10 Ways to Achieve Better Work-Life Balance
It seems the only way to get ahead in our profession these days is to get behind at home. I find that I am guilty of living my life in the hamster wheel of “business as usual.” Many articles and books have and are being written about finding a healthy work/life balance. It is a widespread problem that continues to elude people, especially those of us driven to achieve.
Our overall level of health and wellness is so much more than quality workouts and good nutrition. As fire service professionals, these are clearly critical, but how we live our lives is equally important. Balance and moderation are the keys, and lack of either can lead to chronic health problems, relationship problems, and possible job related performance issues.
Here I will share 10 ways that can help you get more done in less time – and get back to a healthy balance between time spent at work and home. I’m willing to give it a try. Are you?
- Set Goals – Set specific goals with actions and incremental milestones that you can track. Written goals help you establish clarity of purpose and provide accountability. Regularly review them and your progress against them.
- Focus on the Important – Don’t let the urgent, the convenient, and the immediate distract you from the important. Stay focused on reaching the milestones that support your goals. Be proactive. Create the habit of working intentionally. Minimize your distractions. Make a “not-to-do” list and adhere to it.
- Set Your Own Standards – Don’t mindlessly follow social and cultural norms. Instead, follow your own values. Establish your own principles.
- Learn to Say “No” – You can’t do everything. Of course you might like to, but there aren’t enough hours in the day. Learn to say no. Or if it is truly worthy, learn to use “yes, if…” instead of just “yes.”
- Delegate – Just because there are activities that you can’t say no to doesn’t mean you have to be the one that does them. No one is successful on his or her own. Solicit the help of others. If you were hit by a bus tomorrow and had to spend the next month in a hospital, consider who would do your work and start delegating it to them now.
- Be More Productive – For those activities that you must do yourself, find ways to be as efficient as you can. Your time is your most valuable resource – don’t squander it. Streamline your processes so that there is little wasted time and effort, particularly where there are hand-offs between people.
- Get Organized – Establish a filing system that gives you ready access. Set up a “one-touch” approach to dealing with emails, letters, text-messages, bills, reference materials, voice messages and other requests. Utilize the “Do, Delegate, Delete or File” principle.
- Maintain Your Energy – Being tired robs you of the energy you need to stay productive and focused. Get a good night’s rest or uninterrupted sleep – seven hours if possible. Eat a balanced diet and follow good nutritional guidelines. Take vitamins and mineral supplements. Exercise at least 30 minutes a day, three times a week at your doctor-recommended cardio-levels. This will recharge your body’s battery just like a cell-phone charger.
- Don’t Worry – Leave you worries behind. Do what you can to resolve your problems and that is good enough. Worrying and chronic stress are bad for your health and energy levels and provide no substantive benefit to you or others. Instead, channel your energy into more productive uses – go exercise instead!
- Maintain Some White Space on Your Calendar – Take a break. Carve out some time for reflection. The cliché that your best ideas come to you when you’re in the shower or out running is more fact than fiction. When relaxed, your brain is free to unleash its power.hope that I got you thinking and that you will start making conscious efforts in your work/personal lives to achieve balance.
It's not easy, but nothing worth having ever is. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones.
This article was written by guest contributor Battalion Chief Jo-Ann Lorber of the City of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She has been with Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue since January 1996. Chief Lorber holds Associates’ degrees in Liberal Arts and Fire Science Technology, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Management, and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Florida Atlantic University. Chief Lorber is a 2006 graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program (EFOP). Jo-Ann has been awarded Chief Fire Officer (CFO) and Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) Designations.