But before we press on, I’m curious:
How do you define balance?
We may have different ideas - so you share yours and I’ll share mine.
My definition? Balance is when I’m generally feeling good about my work. I’m not taking it too seriously and stressing myself out, but I’m not slacking either. I’m producing quality content, connecting with others, and truly enjoying my time working.
It’s easy enough to define, but creating the balance hasn’t always been so easy.
There are many good ways to strike a good balance – I’m sure you’ve got a ton of ‘em! (Which I’d LOVE to hear in the comments)
There’s one, though, that I think you might LOVE.
It’s my new favorite method, and here it is:
Holding a monthly meeting with yourself.
Many people instinctively yawn at the word ‘meeting’ (sorry for making you yawn ). But this isn’t any ol’ meeting. This is YOUR meeting, about YOUR passion and YOUR work.
You’re running the show – you can have it where you want, when you want, how you want.
You can wear a flashy suit or your comfiest pajamas, at the swankiest dinner spot or your coziest recliner. This is your meeting.
Mine was pretty informal. It was just me in my favorite pjs, nestled into the couch with my laptop and a notebook. I think next time I’ll take myself out to lunch – just to make it a little more official. Plus, who doesn’t love lunch?!
Although, when I do it at home, I can talk to myself as I go…And who doesn’t like talking to themselves? Maybe I’m alone on this one…
Anywho, do your meeting your way. But there are some key ideas you might want to address:
On the agenda:
1. Let it all out. Yes, ALL of it: the frustration, anxiety, uncertainty, joy, curiosity. All of those little things you’ve been wanting to tweak but have been too freaked out or busy to change. Every last nagging thought – you know, the ones that tell you to quit, the ones that say you’ll fail, the ones that nag you to work harder (but you don’t wanna! ) Think of this as en emotional cleansing – because like it or not, our work can be an emotional roller coaster.
Feel better? Fantastic. Let’s move on.
2. Examine the facts. Those stats you’ve been obsessing over every day? Take a look. Take TEN looks. Stare at those stats until your eyes glaze over and you’re 5lbs lighter from lack of food (or not – yeah, don’t do that.) Now is the time to get analytical.
- How much progress have you made?
- What were your best days?
- Are there any patterns?
- What kinds of conclusions can you draw from this info?
3. Explore your work. Take a good, hard look. Really dig in, dive deep, and experience your work as if you were an outsider discovering it for the first time.
- Have you been producing quality content?
- How were the reactions?
- Try looking objectively: would you be interested in or impressed by your work if you weren’t you?
4. Make 2 lists: “Jobs Well Done” and “What to Improve.” In the first list, praise the hell outta yourself. What went right? Did you dazzle a prospective client and gain 3 more? Has your subscriber count skyrocketed? Was your series on meditation a total hit? I don’t want your ego knocking you outta your chair, so when you’re good and praised, move on to the second list. What can you do better? Are your blog post titles lacking? Could you provide better customer service? Is there a glaring error on your site that’s needed fixing for a while? Write ‘em down.
5. Consider everything: the facts, the work, jobs well done and what could be better. From this, choose 3 – 5 areas to work on in the next month. How many you choose will depend on how big they are – for example, you won’t wanna take on 5 if they’re all week-long projects. In choosing a focus and some action steps for the next month, you’re setting an expectation for yourself.
The beautiful thing about doing it this way is that you won’t have to think about it for another month! You know what you need to do. There’s no obsessing, worrying, or thinking about it. There’s just doing. You need to work on your subscriber count (me too )? Great, you know what you’re working on until your next meeting. And there’s no reason to obsess over it until then, because ONLY then is it time to check stats and progress. Until then, just keep going.
When you hold a monthly meeting, it frees you from obsession and worry. You leave all of that on the table and move forward feeling informed and ready to tackle the next month.
If that’s not reason enough to give it a whirl, here are 5 more:
- It helps you deal with negative emotions. These will naturally arise during the course of the month. Hell, they’ll keep on arising for the rest of your life! When you have a monthly meeting to look forward to, it helps you to not take those dark thoughts so seriously. Thinking about shutting down your blog mid-month? You can address that during your next meeting. By then, that notion will probably be long forgotten. See how that works?
- It lets you evaluate without being obsessive. I’m a compulsive stats checker. Having this monthly meeting allows me to let some of that go, because I know that at my next meeting, I’ll be able to obsess all I want. Besides, saving the evaluation for once a month allows time for patterns to develop that you might not see if you’re checking every day.
- It gets you to see the big picture. When you look at everything once a month, you can more easily see what you’re doing right (and what you need to work on). Stepping back and getting to see the whole picture can be mindblowingly helpful. It’s like if you’re working on a puzzle and just staring at one corner for a while, trying to make this one piece fit. When you lean back and look at the big picture, you just might find that the piece fits elsewhere. The same thing could happen with your work.
- It makes you feel better! Setting aside time every month to acknowledge your accomplishments is a great practice. Pat yourself on the back – you deserve it!
- It gives you direction. At the end of the meeting, you know what you’re doing for the next month. Never do you have to stop and wonder (which often turns into over thinking/stressing) – you just keep moving.
Well, there you have it! 5 damn good reasons to at least give this meeting thing a shot. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
So grab your softest pjs and a hot mug o’ motivation, or head out to your favorite lunch spot, and get down to business!
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments:
What do you think? How could a monthly meeting benefit you? What are your favorite ways to find balance at work?
Peace, love and a steaming cup of Zen,