How to Create Work-Life Balance
It’s something most of us struggle with: how to achieve a healthy balance between your work and personal lives.
Award winning consultant coach Melisa Liberman shared her four-part formula to create a work-life balance with Umbrex members. Here we delve into her process, looking at:
- Fundamentals of Balance: What balance means.
- Formula of Balance: 4 Steps to achieve and maintain your business-life balance.
- Your Personal Balance Playbook: For prioritizing, scheduling, and dealing with the seemingly endless changes and curveballs that life throws us.
What is balance?
Balance implies equal parts — but the way we live our lives is rarely equal. We typically want balance in our lives to be equal parts of our professional, family, and personal life. However, a lot of people live with work and family prioritized, and their own personal life gets put on the back burner.
It might be helpful to ask yourself these questions:
- What does being balanced mean for you?
- What do you think being balanced means or looks like?
- What do you feel when you’re balanced?
Balance is not a “thing” that we have or don’t have, Liberman says. Being balanced is a thought or a feeling. Balance is a state.
Give yourself permission to think:
I’ve got a good balance going right now.
So you feel:
Calm, in control, present.
So you show up:
Clear, unapologetic, intentional, guiltless.
Balance doesn’t come from the amount of hours you work or don’t work every week, or the complexity of the work you do, or the supportiveness of your family and friends.
Liberman encourages you to think about why you want balance. How will you know if you have it? What will you feel? What will be different?
The formula for work-life balance
Liberman has identified four steps to achieve and maintain a work-life balance:
1. Define your balance
What is “balanced”? How is it measured and over what period of time is it measured?
Why do you want this? What if you don’t achieve it?
What is currently standing in your way from thinking you’re balanced, and feeling balanced?
Deciding you’re balanced is available to you, if you choose to feel balanced and think of yourself as someone who has great balance. Without anything changing, what would happen?
Create your ideal week.
- What is your ideal week?
- What is your minimum viable schedule?
Then, capture your guiding principles. An example could be working four days a week and always finishing by 4 p.m.
Think of how you will handle exceptions:
- What are your exception protocols?
- What are the most common “derailers?”
- What will I do when __ occurs?
Then, schedule your week
Think of your schedule like it’s math. Everything needs to earn a spot and don’t put things down by default. Plan your free time first.
By doing this, you will start treating time as an investment, and you will establish the baseline for further evaluation and refinement, especially mental refinement.
Some common challenges and fixes:
- Running out of time, underestimating: Add buffer time to the schedule. Choose to adhere to the time box. Lower your standards. Delegate.
- Feeling it’s too rigid: Consider the opposite is, or could be, true. Scheduling creates freedom.
- Thinking too much is out of your control: Ask, what is in my control? How can I take more control of this situation? How can I build in this pattern?
- Thinking this is a waste of time: Put results in your calendar, not the task. How are you wasting more time because you don’t have a plan?
3. Follow-through with your plan
- Expect to feel bad…do it anyway
- Expect to negotiate with yourself…do it anyway
- Expect to think “later is better”…do it anyway
- Expect solid arguments to change the plan…do it anyway
This is you building your business owner’s muscle.
If you are still feeling imbalance, continue refining the plan and execution. In the meantime, you have a mental gap to address.
- Investigate: How are you feeling? What are you thinking?
- Regain clarity: What would you need to think to create balanced feelings?
- Adjust (if needed)
- Your definition
- Your plan
- Manage your mind
- Acknowledge what is working
- Choose what you think and believe it on purpose
4. Evaluate and Iterate
- Collect wins
- Schedule time for weekly shut-down and evaluation:
- What’s working?
- What’s not working?
- What do you want to adjust?
- Tactical AND mental
Your Personal Balance Playbook
She invites you to download her plan to create your own personal playbook for balance. This will allow you to:
- Learn what creates balance, and what doesn’t, for you
- Get crystal clear on your version of balance
- Develop your own playbook for prioritizing, scheduling, and dealing with the seemingly endless changes and curveballs that are thrown at you
Learn more about Melisa Libermans’s 3-step process to creating balance and customize your own playbook by instantly downloading it here.
Melisa Liberman helps independent consultants scale themselves and their businesses so that they make more money, increase their impact, and do it while working on their own terms. She invites you to check out two podcasts for more resources on this topic: