“Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.”–Napoleon Hill
BALANCE THROUGH BUSINESS
4 Business Practices to Bring Home from the Office
Bringing work home from the office isn’t often heralded as the path to a fulfilling life. In fact, the spillover of work into home is an ongoing struggle for many. But, there are 4 business practices, that, when adopted in your personal life, can enhance your overall effectiveness and ease. In working with clients I have found that these 4 practices can, and do, lead to a more balanced life. They are:
2. Core Competencies
4. Status Reporting
Businesses are well known for crafting Corporate Vision Statements. The intention is to guide the entire organization by creating a clear picture of “who” the organization wants to be. This can be a challenge in a complex environment, but it does work (just ask Walt Disney, or Martin Luther King). The more clear and compelling the vision, the easier it is for people to rally around it and know what action to take to support it.
Likewise, having a Personal Vision Statement can guide you on a day to day basis. Your vision can be a written statement that describes ‘who’ you want to be and the life you want to be living. By being honest and writing a compelling personal vision, you increase the likelihood that you (and others in your life) will take smart steps to get there.
Many businesses, big and small, are ‘going back to basics’. They have decided to focus on their Core Competencies-those things that are the essence and purpose of their business. Which means letting go of things that are non-core. Businesses end up outsourcing some parts of running their business, and in some cases, simply stop participating in some lines of business.
In a similar way, as the CEO of your life, you can benefit from a ‘back to basics’ life strategy. If you find yourself juggling lots of balls and feeling as if nothing is getting done the way you want it to be, then define your Core Competencies…those things that you do well and are known for? What are the non-core activities you are participating in? Can you delegate or dump them, freeing you to focus on your Core?
My client Bob* was spending every weekend doing household projects, repairs, and maintenance even though he was terrible at them and didn’t enjoy doing them in the least. This led to frustrating family exchanges all weekend long (centered on these projects). He realized that maintenance and repair work was ‘non-core’ for him and that enjoyable family time and a fulfilling career were his ‘core competencies’. So, he decided to outsource the rest (hire a lawn care company and handyman service), freeing him to do what did best.
Businesses use policies to create structure, clarify expectations, and set limits. Business policies also free people up to do the work they are there to do because it ‘automates’ their reactions and behavior in common situations. When there is no policy, there is doubt. Where there is doubt, there are endless options and confusion can reign.
Personal Policies can support a balanced life in much the same way. They provide an automatic response to common challenges, and often give you language to communicate.
Saying you have a ‘policy’ seems stronger than simply saying ‘no” to a request. Here is an example of how a client of mine put Personal Policies to work in her life:
A lifelong over-committer and family problem solver, Tina* was overwhelmed and under producing. During coaching, she decided to create two new policies. First, she would commit 4 hours per month to volunteer activities. When approached by someone at church to take on another activity, she simply said “Oh, I have a policy of only committing 4 hours per month and for this month, I am booked, so I won’t be able to help.”
Her second policy was around helping family and friends with personal ‘crises’. She created a policy that she would not offer assistance unless the person had tried to solve their problem first. So, when her sister came to her with the latest concern, she would simply say (after having forewarned her sister of the new policy) “So, how have you tried to solve this? Oh, I see. Well, as you know, I have a policy that I won’t step in until you’ve attempted to solve this on your own.”
Using the language of policy gives you structure and an automatic way to determine what you let in and what you keep out. It holds you accountable and lets others know exactly what your limits are.
Yes, the weekly status report meetings at work can be a drag. But, they are an effective way to ‘check in’ and keep everyone focused on key priorities. Status meetings can work in your busy personal life as well. The following is an excerpt from Great Relationships Newsletter that I get on a regular basis (RomanticAntics.com) and is a great example of how to incorporate status meetings into your personal life:
We’ve adopted a simple strategy from the workplace to keep our relationship on track. Every week we have three status meetings.
The first is a family status meeting that we do each Sunday over dinner. We use a package called Family Table Time. Everyone gets a chance to lead and it’s brought us closer together as a family.
The second meeting is a business meeting where Joy and I discuss our results from last week, what’s happening this week, and any special needs for the business.
Finally Joy and I have a relationship date/status meeting. This could be as simple as coffee together while we talk or dinner and a show, always allowing time for us to talk about what’s going on for us in our relationship.
Doing this almost every week allows us to keep our work, our family, and our relationship on track. It’s also an opportunity to reaffirm our love for each other.
If you are ready to bring greater balance into your life, try applying some of these practices with these ideas (or create your own):
3 – Take out 3 blank sheets of paper.
On one, write out the elements of your personal vision. Be sure to start with “I am….” and fill in the blanks on who you see yourself being when you are at your best.
On the second paper, write out your ‘core competencies’. What are the roles, activities, and commitments that are closely linked to who you are and your core purpose.
On the third sheet of paper, write out a list of Non-Core activities, roles, and commitments you are currently engaged with. Now, find a way to delegate (outsource_ or delete at least one non-core activity.
2 – With your mind clearly focused on your Vision and Core competencies, write out 2 policies you will enact, starting today. Make sure you inform everyone that will be impacted by this policy.
1 – Schedule 1 status meeting for this week to check in with those most important to your vision and share your work with them.
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