The work life equation

The choices we make as individuals drive the way we spend our time, dictate what gets our most focused moments and the speed at which we get things done.

Wasted time is not wasted if you plan to do nothing. It certainly pays to do nothing if you need it, in order to reframe and return fresh after a good break. Doing nothing is, therefore, doing something and even in a full life of activities, just a few moments of time, to sit still can be priceless.

How about you focus on life planning in place of trying to achieve a ‘work-life’ balance? It’s a far more important tool and ensures you wisely invest your precious time in the things that matter to you in work, personal and family matters.

So what’s my formula for making all the important things in my life work, so my family and I are happy?

Work more?

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Well, if business makes you happy and it works for those around you, then have an honest conversation about it. Then you can be engaged in business activities in a wholly disproportionate way – with agreement from family and friends. If this is what makes you happy, then make it so.
My choice is to lead a full life but to do that it is paramount that I communicate my choice to the important people around me, who influence the decision I make. I choose to spend time with those that are willing to live with my drive, determination, organizational approach and lists, relentlessly ensuring I get stuff done. I have observed that if you don’t know what’s important to you, you won’t jealously guard it and chase after it. So the stuff that is important to me, that I like doing, goes to the top of my list and other stuff I either do not do, delegate or say no to.

Choices

You cannot expect to live life in a perfectly balanced way. We all have likes and dislikes and some days will be better than others. But ultimately we have a choice of how to spend our waking hours, of how we fill the different emotional bank accounts that ensure we preserve healthy relationships. Indeed, we have a choice as to how many hours we wish to be awake and be doing something.

Don’t feel guilty

You might feel over-obligated, trodden down with the weight of guilt in your circumstances. But I have learned that carrying guilt around doesn’t help anybody. For me, it is a long time since I allowed someone or something to make me feel guilty. That doesn’t mean you don’t own up to your mistakes, but you do need to resist wallowing in ‘what ifs’ or second-guessing what others are thinking.

Is it an easy juggle? No.

Does it help to have a plan, with a target, with goals and objectives, like all great results? Yes.

Tricks of the trade

  • Get time management training
  • Write lists – but don’t just write them write them and rewrite and prioritise them, then enlist help, delegate with brilliance and aim to be a professional, firm and fair delegator taking more enjoying in seeing others perform, and grow rather than behaving like a self important benevolent dictator whom actually does not one any long-term good and certainly time and time again I see devaluing their own assets.
  • Learn to say no. Be able to quickly explain your interests and engagements and when something does not appeal, don’t be afraid to say so.
  • Remember that money does not buy happiness. What it does buy is freedom. It certainly gives you more options. Once I learned to singularly focus and plan on the one deliverable objective of building a successful company, that I could exit to give me my freedom, I was more disciplined about the choices I made with my still valuable time. Money does not buy you health and well-being. We have to work at these things, so plan time to do so. Perhaps learn how to get double and more value out of any and all of the activities and engagements you make.

About the Author Lara Morgan

Lara Morgan is best known for growing Pacific Direct, from start-up to successful exit, 23 years later. She now invests her time in fast growth companies and represents UKTI as an Export Ambassador, having previously exported to 110 countries. Her vast experience and business knowledge includes specialisms in licensing luxury brands, manufacturing toiletries and selling to the hospitality environment through complex global distribution chains. She’s also an expert in leadership and developing talent having learnt through her own experiences of employing 500 employees in an open fast growth sales culture.

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