What Sheryl Sandberg, Oprah and I have in Common?

Work-Life BalanceUnless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you’ve heard Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook promote her new book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead.  In full disclosure, I haven’t read her book but I have seen her interviewed on 60 Minutes and Oprah’s Master Class and read her interview in Time magazine and O, The Oprah Magazine.  So like a movie trailer packed with all the good stuff, I believe I’ve seen enough to know what’s coming.

And, in all honesty, I am not Ms. Sandberg’s target audience for Lean In.  Yes, I am a woman and I work but that’s about it.  I have no desire to run a company and I don’t have children.  But, Sheryl, Oprah and I do have something in common!  We agree there is no work-life balance…no Shangri-La utopia where there’s enough time to do everything.  As I watched these two powerful and über wealthy women on Master Class say work-life balance is a myth I felt better.  If they can’t achieve balance, then can anyone?

I put the theory of work-life balance to the test during the past ten days; I’ve been off work (just so you know it was only six business days but I sandwiched in two weekends…a new strategy I’ve been using to maximize the time off).  What I found is that with work out of the equation, those things that are part of my “life” bucket such as household tasks and things for my dad, became the “work” to my “life” balance.

So with my precious downtime, I read Getting Things Done (it was published in 2002 so some of the text seems dated and in my opinion the book is longer than it needs to be but the tips are still valid).  Here are the tips that work for me:

  1. If something takes less than 2-3 minutes just do it.  This really helps clear the mental clutter.
  2. To Do lists don’t work.  Instead create lists by project and think out all the steps.
  3. Only put things on the calendar that absolutely must happen on a specific date and or time.
  4. Schedule time each week to evaluate where you are with the projects and make revisions when necessary.

To some these tips will sounds silly.  But, I’ve been applying them for the past week and I’ve found them helpful.  Well, tomorrow will be the real test.  I’m going back to work.  Wish me luck.  Would love to know what tips you use to manage your time.

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