What you want your life to look like in one, five and even ten years should reflect how you define your work-life balance today. Do you want to travel more and work less, start your own business, host events and conferences, or give back by working in a non-profit? All those choices are admirable and you can easily add many other items to the list.
Many want to work fewer hours, but with increased purpose and significance, especially at halftime, which officially starts at age 40! But this principle applies at most any stage of life. An important task is to define what you want your months and weeks to look like. If this is not defined clearly, especially for entrepreneurial types and those restarting or refocusing their business, the work will never stop! It seems idealistic to have a home office to work remotely from anywhere, but if not careful, the lines defining work and play are blurred and it’s difficult to ever leave the office!
Your work-life balance decisions on travel, schedule, and your budget should reflect your end goals to best capitalize on the use of resources and precious time. In fact, I am personally planning my next twenty years. In defining my work-life balance, my desire is to travel more with my husband, not just for work. Because of that desire, I’m working to create more quality online programs and virtual training opportunities. Since I’m in more of a public instead of the private market, this process has pushed me to be very specific in my offerings, though my programs are very applicable in both areas.
Here are Five Steps to start defining your ideal work-life balance:
STEP ONE:Define your five-year goal. Start with defining what you want your life to look like in five years. Realize this will probably change and shift with life’s circumstances, but it’s an important place to start. If you’d like to travel more and work less, open your own business or even shift important relationships in your life, put that down. Added to this list can be online programs that run independently, a successful podcast or even writing two more books. Be creative!
STEP TWO:Define your one-year goal. Where would you like to be next year at this same time? Realizing you could be in the exact the same place should be a good wake-up call! Be realistic on naming at least one to two things to add to this year’s schedule to make your five-year goal or dream a reality.
STEP THREE:Define your monthly goals. According to your defined five-year and one-year goal, look at an ideal month. Even though most every month will be slightly different, note the most important tasks to get done each and every month. Such as four podcast segments, four newsletter articles, five short video segments, etc…. Don’t get overwhelmed here. Put down a couple things that would help you reach your five-year plan. This should help you create a monthly rhythm.
STEP FOUR:Define a specific goal for next month. After you’ve stated a realistic monthly rhythm you can insert tasks into your next month’s schedule. It may seem like you’re stretching in adding more hours to your work-day at this time, but keep your eye on the end goal of where you want to be in five years! Tim Ferris in Four Hour Workweek had a specific goal for his work-life balance but had to put in 60-80 hours a week at first to achieve his optimal goal of the four-hour workweek.
STEP FIVE:Define a consistent pattern for your week. Sketch out the hours you’d like to work and define the time(s) when you are best for rote, then creative work. Define a consistent pattern or system that will help you accomplish your main goals. This now becomes your weekly rhythm. What doesn’t get done on one day is just transferred to the next.
Those steps will help you start. They will be revised, but remember, if you never start, you’ll never finish! This process takes some planning and brainstorming but is very important at halftime.
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