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Work Life Balance Steps to Achieve it with Holistic Organizing

Today, we are talking about a work life balance and how holistic organizing can help you get closer to achieving it.

What is Work-Life Balance

What is the importance of work life balance and how do I achieve it?  Well, it is something that many people feel is impossible to achieve.  I believe it is achievable, but I prefer the more accurate term of work-life integration, because I am not sure you ever truly achieve balance.

Work-life integration is really about determining how to balance work and life in a way that gives both equal amounts of attention.  When you think about it most people work because they want to provide for their family, but if you work too much you neglect the very thing you are working hard for.

There has to be more of an integration of equal parts, so it looks more like work and life, work and family, life and family, etc. this way no side receives more attention than the other.  In layman terms, today you divide your time as 20% self, 40% work and 40% life; tomorrow it’s 60% work and 40% life and so on.

What is Holistic Organizing

Holistic organizing is organizing based on you as a whole person, taking into consideration all contributing factors or dependent things. What most people do is they organized based on a particular area or thing.  Take for example your calendar, a lot of people separate their work and personal calendars.  Some even go as far as to have a work, personal and family calendar.  The question I have for you is why?

How do you know your true availability if you don’t consider your calendar as a whole?  Think about it, you are one person that wears many hats, you are trying to segment your life into all these different buckets – work, personal, wife, mother, church, non-profit organization, etc. To separate them doesn’t make sense.  Although you wear these different hats, all of these areas need you.

A lot of times I find that women try to keep all of their business stuff separated in their work calendar and then they try to keep all of their family stuff separated over in another calendar and all the side organization stuff separated over in a folder.

The problem with that is you are still one person and you can only be one place at one time and so it’s important for you to set up a system that accommodates and allows you to manage that reality.  This allows you not only to know what you have going on, but where you are spending your time.

By understanding this holistic organizing concept of there is only one you, it is going to help you in your organizational journey and with your work life balance.  When I’m working with clients, I often hear that they regularly double-booked themselves because they forgot an important meeting or a commitment. They then end up feeling guilty because they have to disappoint someone or try to do both and end up falling short of the mark, not giving 100% to either things…which ultimately does them and whatever the “thing” was a disservice.

An Important Work Life Balance Tip

Keep one calendar and use different categories or colors within that calendar to identify your different hats.  I’m a visual person so I really like color-coding, especially on my phone.  That way at a glance I know if it is work, personal or THB related.

The way this helps in your work life integration process is that now you can see when you have a big thing going on at work.  You can plan accordingly in your family or other hat situations.  I often times will tell my husband when I expect to have a really busy week at work.  This puts him on notice – I might be hard to get in touch with at work, don’t try to schedule a bunch of stuff that requires me and I may be exhausted when I come home.

It also puts him on notice that I may need help with our daughter or it might explain my mood swings, in case they are drastic.

Navigate Work Life Balance with Your Spouse

Work Life Balance - Spouse | The Happiness Bucket

If you are married, I have a trick for you.  I encourage you to create a way of sharing your calendars among each other. My favorite trick is to always send a meeting request to my husband when there is something that involves him or my daughter or that is going to put me out of commission.

For example, when I travel for work, I send my husband and my mom a meeting request for the full week that has a subject of Dana out of Town and then in the body specifics as to where I’m going to be and what they need to do.

By doing this it places a tentative appointment on their calendars (whether they accept the meeting or not).  So, when they look at their calendar to book something they see it and will know not to double book or to discuss it with me or each other.  This is also followed up with a conversation.

 

Identifying House Rules for Work Life Balance

Now, one thing that you need to do to ensure this process works is to establish clear house rules between you and your family.  I recommend everyone sitting down and discussing calendars and commitments as a family to establish clear rules.

Some given rules is related to your work schedule, even if you are an entrepreneur you should have clear work hours and they shouldn’t be all day.  Now, some do this by committing to a percentage for the week, others just give definite hours.  Whichever works for you make sure everyone is heard and taken into consideration.  No one person is more important than another.

In my household, my husband and I decided that our daughter would only be in one extra-curricular activity at any one given time.  We realized that it is just too much to try and have her in multiple things with our already difficult commute and schedule.  We also try to keep these activities limited to the weekends.  When it comes to weekend activities, we always double-check with each other before giving a firm commitment to anything.  Often times we may give a soft commitment (let me check with XYZ to make sure there isn’t something I am not aware of but I think that date/time will work).

By doing this it helps eliminate frustration of one parent having less “self” time than another, or feeling overwhelmed because they had a busy week.  It also helps the parents split responsibilities of taking the child where ever they need to go, especially on the weekends or non-work times.

Electronic Calendars vs. Paper Calendars

I am team electronic calendars.  The main reason is because they are easier to share and edit than a paper calendar.  So, assuming you went the shared family calendar route, does your family know how to access it?

I’d recommend adding it to their cell phone, I mean who doesn’t have a smart phone these days?  Make sure those who have booking rights can add to it (many times children don’t have edit rights to ensure they get approval from a parent first).  The kids should have read only rights to the calendar so they too can identify the needs of the family.  This is important in the family dynamic to start teaching them how to plan and contribute to a team.

The important thing to remember is if you aren’t sharing important dates and potential conflicts, how is the other person/people going to know?  If you are planning all of your stuff separately it is inevitable that you are going to double book yourself or forget about some things so try the one calendar or family calendar system.

If you have questions about this process, join our Facebook community or by comment below and let’s have a conversation.

5 Proactive Business Processes All Small Businesses Should Implement

In observing and working with small businesses, I have found that many are missing some basic business processes.  These omissions can be detrimental to their success as a business and a business owner. Now, I know many of us learn on the job, but there are a few business processes that are important for you to get right, straight out the gate.

5 proactive business processes for small businesses | The Happiness Bucket

If you find you need to resolve a number of these areas in your business don’t worry. Business processes aren’t necessarily a small business owner’s specialty, your craft is.  The good thing is it is my specialty and I’m gonna help you through it all.

By making a few of these small changes in your processes, you can go from being a reactive business to a proactive one. Driving potential customers to your product or service, instead of to your competitors.

So lets get into these 5 business process tips:

Anticipate Your Customer’s Needs

When you are creating processes in your business, you should do so by anticipating your customer’s needs, before they even know they need it.

First, you should identify who your target market or ideal customer is and what types of questions they typically ask. This will help you identify the answers to those questions ahead of time, so they don’t have to ask. Take for example you are a website developer.

Lets assume you are working with a Client who has never participated in a website development project. You may need to hold your client’s hand so they understand the process from start to finish. If you are working with a customer who has had a website developed before, they will have a different understanding of the process. Your experience with them may be on a more technical level. Additionally, the development of a small website is different from a large website.

You also have to use your emotional intelligence to pickup on the things that aren’t said. If you are explaining a concept and there are confused faces in the room, this may be a sign.  Your explanation may need to be more basic. You also might need to approach it from a different direction so your customer understands. The truth is that many times customers don’t know what they don’t know.

Identify the areas of angst or problems that you typically have with customers and ensure your Client fully understands them. Don’t be afraid to explain it back to them or to ask them to put it into their own words. Sometimes you may think the Client understands, but when they explain their understanding of the concept or process isn’t accurate.

By taking this small step, it makes your customers feel understood, supported and safe doing business with you.

Create Business Policies

Many customers want to know their risk level upfront before they commit to doing business with you. Think about the things you want to put into place to protect not only your business, but your customers too. What things would you want to know about a company if you were the customer? Ensure you have those same policies and guidelines in place.

Another good way to identify your necessary or missing policies is to think about all the things you liked or didn’t like about your last experience as a customer.  What about during your last failed engagement with a Client, where was the confusion? What areas do you feel could have been clarified at the beginning of the engagement?

In most cases, policies are presented during the contract signing process. I encourage you to consider providing them to your customer as early as possible during the wooing period. It reaffirms the know, trust and like factor.  The company that is more forthcoming regarding their policies, is often more likely to gain the business.

A Real Life Example – Chick-Fil-A

An example of this concept is Chic-fil-a. Their policies are well known and they have nothing to do with what they are selling. Most of their customers know they are closed on Sunday and why.

As a customer, you know that their employees respond with, “my pleasure” when you are being served and it is delivered in a way that you truly believe it is their pleasure. They also play Christian music in their restaurants. These policies aren’t liked by everyone, but if you want their product you understand that these are the restaurant’s policies. You can choose to frequent them or not.

Frequently Asked Questions

This leads me to another area where you can anticipate need, which is by having a frequently asked questions (FAQ) list. You can easily build this list from the questions people regularly ask. You can choose where you provide access to this information, it may be once a person shows interest in your service/product that you provide it to them, or you may just list it on your website for easy access. I find this usually depends on your industry and whether or not you provide a service or a product. I personally don’t think there is a right or wrong answer, just do what works best for you and makes you and your customer feel comfortable.

Again, think through your last experience as a customer and gleam from that. What were your steps to selecting the vendor you did? Did you research them or approach them with a list of questions? Now, go through a mock session as your Client (or better yet get a person who can serve as your Client to walk through your process) and identify where there are holes that you can fill with a FAQ.

Identify Customer Requirements

Place yourself in the position of your customer and try to think through the expectation or requirements they may have for your service or product. A landscaper needs a customer to make specific decisions or provide specific information. This information will help them complete the job as expected by the customer. For example, how low do you want the grass cut, are there restrictions in your neighborhood, how often should you come, etc. By obtaining this information ahead of time, it sets the expectations and the requirements for the job. Creating customer information forms or questionnaires can help identify and capture these requirements from the customer.

Another thing you have to be careful of is not assuming all customers are the same. Meaning that once the form or questionnaire is completed, that you actually review and discuss it with them to ensure you are interpreting their responses correctly. You also want to ensure the customer signs off on the summary of requirements before you begin work and identify how changes to the requirements will be handled.

Quality Assurance

This is an area that is often missed. Testing and looking for quality within your product or service is critical for retaining clients. You should test your processes in both a controlled and uncontrolled environment. Walk through your processes as though you are your ideal customer, to ensure you have thought through all the possible scenarios (or the top three) that could come up. Once you feel comfortable with your processes, have someone else walk through it without your assistance to see if they notice anything that isn’t right or to see if they have any questions about the process.

You should also build in quality checks periodically even though your underlying process may not have changed. This is because platforms change all the time, and it may affect your process without you even knowing it. An example of this is when social media sites update their platforms. They change image sizes, algorithms and where things are located. If you aren’t doing periodic checks you may be directing potential clients one way only for that way not to be working any longer.

In Summary, you can’t always anticipate everything in your business, but you can do some preventive maintenance on your business processes so you are 90% proactive and 10% reactive. If you follow these five easy steps you will make your potential Client’s experience an enjoyable one which will increase the likelihood that they will become Clients and that you will be able to retain their business.

Dana is a Holistic Organizer, Certified Project Manager and Life Coach in Nashville, TN.  Join the Happiness Deposits newsletter for more organizing tips related to space, life, soul and business.