Lancashire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
12:30 AM 11th December 2021

Saturday Essay: Setting A Balance Goal - How To Manage Your Work Life Balance Without It Impacting Your Career

Lorna Dunning – Professional Development Coach considers how we should manage our work life balance

During a 20-year career in senior roles within global organisations, I’ve been fortunate to work with top performers and exceptional leaders. I made it a habit to observe and learn from others’ successes and mistakes.

Today I help individuals to take their career and life to the next level and to achieve this they often need to overcome all sorts of hurdles and for so many of my client’s, as their careers accelerate, they find it increasingly hard to manage their work life balance.

Throughout my senior leadership career, better work life balance was a reoccurring goal. I thought this meant that I needed to spend more time enjoying things away from work. In my mind a saw a pie chart labelled `Work - 80%,’ `Everything else – 20%.’

I’ve since learned that what I really wanted was for my life to be filled with all the things I wanted to experience. It was not simply a case of allocating the pie more evenly between work and life, a 50/50 split.

In work, I was positive and enthusiastic but at home I was numb and lacked enthusiasm, so I was literally spending my emotional and physical energy in one direction. Without doubt, I was out of balance.

Now that things are different, I understand what I really meant by work life balance. To have enough time and emotional capacity for the people I care about, to do the things I enjoy and pursue goals I wanted to achieve outside of work.

Image: qimono / Pixabay
Image: qimono / Pixabay
Are you out of balance?

Through the work I do with my clients I recognise some of the signs:

1. Loss of enthusiasm
2. Spinning plates
3. Worrying (about small things)
4. Multi-tasking (badly)
5. A cluttered mind (lack of focus)
6. Living on adrenaline
7. Frustrated that you don’t have time to try new things
8. You’re self-critical
9. Saying no to things you wish you had time to do
10. Unable to `switch off’

Number 10 caused me to miss out on real enjoyment. I’d be present physically, but not mentally. I’d go on holiday, but be 20% niggled about something work related, even if there was nothing wrong.

Image: Pixabay
Image: Pixabay
These days my pie chart is filled with colour:
I laugh easily and genuinely
I get excited and absorbed by events in my personal life (as much as my professional life)
I don’t have to remind myself to be present
My heart feels lighter and the niggles have gone

With busy lives and jobs, how do we achieve this?

Managing your balance means two things:
1. Peace of mind (feeling at ease).
2. Doing what brings you joy and distributing your pie chart how you want to, rather than accepting the cards you’re holding in this moment.

Sometimes we assume that changing certain circumstances in our life will lead to happiness, but without serenity of mind, your cup will never truly `runneth over.’

When you achieve balance in our mind, it expresses itself everywhere and circumstances naturally shift in your favour.

Simple steps to peace of mind:
Spend a few minutes at the start and end of each day thinking about everything that’s going well for you.
Use an affirmation and repeat regularly, such as:
`I love how I move through each day feeling calm and confident.’
‘I feel poised and totally at ease.’

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash
Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash
Simple steps towards joy:

1. Think of one thing you love to do and do it immediately or schedule it in your diary to guarantee it. For example, listen to a podcast about something you’re interested in even if it has nothing to do with your work, walk outside for 20 minutes to chat with a friend who you never see, play tennis, read, draw, play an instrument….

2. Schedule a day off work to do something totally random. For example, A Driving Adventure Day, buy a canvas and paint a picture, walk in a totally different part of town, feed the ducks.

Doing something random activates some important mental muscles:

Imagination – to come up with a random idea, requires the use of your imagination.

Perception – to open yourself up to doing something different, you must have an open mind and be able to see things from different perspectives.

Inserting activities into your life that light you up can only ever be a good thing. These light-hearted strategies that will shake things up, help you become more aware and more mindful.

I am a ‘mentor on a mission’ and to help guide you towards an exceptional life and results.

Lorna Dunning
Lorna Dunning
Lorna Dunning, helps individuals to take their career and life to the next level. She was previously Vice-President of Transformation at American Express GBT and delivered company integrations, culture transformation and other enterprise transformation initiatives.

During this time, she followed her passion for human behaviour and potential and trained as a success coach, trainer and speaker.

She has 10 years leading large global teams and driving transformational change and now works as a leadership development, wellbeing and personal success coach. She is also a bestselling author and public speaker
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