We work with many – if not nearly all – of our clients on “work-life balance,” whatever the heck that actually is. What I do know is, no matter what you call it, it is important.

As we all get more technologically connected, and as we seem to forget that we need downtime and a chance to disconnect, finding a way to keep work from taking over our lives is becoming more and more important.  In looking at that challenge, one of my clients shared this Adam Grant podcast – When Work Takes Over Your Life – with me.

It’s easy – too easy – to let work take over your life. There seems to be always more to do, more to think about, and more people to follow up with. We have seemingly endless to-do lists, social media outlets, email chains, and meetings, and it gets harder and harder to choose which things we will handle or will put off or will simply ignore – because we can’t get to everything. We just can’t.

In the hopes of not adding to your endless lists of tasks and taking up more of your time, I will quickly share a few ways to carve out your life from your work. And I encourage you to listen to the podcast and ponder Adam’s (and others’) wisdom as well.

  • Establish boundaries – only you know what will be best for you and your situation, but consider a somewhat hard start-time and end-time to your workday (or your work week). Give yourself sacred “off-time.”
  • Take breaks – research shows again and again that our brains can’t work endlessly. We need to set mindful breaks in our workday, to give our minds a rest. Even better, take a break and get up and walk around – around the block, around the office, around the neighborhood. Get a bit of physical exercise and blood pumping as you rest your brain.
  • Prioritize – there really is too much to do and too many emails to respond to. It’s up to you to figure out what is most important and to make sure you make time for that. Check out the Important-Urgent Matrix as a helpful tool. If something is not important, you might not get to it…which leads me to the last suggestion…
  • Let it go – again, there really is too much to do and too many emails to respond to, so at some point we all have to accept that we can’t get it all done and we definitely can’t get it all done to a level of excellence. Part of knowing what’s important is knowing what’s not important. Part of knowing what only you can do or handle is knowing what you’ll turn over to someone else (and who you’ll turn it over to). At some point you have to let go of what you can’t take care of.

Adam Grant offers more specific and actionable suggestions, so (make the time and) take a listen.

And let us know what works for you!
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If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

For support in taking back your life, contact Lisa at lkohn@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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