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I love the underlying concept of work-life balance, but I don’t love the practicality of it. The word “balance” implies an even distribution over the course of time. So if you work too much one week, you will have to spend more time with the family the next, and vice-versa. You never arrive at your goal because this is an uncertain finish line. Luckily, there is a better way.

For years I have coached and trained others to live a more intentional life, and I am also on the same journey.  I have found that most people have a desire to change but become incredibly frustrated with the results they’re getting. Even worse, they look at those who seem to have it all together and have limiting beliefs that they can’t do the same.  I know how they feel as I have been there as well.

One of the greatest trades you can make when it comes to productivity is trading balance for healthy rhythms. While balance is unclear, rhythms are defined through a series of habits.

Almost forty percent of your actions are simply your habits according to the best selling book The Power of Habits. So if you change your habits, you will change your life. In order to create healthy rhythms, you will need to follow these five steps.

1. Decide on your goals.

The first step in the process of creating health in your life and business is deciding your desired destination, or goals. You need to clearly define what is your most important goal for the main areas of your life. We have our clients fill out a life and business plan.

Your goal should be in the form of x to y by z. For instance, your work goal may be to bring up sales revenue from one million dollars in quarter one to one million two hundred thousand dollars by the end of quarter 2. You may have a personal goal of losing fifteen pounds in the next 60 days.

2. Define your habits.

Once you have clarity on what your most important goal is for an area of life, you need to add the specific habit(s) that will help you to achieve it. Keep in mind that there are some habits, called keystone habits,  that set off a chain reaction for others to happen.

If you are a business owner, one of your habits could be to spend four hours a week working on the business instead of just in the business. Your keystone habit for your sales goal may be to contact ten loyal customers a week to see how they are doing and if they need any further assistance. Your habit to lose weight may be to write down your caloric intake every day and not to exceed so many calories.

Choose one or two habits that when done either on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, that will ensure that you will hit your goal.

3. Disrupt your schedule.

If the way you are currently spending your time is not giving you your desired results, then it’s time for a schedule change. You will most likely need to change your schedule to thrive in your key areas such as self-development, relationships, and business.

Some of your current fruitless activities will change and its place will be slotted for your new habits.

We look at the schedule a week at a time and call it our weekly rhythm. Inside your weekly rhythm is time to accomplish your habits and ultimately ensure reaching your goals.

4. Draw lines in the sand.

You can do anything, but you can’t do everything. In order to accomplish your goals, you are going to have to set some healthy boundaries in your life. There will be times when you say “no” to the good so you can say “yes” to the great.

Since you already have your time slots full of your new habits, you can say no to things since you have a prior commitment. This part will make or break your ability to grow your business or personal life.

5. Dig your heels in.

I would love to say that everything will magically fall into place once you start, but there will be resistance. That resistance will come from the fact you’re already predisposed to your current habits and life itself.

How long does it take to form a new habit? Though it varies, research shows it more likely to take two months or so. This is one of the benefits of our year-long leadership coaching program, the opportunity to solidify many new habits. Here is the good news–once something becomes a habit, it does not require much effort to keep it going.

Take some time and clarify your goals and follow the steps in order. Plan today for the business or life you want to live tomorrow.

Years ago, I began to focus on time management, productivity and living a priority driven life. It was during this season that adopted the process of making a life, organization, and time plan. As a result of implementing these three plans, I have seen results in all areas.
One of the keys to the life, organizational, and time plan is a periodic review. In fact, a quarterly review and revision of each of these plans are essential. It helps to give you the focus you need for the next quarter.
Recently, I have looked at my whole process slightly different. One of the biggest changes would be the way I try to revise the plans. Typically, you would make sure you are making time for your predetermined priorities.
While I still do this, there has been some slight change of perspectives. One of the best ways to open your heart and mind up to future direction is by asking yourself some questions.
1. What is this season for?
What was important six months ago may not be as important today. In light of changing priorities, this is a good question to lead with as you are revising these plans.
Your highest priorities, likely relationship based, should always be at the top of your list. What you focus on in each season with your priorities can change.
Keep in mind, If you are in a season of huge transition or something new is happening, such as having a baby, launching a new initiative, or helping an elderly parent who is recovering from injury, the way you spend your discretionary time will vary from last season.
2. What do I need to say yes to in this season?
Because each season is different, there will be things that you will need to say yes to in order to focus on priorities. You may have a spouse, parent, or child who needs extra attention and cares this season.  Your marriage may be struggling and you may need to find a small group to learn how to love your spouse more effectively.
The goal once you decide what the season is for is to decide what do you need to do to make sure you are caring and investing in your priorities. So what are your priorities?

3. What do I need to say no to in this season?

Even more important than the ability to say yes, is the ability to say no. Remember, you can do anything, but you can’t-do everything.
I am still a recovering people pleaser. I want to say yes to almost everyone, but I can’t, and neither can you. If you say yes to everyone, you will end up having to neglect your priorities at some point.
Here is a list of a few things you may say not to: working late every night, watching television late every night, putting purchases on credit cards, spending hours a day on social media. All of these add stress to your life or consume a good amount of time while taking away from more important priorities.
I would love to learn which one of these questions are most beneficial, or what other ways have you found helpful to give yourself a healthy perspective for a new season.

There can be a myriad of things trying to get our attention, and consequently pulling us away from the things we want to accomplish.

Over the last few years, I have set many personal and professional goals. My personal goals usually revolve around my key relationships and family goals, while my professional ones are around developing the people and organizations I lead.

I have had seasons where I was failing at accomplishing most of my goals. While I had clarity around what I wanted to accomplish, I was failing on execution. Then a solution came.

While on the phone one day, someone told me that there were some goals if accomplished would help you accomplish many other goals. So instead of focusing on dozens of goals, we can accomplish more if we have just a few goals.

1. Personal:

Is there one goal personally that if accomplished, will help you accomplish your other important goals?

For instance, eating healthy will help you with your fitness and health goals. Another benefit is that you may eat out less, which will help you achieve your financial goals.

For me, my one goal that helps accomplish many others is waking up early. If I wake up hours before the rest of the house, it helps me accomplish my goals in the areas of faith, health, and my coaching business. In fact, I am writing this post while the rest of the house is sleeping.

2. Organizational:

You have probably seen a company or department have ten to fifteen goals they are trying to accomplish this year. So how many of those get achieved? Very few.

Look at the findings of the Franklin Covey group shared in the book  The Four Disciplines of Execution:

If a team focuses on two or even three goals beyond the demands of their whirlwind, they can often accomplish them. However, if they set four to ten goals, our experience has been that they will achieve only one or two. They’ll be going backward! If they go after eleven to twenty goals in addition to the whirlwind, they’ll lose all focus. Confronted with so many goals the team members will stop listening let alone executing. Why is this so? The fundamental principle at work in Discipline 1 is that human beings are genetically hardwired to do one thing at a time with excellence.

The book also stresses that organizations should only attempt to achieve one or two wildly important goals (WIG) at a time.

The less you do, the more you can do with excellence. If you focus on just a one or two wildly important goals in your life and business, you will get more done, by focusing on less.

What is your wildly important goal in your personal and professional life?

There are those seasons of life that are incredibly busy. These seasons have the potential to chew us up and spit us out, but you can learn to thrive in them.

I am currently in an incredibly busy season of life. Just sitting here writing this post makes me think of the millions of other things I have to do. We have a large initiative at the church I lead; I’m preparing for outside speaking engagements, I am having some issues with an investment property, and more. I know that many of you reading this are just as busy as I am, if not more.

If I am not careful this busy season will really wear me out, and this has, in fact, happened to me in the past. Luckily, there is a better way.

One of the busiest seasons of my life was two years ago. I was completely overwhelmed. One day I was on the phone with my coach, and he really helped me put things into perspective. He essentially let me know that I may not be able to accomplish everything on my list, but I needed to ask myself what 3-5 things if done with excellence would be enough.

My desire is to help you navigate this season of overwhelm by doing a few necessary things.

1. Say yes to priorities.

You need to discover what your priorities are in this season. Take a moment to write down what the most important things are that need to be done.

One of my favorite books on the subject of priorities is Essentialism, by Greg McKeown. In that book Greg states, “If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.” I don’t believe that you want someone else choosing your priorities for you.

In order to help you decide your priorities, use the Steven Covey quadrant to help you decipher what is most important. Over time you will be able to do this without having to use the quadrant, as it will become second nature to you.

2. Say no to things that are not priorities.

When things are busy we can get tired and our decision-making skills will not be as sharp. During busy seasons you have to be especially careful about what you say yes to.

Your time is a limited commodity, as there are only so many hours in the day. Because of this, every time you say yes to one thing you are saying no to something else. So, by saying yes to one thing, you may be saying no to your family, sleep, or finances.

When you get a request from someone and you know it’s not a priority, you can simply tell them that in order to be faithful to prior commitments you have to say no. If it’s your boss, you may have to tell them that yes, you can do this, but then ask which other tasks they want you to give up.

3. Say yes to rest.

Many times you may sacrifice rest when times are busy. Do yourself a favor; say yes to a good night’s sleep. Now, this may look different for you than others but get enough sleep. If you get the adequate sleep you are less likely to be stressed, and people will want to be around you more. If you are like me, you get a little grumpier when you have not rested enough.

You may think that you get more done by working late into the night, but studies show that sleep deficit is a productivity killer. So, unless you are part of the sleepless elite, get a minimum of seven hours of sleep.

Give yourself a clear time of when you need to be in bed by, and don’t slowly let it slip.

By giving yourself some clarity on what should actually be done during this season, you give yourself the liberty to say no to the wrong things and yes to the right things. You will be less overwhelmed and stressed out, sleep better, and don’t neglect your family or health as much. If you do these things you can thrive during this season instead of simply surviving.

I know there are more tips that you can add to this conversation, and I would love to hear from you in the comments below.