• Communicate to succeed. One of the most important small actions you can take to make work and life run smoothly is to communicate with the right people. Yost says if you plan a long weekend away, coordinate with your co-workers or staff.
They may be aware you’re not a work, but don’t know how and when you want them to cover for you. As a result, you end up answering emails and phone calls that they could have handled. “All it would have taken was a 15-minute conversation updating them and giving permission to take over for you.”
• Build your army. Luly Balepogi, founder of Luly B Inc, a Miami mentor to mom entrepreneurs, found “naturals” at work life balance usually have a team behind them — at work or home.
Balepogi built hers out of necessity. After chaotic afternoons juggling afterschool pick up, kids activities and work calls, she brought her mother and mother-in-law on board to help her. Now, they pick her children up after school, giving her three extra hours of office time.
“It’s a small thing that made a huge difference. You have to admit you can’t do it all and that it’s OK to have an army to help.”
• Avert a crisis before it happens. Yost says naturals are proactive, not reactive and weave small actions into their schedule that prevent chaos. This might include finding a primary care physician or pediatrician who is open early, late and on weekends. It could be scheduling a meeting with a geriatric care manager.
One accountant, a rabid football fan, would talk to the office/ scheduler on Monday morning and explain how he needed to be off on Saturday, recounts Yost in her book. He would then take on extra work during the week so he could be at the game. “In the past, when there were walls and clocks, workers could get away with less deliberate planning ahead,” Yost says. “Today there isn’t that clarity so we all need an extra layer of coordination.”
• Make 70 percent your goal. For competent jugglers, the goal is not perfection, Yost discovered. “They didn’t beat up themselves when expectations for the week didn’t happen. They were happy with what they got accomplished.” Aim for 100 percent but make 70 percent of your week’s targeted actions your goal. “If you get 50 percent done, that’s better than nothing.”
Workplace columnist Cindy Krischer Goodman is CEO of BalanceGal, a provider of news and advice on how to balance work and life. Email her at email@example.com or visit worklifebalancingact.com.