How You Can Do It All And Still Have A Real Life


Just because you’ve set big objectives doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your home life.

On the contrary, the bigger the objectives, the more you need balance in your life. And you can’t do it alone.

Great leaders recognize the importance of working through others, whether they are employees, associates, vendors or customers.

Still it’s crucial to have a plan, and to work diligently at executing it. This applies to anyone seeking career success that must juggle multiple responsibilities of work and family.

How do you maintain balance in your life?

We’re all pulled in many different directions at the same time, children, employees, clients, school, community, church obligations…our kids’ activities (ask me about Irish Dancing some day). It’s nonstop.

The demands of running a professional service firm sometimes feel overwhelming. I have to be a leader, a manager, and a contributor. I have to sell, produce, and manage others. I have to give total, absolute concentration to my client’s needs. There are times when I feel I’m being hit from all sides. There are a lot of expectations from everyone—clients, colleagues, community and family. I want everyone to be happy and have what he or she needs (“good luck with that!” you’re thinking).

Communicate/keep it simple

The secret to running anything well is to prioritize your actions. You need to do the right things at the right time-those things that will help you win new customers, provide excellent service, and expand your sphere of influence.

All these actions must be executed in a timeframe that permits you to enjoy a normal life (this is a core value of Dise & Company. My colleagues and I respect one another and set aside time for our families, so that we lead balanced lives.)

Set an Annual Agenda

To ensure that I stay focused on the right things, I’ve developed an annual agenda that includes my top five priorities for the year. It’s simple, to the point and helps me decide what activities and tasks I should place on my calendar. It helps me be very clear about what to say “no” to.

My agenda for 2009-2010

  1. Build sales pipeline with qualified opportunities by setting a leading example for my colleagues
  2. Grow top line revenues through focused, disciplined business development management efforts
  3. Optimize profitability by disciplined management of expenses
  4. Grow my team’s professional capabilities by stretching them to learn new things
  5. Reserve nights and weekends for my personal life.

My agenda is the basis for all my decisions. If something doesn’t fit into my agenda, it doesn’t have a place in my day.

Try an Agenda for Yourself

To stay balanced, and continue to grow, you really you have to have an agenda to keep focused on your goals for the year, and then you have to have a plan to keep you focused on your daily goals.

The challenge is, particularly in our networked world, where a PDA is now a mini-computer, is to stay focused, avoid distraction, set big goals for the year, (underpinned by big goals every day), and take action every day.

The Daily To Do List

Every morning, before you do anything else, update your daily to do list:

  1. What are the two or three big things that will help contribute to your agenda?
  2. Recommit to your annual goals
  3. Ask yourself “ If I complete these things will it make it a good day?”
  4. Ask yourself “Am I being realistic?”
  5. Work towards completing the most difficult before you do anything else (especially before you check your email).

When you stop for lunch, look back at the morning, and ask: “How am I doing on my daily to-do list?” In the evening before you leave, take a moment to review your performance for the day. Assess your ability to stay focused and on-track. Did you open up your email too early? Did you spend the day being reactive and putting out fires?

Be Patient – but Selective

You are not going to get everything that you need to be done in one day. The average executive has 37 hours of work waiting for his or her immediate attention at any given moment. How you spend your time is a strategic decision.

Being selective about what you spend your time on is the key to taking back your power, getting control of your situation, and being in charge your life.

You can have it all. You can pursue big goals and still have a life. It just requires an eye on the big picture, a to-do list that is in sync with the big goals, and the ability to say “no” to things that don’t contribute to your agenda.

 

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Ralph Dise

Ralph Dise is founder and president of Dise & Company. Ralph has a life-long interest in developing leaders and helping enterprises succeed. He learned his earliest leadership lessons as a teenager attending a summer military program.