Life Balance is so elusive…

Improving Life Balance

Why does LIFE BALANCE seem to be so elusive? Because it’s imaginary.  No one is ever in equal balance.  An admired colleague Krista Clive Smith once described it more like a symphony where different parts are louder than others at different times, but when listening to it as a whole it is harmonic and beautiful.

What would be possible if you gave yourself permission to live in harmony and not strive for perfect balance all the time?

I divide my “life pie” into 4 parts; business, family, service and self-care.  No day, week or month is ever the same.  If I lived in balance, my pie would look like this:finding life balance

Not only is this unrealistic, imagine how boring life would be if every day and every week were the same.  More realistically my life looks like this:Finding Life BalanceOne may say I’m never in balance, but that’s okay.  Collectively my pies makes sense.  By accepting that my life pie isn’t always going to look the same I find peace and harmony.  Understanding this makes me feel grounded, happy and successful.  How do you think a shift of perspective about life balance would effect you?

Simple Project Planning with Post-its

Post-it Planning
Post-it Planning

Do you have a project to do, but don’t know where to start?  Most of us don’t have access to complex project management software, nor do we want to make the time investment to learn to use it.  I’ve developed a simple project planning process that yields many of the same results without the learning curve.

1.  Get a stack of Post-its

2.  Write down each task associated with the project. Don’t worry about writing them in any order, just write as fast as the ideas come to you.  Be sure to use a new post it for each individual task.

3.  Put the post-its in order. Consider – what has to come before another step, what would be the most logical way to do the work, if there is any significant wait time, and what would be best for you?  During this process you may think of extra steps.  Create a post-it for those steps and insert them into the process.

4.  Assign a length of time it will take to complete that step to each post-it – it could be 15 minutes, an hour or a week.

5.  If you have a deadline, start with the last post-it and write the deadline on that post-it, then using the time projection, working from the last post-it forward, date each post-it with the day it is due. If you can’t make the deadline as projected, better to see that now and make adjustments from the beginning.  If there is no forced deadline, start on the first post-it and assign due dates accordingly.

6.  If there is more than one person working on the project identify whose responsibility each specific task is (note on post-it)

7.  Transfer the post-it information (in order) to a project planning grid:

Project: Blog Schedule
Task Time needed to complete Who is responsible Date Due
1. Identify frequency of blog posts, # of blog posts needed 1 hour EF 12/5/14
2. Brainstorm possible blog topics 1 week EF 12/12/14
3. Select the best 26 topics 2 hours EF 12/14/14
4. Group topics in logical flow 2 hours EF 12/16/14

Planning the project is critical to completion.  Try this for your next project and let us know how it goes.

 

The Need for Order Continuum

Ever wonder why some people notice clutter and others don’t?  Have you been curious about why some people are comfortable going down a list while others prefer to hop around?  The answer is related to who they are, not to what they chose.

In the Coaching world, we look at needs and values to help our clients create environments in which they can be most successful.  Needs can include things such as Adventure, Fame, Fellowship, Freedom, Happiness, Health, Love, Power and ORDER.  Just like some people NEED adventure, others NEED order.

Another powerful Coaching tool is self-observation.  Have you ever observed yourself in terms of NEED FOR ORDER?  Awareness around its importance can be a wonderful clue to creating the environment in which you are most at ease.  With the degree of stress that most people feel, whatever can be done to create a less stressful/more productive environment should be prioritized.  Where do you fall on the Need for Order Continuum?

Need for Order
THE NEED FOR ORDER CONTINUUM

The first step is awareness.  The second step is thinking about what you can do to change your environment.

I’m curious to hear your thoughts.  Please leave a reply on my blog at http://www.ellenfaye.com/blog/.

 

4 Steps to Effective Decision Making

ideas spark ideas
ideas spark ideas

Being a solopreneur or telecommuter has many advantages. But there are also a few disadvantages.  One of them is that there is no one in the next office to bounce ideas off of. As the old saying goes “two heads are better than one.”  And the more I study group dynamics, the more I KNOW that many heads create best decisions.

But what happens when we are working alone? I see in many of my clients that making decisions often presents road blocks. From a productivity perspective, I don’t think that in this situation rushing to conclusion is the best solution.

To make a good decision, one should:

  1. Be clear about the problem and what you want to happen
  2. Gather facts – who, what, where, why, when, etc.
  3. Develop alternatives – brainstorm, discuss, debate
  4. Decide on the best solution – considering how it will affect other aspects of the business and analyzing consequences

1,2, and 4 we can do on our own. But who do we brainstorm with? Consider – a mastermind group, an accountability partner, a coach, a consultant, or colleagues from a professional association.  I depend on my NAPO colleagues most of the time.  When it’s a big decision I often consult an expert or coach.  Regardless, I know that ideas spark ideas, and for my decision making to be most effective I can’t do it alone.

What About That Summer Project?

What's on your list?
What’s on your list?

With the end of summer around the corner I’m sure there is an item or two left on your to-do list that you had expected to get done.  You’ve got one weekend left before Labor Day and that can have two good results:

  1. Choose to relax while you can and work on the project later.
  2. Choose to get the project done this weekend.

Seriously, the only bad result is if you waste your weekend telling yourself you’re going to get the project done, feel guilty, and don’t accomplish anything.  I know you can handle the relaxing on your own, but if you go with #2 here are some tips to help you get the project done!

Continue reading »

Productivity and Peace

Light Streaming Through the Crown of a Tree

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”  Albert Einstein

This great quote pretty well sums up why I’m in business. If you judge yourself by your ability to organize when that is not what you’re good at, you are not being fair to yourself. If you can value yourself for what you are good at, and find work-arounds for what isn’t so easy, then you’ve found a better route to productivity AND peace.

Own the Last Minute Pattern

If you thrive on deadlines, it’s better to plan for them than fight them. Worrying about if you are going to get done on time or being frustrated about how you’ve waited until the last minute is a complete waste of energy. Instead try planning your success:

  1. Plan backwards to your deadline – identify exactly when you need to finish the project. Don’t build in extra time. If it’s due Thursday at noon it needs to be done Thursday at noon.
  2. Write down the steps you need to accomplish. Identify each step on its own index card or post-it. That way you can keep the current step top of mind and not worry about anything else. Put them in order.    Continue reading »

Why Be Organized?

  • Do you think things should be neater?
  • Are you worried about what other people think of you?
  • Are you trying to please a spouse or a boss?

These reasons are sound. But will they motivate you? Are they important enough to give up your valuable time and energy to get organized? Probably not.

A better approach may be to find your own motivation. What is it you want that you don’t have?

Rutabagas or Sweet Potatoes?

Most days we have too much to do, too much on our plate so to speak.  If we continually fill our lives with things to please others or only do those things we think we should do, our lives become unfulfilling and mundane.

Think of life like a Thanksgiving plate.  I’m confident that on Thursday you’ll be selective about what you put on your plate so that you have room for all your favorite things.  If you fill up on rutabagas and parsnips just how much room will you have for sweet potatoes and pie?

Live your life like you fill your Thanksgiving plate – be selective about how you spend your time – and you’ll be more satisfied and fulfilled.

What is an Organizer Coach?

Help with the WHY’s and HOW’s
A professional organizer helps the client with the “hows.” A professional coach helps the client with the “whys.” An Organizer Coach combines these two valuable skills to best move clients towards their visions and goals in a realistic, manageable, and dynamic way.

A Professional Organizer enhances the lives of clients by designing systems and processes using organizing principles and through transferring organizing skills. (source: National Association of Professional Organizers)

A Coach is a trained professional who partners with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. (source: International Coaching Federation)

A professional organizer’s work is extraordinarily valuable to many individuals in many different situations. Learning new ways to manage space and possessions can have a substantial impact on improving the quality of people’s work and lives. But sometimes the actual act of organizing isn’t enough. For some people it is important to delve into the “whys.” Utilizing coaching techniques, an Organizer Coach can help clients:

  • gain clarity around their long term vision for their work and life
  • understand the value of creating work processes and systems to complement their visions and goals
  • anchor their actions with their long term goals through action plans, accountability systems, and support

Typically when organizing a business client we begin by assessing what is working, what isn’t working, and where the stressors are. By evaluating these issues utilizing a coaching style, the root problems tend to surface. Only when we understand the true problem can we solve it in a way that is longlasting and sustainable.