I am someone who needs to be involved in EVERYTHING.
I wish I had a clone.
If only I had an extra hour in the day!
If any of these thoughts have gone through your mind at some point, and you are tired of choosing between career AND social life AND sleep AND feeling guilty that you don’t have time for everything…you and I are alike.
The goal of working to be a good employee and colleague by balancing time between my partner, family, friends, and my self hasn’t been easy and came with several sacrifices in my life – as I am sure you can empathize. I want to share how I’ve created balance in both my professional and private life, without using yoga or exercise (even though those help a great deal as well).
I adopted the concept of AGILITY, a commonly used methodology in engineering. This way of life allowed me the ability to think/move quickly and easily, addressing the most important priorities going on in my life. Now, when I say most important, I have ranked those items in my life.
Some of the questions I have asked myself are…When does my supervisor need this assignment completed?
How important is it to my partner?
Does this align with my values?
Who will be disappointed if I can’t make it?
Is it a milestone occasion for this friend of mine?
There are countless other questions I ask myself as well. To add another level of complication, some of these “priorities” may align on the same day and have an equal level of importance. Now what? Do you cut something out? My answer is NEVER. You do whatever you can to make EVERYTHING happen.
Now some of you reading this might say…easy, coming from a single guy with no children. My challenge to you would be, how are you prioritizing the people and things that are important to you? Are you putting in the same energy that they are giving you? If you are not, maybe that person or thing isn’t really that important to you.
I typically give people 3 strikes…and just like baseball after 3 strikes THEY ARE OUT. They are no longer in my social rotation, and I am now leaving it up to them to make all the moves going forward. I don’t have the time or energy to give those who don’t see me in that same light. Now, sometimes I approach my friends with things and they can’t commit to the day I suggested, etc. I understand that, but if they don’t offer an alternative to my suggestion, then they get an unofficial mental strike! This method has allowed me to take stock of who is actually in my life, and for what reason. Managing meaningful relationships take time and a thoughtful, calculated strategy.
Are you thoughtful in your approach to priorities? If you can’t make it to an event, how did you communicate back to the invitee they are important to you? And how do they know you want to make up that time in another way?
Each of your priorities is special, and deserves a custom approach to how you rank them in your life. The same theory should be applied to how you work with your boss, colleagues, and clients. They know and feel when you haven’t made time for them (i.e. the proposal seems rushed or boilerplate). So let me ask another question. Do you treat your best friend differently than the way you treat your colleague? If so, why is that is good enough for your personal life but not your professional life? Similiar attention given to your personal relationships should be given to your professional relationships.
Once you customize your professional relationships, you will see those trees begin to bear fruit.
So to get back to my original thought…”I want to do everything”.
I believe you CAN DO EVERYTHING, with a thoughtful and customized approach to personal and professional relationship management. It takes time and a meaningful methodology!