Back to School Special: Don’t Forget to Achieve Balance

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Fall is almost here and your practice is about to start booming! It’s time to make sure you have strategies in place to maintain a healthy work-life balance. This blog is about a few tactics that have been especially helpful to me over the years. In 2007 I had just finished a Ph.D., my husband was back from a recent mobilization with the US Army, I’d completed my last reconstruction surgery following a double mastectomy, and I was starting a business. Oh, and I had three kids under the age of 15. Success wasn’t an option unless I could also achieve balance; so I began my search for strategies and ideas to help.

Ten years later, after countless trips through the Google jungle, I have a huge collection of ‘Top 10 Strategies,’ and ‘Easy Life Hacks That Will Help.’’  Since I’m a strategic family therapist and I like to focus on what I can do rather than what I must stop, I took some of the most practical advice and ‘re-framed:’

Original advice: Let go of perfectionism

Kate’s re-frame: Put out the first draft and let the audience co-create

I can think of VERY few successful things I have created, developed, presented, implemented, or sold, that I felt was completely 100% perfect. Seeing everything as a first draft allowed me to produce my art and see my audience as collaborators. The result? I have some pretty cool products and some very amazing fans.

Original advice: Limit time wasting activities and people

Kate’s re-frame: Do five, 20-minute job sets every day

This is a game I play with myself using my phone timer (it’s also called Parkinson’s law of productivity). I set a twenty-minute timer and race the clock to see how much I can get done. Then I set the timer again and again until I have done five ‘sets.’ I rarely finish all five but my productivity skyrockets when I self-impose these deadlines.

Original advice: Re-structure your life (what does that even mean??)

Kate’s re-frame: Buy back your life.

A few things I have hired out: house cleaning, grocery shopping, meal delivery, cat litter delivery, toilet paper (all kinds of personal paper) delivery, driver’s ed., driving my kids, cooking, social media posting, SEO optimization, bookkeeping, accounting, and legal defending just to name a few. I want to try hiring an Uber once each week just to see what I can get done on my commute (I bet it is worth the $6.00 fare).

Original advice: Manage your time

Kate’s re-frame: Clock out.

Literally set an end time for your work every day. If you need to purchase an actual time/card punch to set on your counter, go for it.

Original advice: Manage your calendar

Kate’s re-frame: Make some friends

Did you know there are some people who stay busy with work because they are bored? These folks may be shy, introverted, scared, or socially anxious. They choose to be out of balance because it is easier than facing their issues. Surrounding myself with amazing friends and being an amazing friend are two of my goals for 2017.

Want more tips for achieving balance? Check out our Private Practice University for more resources.