How to deal with stress is a mystery to many of us type-A personalities. Get-It-Done Guy shows you that a little, explicit work-life balance and self-care can go a long way.
This way, you can measure progress and feel good when the distance between you and the goal is shrinking. When you're anxious that you're not succeeding fast enough and you don't know how to reduce the anxiety, just shrink the number in the goal, and voila - in a heartbeat, you're much closer to the goal!
(The Buddha would point out that repeatedly using this technique would result in you reducing your goal to whatever you have at the moment and simply being present. You would love the life you have, the people you have, the things you have, and you would be happy right here and now. I am not the Buddha, so please send cash.)
Sometimes it isn't that you're doing too much work, it's that you're not doing enough life. Work-life balance means you have to spend time doing the life thing, too: taking time off, spending time with friends, playing board games, and taking care of yourself.
When it comes to work, most of us keep appointments we've scheduled. But when it comes to life, we don't even make appointments. So start now. At the start of your year, schedule some holidays and some time off. Every month, schedule time with friends. And every week, schedule some time to do something nice for yourself that is pure self-care. My personal favorite is massages.
Enlist "Little You" in Finding Work-Life Balance
If it's hard for you to follow through on your self-care, don't do it for yourself, exactly. Follow my friend Tim's advice. He says:
"I'm bad at being nice to myself, but great at being nice to other people. So on my day off, I imagine I'm with a small child (who just happens to be named Timmy), and ask him what he'd like to do. I am nicer and more caring towards little Timmy, because I care about him. While I might skimp on taking care of myself, I could never do that to a child I love."
When stress rears its head, and work-life balance is at stake, you need to know how to reduce anxiety. It might be coming from your goals. If your goals are always-receding and can never be met, change them to be more specific (and realistic). Schedule self-care first and then schedule your work around it. And if self-care isn't your thing, pretend you're taking care of yourself as a young child. And if younger you is listening right now, buy yourself a drum set, and if older you doesn't do the right thing, start practicing.
This is Stever Robbins. Send suggestions for topics and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. I advise CEOs on strategy, succession planning, and people issues. If you want to know more, visit SteverRobbins.com.