Ah, the age old question—can you have that coveted work/life balance? Is it just “urban legend” or as they say, “where there’s a will, there’s a way?” According to business consultant, leadership expert and Master Level Ninja Coach Clara Capano, it’s not a myth! So, as you get ready to start the new school year, there are realistic and attainable ways to release your stress and start enjoying life. Every angle of it!
So, how does a ninja achieve balance and harmony? With hard work (all things worth having will never just be handed to you) and believing that you deserve it. It won’t happen overnight, but using these nine tips will move you towards a more balanced and fulfilled way of living.
1. Schedule life first, work second
Take 30 minutes every Sunday night to get a game plan together and plan your schedule for the upcoming week. But note, this is where most miss an opportunity; they put their work week together and don’t plan time for life. Capano’s suggestion? Start with life first. “For me, the first things I put into my schedule is time with my son and to exercise,” she explains. “Without these two things, life has no meaning. I also block down time to work on projects and be social. What is left is when I am open to work.” By planning your week before it starts, you take charge of your work/life balance. And, you can give to work openly and be present there because you know you’ve made time for life too.
2. Create a morning routine
Start every day by setting intentions for what’s ahead. “When I wake up, I spend a few minutes being grateful and journaling and then go for a walk or to the gym,” says Capano. “I find this quiets my mind and gets me ready for the day. This also makes me feel accomplished, energized and focused. You may choose to do something similar, or your own version. Perhaps you would read, pray, meditate . . .it doesn’t matter. The idea is to start your day on your terms and create stability, consistency, and a work/life balance. The rest of the day will then fall into place.”
3. Make “bubble time”
Often, we find ourselves multi-tasking to make it through the day.The reality is that multi-tasking doesn’t exist. And in fact, when we do this, it actually takes us three times longer to complete tasks. “Block your days into hour increments. For the first 45 minutes, you work without distractions like phone, email, social media or people,” explains Capano. “You focus and work for 45 minutes. Then you take a 15 minute break.” The 45 minutes of work will allow you to accomplish tasks quicker and with more attention to detail. Plus it goes by quickly — everyone can handle 45 minutes of something. And know that you can use “bubble time” for anything from organizing your office to completing a project to even chores around the house. It helps you accomplish tasks so that you’re present in the moment and can finish your day strong, allowing you to go home with a sense of accomplishment and peace.
This is your secret weapon! “We push ourselves so hard and put rest on the back burner. But, we need sleep to stay focused, energized and healthy!” explains Capano. “Studies have even found that when we’re sleep deprived, we’re more detrimental than if we text and drive. That’s powerful!” To help you sleep better, have a set bedtime and make your bedroom a haven that relaxes and comforts you—fill it with color, pillows and a nice mattress. And, turn off your phone. In fact, don’t even bring it into the room with you at night. We promise it will still be there in the morning!
Like sleep, exercise is essential in order to better serve others. It reduces stress and anxiety which then allows for creativity and building energy. “Exercise helps to keep you healthy and strong. Have you ever tired to take care of others when you are sick? It doesn’t work well,” says Capano. “Taking even a few minutes daily will help you stay fresh, energized and healthy.”
6. Journal the good times
Journal about positive things—fun moments, things you’ve learned. . . “When you journal, you’re able to re-live the event, therefore bringing more happiness and a feeling of contentment. It’s a great way to focus on who you are and who you’re becoming,” says Capano. The more you write, the more you can see if your work/life balance exists.
7. Be grateful
Some days it feels harder than others to feel grateful, but the reasons are always there. It could your family, your success or simple things like a good cup of coffee or heated seats in the winter. “Being grateful is all about your mindset which is critical in success and having balance,” says Capano. “When you’re ‘in’ gratitude, you cannot be ‘in’ sadness, anger or frustration. It allows you to be more peaceful which naturally brings about more balance.
8. Laugh it out
They say laughter is the best medicine and here’s why: it decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease. Laughter also triggers the release of endorphins, your body’s natural feel-good chemicals. That promotes an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain. Plus, doesn’t it just feel good!? So, grab some friends, see a good movie, a comedy show or simply talk while allowing yourself to be free and present in the moment.
9. Expand your life
One of the best ways to achieve work/life balance is by living a full life. You cannot live only to work or only for your family. You must have outside interests just for you. “If you put all your happiness in one basket, and that area suffers—you will get off kilter,” explains Capano. “The more you stretch yourself and pursue ways to live fully, your happiness will come from many angles.” Some ways to do this include taking a new class, picking up a new hobby or going out with people beyond your usual circles. Or, you can even start doing more things alone. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone!
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