Debbie Mayo-Smith

A motivational speaker gives her tips on business success

Debbie Mayo-Smith: Can you achieve work life balance?

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You have to be more focused to balance life with work. Photo / Thinkstock
You have to be more focused to balance life with work. Photo / Thinkstock

Do you worry about trying to attain more work/life balance? It's often asked of me personally how I manage a family of six children including twins and triplets (not to mention three cats and two dogs that only I walk) while running my own business and traveling so much.

I believe the concept of balance is bologna. A pure fallacy.

The only thing you can do is free up some time from Peter to pay Paul so to speak. To do that, as time doesn't appear out of thin air, you have to be more effective and make harder choices about what you do with your time, in other words be more focused.

Effectiveness is doing what you chose to do better. Meaning quicker, smarter, faster. Choice means focusing. Focus your time and do the right activity for you personally.

This problem falls more often on women's shoulders. The reality is that one can't do it all or have it all. You cannot work fifty hours a week, bake your bread, raise happy children, be a sex goddess/god, keep a perfect house, do your own accounts, be an involved school / sport / community parent and get enough sleep.

There are only 24 hours in a day no matter how great at multitasking you are.

To focus your time and your effort, first look at all the activities you do in each role of your life. What do you do as a parent (driving kids, after school sports, homework, cook their meals, spend time with them), a partner, a community member, in business (as an
employee, executive or business owner).

After you list all your activities, label them A through D as follows.

A: very important what you personally absolutely must do
B: important what you should do
C: things that are nice for you to do
D: delegate
E: eliminate, whenever possible

When you start getting rid of the 'D's' and 'E's' you'll free up time. Time that can either be spent doing those important items that don't seem to get done or that somehow slip through. You'll gain balance and improve your business success.

One of the best ways you can be more effective is to champion technology.

For years I've been talking about learning your software better. That's one area you get the maximum time gain from minimum effort. For example learning about Rules/Filters in your email program helps clear your inbox faster by automating reading, answering, filing emails.

It's not just your software. I think you must have a smart phone for the freedom, time saving and competitive they give you. A smartphone in hand is like having 80 per cent of your office with you. You can keep up with emails and phone calls in your downtime throughout the day when you're out - instead of coming back home and having to spend 7-10 pm catching up.

Another little trick is to be a diligent list keeper. Paper and electronic
You know that keeping a list helps keep you organised, allows you to group disparate items together to save time and helps you not to forget. There's nothing like a to-do list to save you time and to enjoy the delicious satisfaction of crossing things off. A good idea is to use paper lists for your short term 'to-do' items and your computer / phone Tasks function for your long term 'elephant memory'.

Here is a free personal goal setting and activity worksheet you can download from my website.

Written by international speaker and bestselling author Debbie Mayo-Smith. For more tips, over 500 how-to articles visit Debbie's article webpage.

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