years I’ve been teaching people how to "tweak it:" If you make choices with a complete picture of what’s happening on and off the job, reflect regularly on what you want personally and professionally and take consistent, small actions, you’ll be rewarded with a heightened sense of well-being and order.

Studying how 60 Episcopal priests managed the inevitable conflicts that arose between their work and lives, Professors Glen E. Kriener, Elaine C. Hollensbe and Mathew L. Sheep wrote in the Academy of Management Journal that the most successful ones came up with what were essentially Tweak It methods and “enacted a variety of boundary work tactics.”

How the Work and Life Fit ‘Naturals’ Do It

A little Tweak It background: As the clocks and walls that used to neatly divide our job and our personal life began evaporating over the past few years, I started searching for new ways to advise companies and individuals on how they could better manage all of their daily responsibilities.

I found that about 10 to 15 percent of the people I encountered were work/life fit “naturals,” the rare men and women who figured out intuitively how to make all the puzzle pieces of their lives snap together with ease.

Their secret to success was that they regularly followed simple steps the rest of us don’t know or choose to ignore. Here’s one: “Whenever I have a client lunch, I leave my phone in my office so I can concentrate on being fully present with the person I’m meeting with.”

Click here for the three steps to "Tweak It" on Next Avenue

Next: How To Be Employable in 10 Years

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