Monday May 18, 2020: Lesson 3 - Synchronize
A problem described by many in this busy world is the one of work-life balance: the struggle to give equal attention to career demands and the many demands of life. The work-life balance tends to proceed like this. You plan to give 100% to our career. You also want to be a parent and not short change your children, so career gets 50% and parenting gets 50%. You want to give back to your community so you introduce volunteer activities: that’s 33% career, 33% parent, 33% philanthropist. Wait, you have to maintain your spiritual connection and no good Christian is a bench member: career gets 25%, parenting gets 25%, philanthropic activities get 25%, choir member gets 25%. Did I mention your spouse needs some time…. ? It is easy to see that work-life balance is a misnomer. It’s the living manifestation of “Jack of all trades. Master of none.” This is because the goal is not simply to give equally to all, but also to give effectively to all. Therefore, seeking BALANCE is the problem. It is impossible to give equally and effectively to all things important to you daily! The goal is to have all important things work together in harmony over time.
Synchronize defined is ‘cause to occur at the same time.’ You must put forth the effort to align things in your life so that they can happen at the same time. This requires you to look at life beyond the moment or even beyond the day because time is relative. Scheduling the work trip the week after your child’s big recital can be less stressful than trying to plan the return trip to touch down just two hours before the big event. You can give 110% to the fundraising event on Saturday because you planned date night for Sunday evening (including securing the babysitter). Making efforts to synchronize allows us to organize life in ways that promote the intimate engagement discussed last week. You cannot see the important things in your life as competing for your time. The use of your time is something you control so cause it to work for you. For example, during COVID-19’s safer at home you don’t have to be your child’s teacher and facilitate a work meeting at the same time. However, you can conduct the meeting at 9am and do lessons with your child after lunch. Synchronize. Who said home-school had to start at the same time traditional school did? Next, coordinate a check-in time with your older child so that you can monitor progress vs sit with them throughout task completion. That is synchronizing with others which is necessary as well. Be more flexible and creative with your use of time.
Ultimately, synchronizing is about time management. It was agreed at the start of these lessons that you are your own boss, right? Let’s manage! Take time to plan based on the big picture. To give equally and effectively requires an eagle-eyed view of your time, a space where you can see how things fit together in a broader sense. Let go of old beliefs that suggest finishing quickly or first are major indicators of higher ability or efficiency. Develop a strategic plan for your time complete with goals/objectives, actions steps, and deadlines. Set deadlines that include more time for completion than the task actually needs. This allows you to manage the expectations of others and your own. Schedule down time and end time that you respect so that you can adequately relax as discussed in week one. Yes, you can have it all. Just synchronize so that there’s work-life harmony instead of debilitating
Monday May 11, 2020: Lesson 2 - Engage (Intimately)
Have you heard the phrase, “So much to do, so little time?” Our activities of daily living have become synonymous with being involved in as many enrichment activities as we can find for that day. Here’s how it goes (wrong). You understand the need to be organized, so you create a daily to do list. Take the kids to school. Drop a load at the cleaners. Attend 2 meetings before lunch. Presentation after lunch. Happy hour with potential client. Kid’s soccer game. Dinner to go. Finance committee meeting at church. Finish proposal. Sign-up for master class. Work on tomorrow’s to do list. In COVID-19
Quarantine it looks more like this. Wash and fold laundry. Two Zoom meetings before lunch. Prepare lunch. Teach the children. Hang the pictures you purchased two months ago. Family Game Night. Complete online Master Class. The problem with these types of To Do lists is that they are NOT doable! When trying to complete them, you are forced to rush from one activity to the next giving a piece of yourself to EVERYTHING that is important to you. No wonder there is no time to rest! You show up for everything, but are you really there? These over-committed daily schedules lead to stress, fatigue,
burnout, and less than stellar performances. Let’s consider an alternative to overdrive.
To achieve fulfillment (instead of constant fatigue) from the things that are important to you, you must engage in them intimately. You must become effective at managing not just your time, but also your level of engagement. Decrease the number of things you commit to in one day so that you can embrace the activities of the day. Remember just because you can doesn’t mean you should! Yes, maybe you can fit 12 million thousand things into one day, but should you? You are the author of your To Do list, so write what works for you! For example, if there is one morning meeting, there is time to prepare and clarify expectations. There is time after the meeting to document, reflect, and possibly delegate. If today is soccer day, give your regrets for being unavailable for happy hour and request a lunch with the client for the next day instead. Now you can help your child get ready for the game and secure your front row seat before the game starts! And since you are there, get involved! Don’t only put your phone down because social media is toxic or the work never stops. Put the phone away because the activity that you’ve committed your precious time to deserves your undivided attention. Nothing worse than being at the game and missing your child’s winning goal because you had to check your email!
Fulfillment also requires you to be present AND engaged with people as well. Strive to have time for an intimate level of engagement when you connect with others to obtain deeper meaning. This shared engagement promotes joint effort, support, and appreciation. However, be careful of engaging too readily in other’s expectations of you. Creating doable To Do lists requires you to set boundaries and to say no. For example, you can say “That’s important and I really want to help you. Can we do that
tomorrow?” Lastly, remember to put SELF on your TO DO list daily. That connects you to the relax and relate lesson from week one. You need designated time to engage with yourself so that you are aware of what you do, what you feel, and what you need. When you are truly engaged with yourself, you will have an easier time identifying appropriate activities to engage in and the amount of time you want to
commit to those things to make them meaningful. This also allows time for you to engage in refueling before your tank is totally empty. Remember, you can’t give from an empty cup!
Lesson 1 of R.E.S.T.