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Article Listing | Search Articles | More Articles in Jobseekers | More Articles by Simma Lieberman

The Life Juggle: How to Find Lifework Balance

by Simma Lieberman - 01/01/2009
"Almost any time I read an article or hear someone speak about life work balance for speakers, the solution is the same- take a year off, take your family on a cruise, take your family with you."
The Life Juggle: How to Find Lifework Balance

By Simma Lieberman.

Almost any time I read an article or hear someone speak about life work balance for speakers, the solution is the same- take a year off, take your family on a cruise, take your family with you. There are a lot of people in our business who do not have the real time, budget, or desire to do these things. They may not have a “traditional family”, but have a family of friends, are single people, single parents or are taking care of their own parents. There are those of us who don’t want to wait for the big trip but want to have a sense of peace and balance every day and in everything we do.

So if you are not taking a year off, retiring at 35 or ready to move to a more quiet area, how can you gain live your life so that you will have sense of peace and balance?

Here are my suggestions:

1- Develop a mindset of community.
Get rid of the that old mantra that you have to do it alone. No one achieves professional success without help from others. Think of the people who are your friends, family and colleagues as community and get over any reluctance to ask for help.

2- Community brainstorm session.
Invite some of these community members to your house, tell them that you are feeling overwhelmed, tired, overworked, stressed and out of balance. Ask them to share their own best practices and ideas of how to adapt a few to your life.

3- Let your community offer their resources.
When my partner of 18 years passed away and I became a single mother of an 8 year old boy, I had no idea how I could continue speaking across the country, do what was necessary to run my business and stay sane. Friends and colleagues came together and helped create a community for my son. People were willing to stay overnight and take him to activities while I was away or needed to attend meetings. Many of those people are NSA members who understand day to day activities of running a speaking business. My son gets taken to baseball games, movies and trips so that I get time to myself for reflection, exercise and socialize with adults.

4- Become a better planner of work and personal time.
Improve your planning skills. Buy tickets in advance for events, and go with other people, so you won’t cancel to catch up on invoicing, paper work, or reading those important publications.
There is a perception that if people don’t have a “family”, they don’t need to take time for themselves. Learn to be firm and say no to doing “favors” when you have other plans. Be strategic about meeting attendance. Don’t waste evening, or weekend time attending a meeting just because a colleague wants you to come along.

5- Limit distractions that take unnecessary time.
Author and speaker Kate Berardo has learned to assess what she can do by e-mail rather than spend time on the phone. “Knowing how e-mail can be a distraction, I open my emails, red flag those that need immediate attention, and save the rest for the end of the day. I used to answer everything in the morning thinking I would just get it out of the way, but I would find myself not even beginning important work until 4:00 and it would be too late to contact any of my clients on the east coast or Europe”

6- Learn to integrate fun activities with work.
Many speakers have a family of friends throughout the country. You need to set aside time to continue these relationships. Turn work in other areas into vacation and visit friends, or sightsee. If you have no one to take care of your phone or e-mail, you can hire someone hourly to do that, or trade with another speaker when they go away. When I work in areas where I have friends or family, or just want to visit. I bring my son. That way I get to spend time with him, see family, and share an experience.

7- Know yourself.
Don’t compare yourself to other people. Know w hat gjves you a sense of peace and balance and what makes you feel off kilter. If you relax by reading, get books you enjoy and set aside time for it. It makes a difference in your day if you do something relaxing right before sleep in order to wake up calm relaxed and stay focussed.
If you want more time to be with friends, put them on the schedule.

Wherever you go you bring yourself with you. It doesn’t make a difference if you are on a years cruise, at home or playing golf. If you do not know how to create an internal sense of balance you will feel the same as you always feel wherever you are.

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