In today's crazy, fast-paced world, it is a challenge for everyone, no matter his or her profession, to establish balanced living. It is an even bigger challenge for the free agent, independent professional, and freelancer, for we are completely in charge of how we structure our days, weeks, months, and years.
Even though this topic could easily fill a book, I am going to share five of the major ways I have used to help me achieve a feeling of balance in my life.
a time management plan that works for you and your personality. For
years I worked diligently on trying to implement the standard time management
plan that proposes making a to-do-list, prioritizing those tasks,
working on them in the order of importance, and checking them off upon
completion. This is a great plan that works well for the majority of left-brained
people. If, however, you are a right-brained creative as I am - and so
many freelancers are - it just doesn’t work the same way we do.
Besides Covey's First Things First approach that I am going to
describe in a moment, I also want to recommend another time management
book that combined with Covey's has changed my life and attitude toward
time. Both have worked for me to create close to perfect balance of my
minutes, hours, and days. In her book
Time Management for Unmanageable People, Ann McGee Cooper shows
creative people how to break the old time management rules that don't
work for them and create their own "fun" non-system that works.
Get into Quadrant II as often as possible! What do I mean by Quadrant
II? Covey's theory of time management includes quadrants for your activities.
Quadrant I includes activities that are urgent and important - for example,
crises, pressing problems, deadline-driven projects; Quadrant III includes
activities that are urgent and not important - for example, interruptions,
some calls, mail, some meetings, many pressing matters, many popular activities;
Quadrant IV includes activities that are not urgent and not important
- examples include trivia, busy work, some mail, some phone calls, time
wasters, many pleasant activities (TV); and Quadrant II includes
activities that are important, yet not urgent - examples include preparation,
crisis prevention, values clarification, planning (goal setting), relationship
building, and true re-creation (lifelong learning, exercise, etc.). The
more time we spend in Quadrant II, the more balanced and less stressful
our lives become. We avoid the crises and pressing problems of Quadrant
I. I am not saying that we will ever be able to erase all our time in
the other Quadrants, but if I always ask myself, "Is this a Quadrant
II activity?" before I do something, I find that I say No more often
to what I shouldn't be doing and that my life is richer and much more
a Balanced Life Plan, Chart, or Wheel. To make any program take hold,
I find that creating a plan, some sort of chart or visual helps with making
the outcome a reality. For example, the diets that work and create lasting
success are those where the dieter keeps a journal or chart of daily calories,
points, and amounts of exercise. I suggest that you choose a method that
works for you. Putting something on paper is a good start. It can be a
list of your life roles with the goals you want to achieve in those areas.
It can be a chart or a journal keeping track of how you are doing with
your balancing of those roles, and/or it can be a circle with wheel spokes
separating your roles equally into pie shapes to remind you to keep working
on balancing. Post it near the phone or work area, so that you remember
daily your direction when others or other distractions start to interrupt.
less about what others think and say you "should" or "shouldn't"
be doing. Most of us pay much too much attention to what others are
telling us we "should do" or "should be" - These people
who are often friends and/or relatives are well meaning and feel that
they are giving us good advice. We must remember that it is our life,
and if we let others control us with their advice and their demands, we
will lead a far from balanced life - we may even resent it. We must have
the gumption to say "no" (in a nice and polite way) when the
request interferes with our plan or direction. And there will always be
the nay-sayers, or the WBs (Wet Blankets) who, when you say, "I'm
going to quit my job and become a free agent," will counter with,
"Are you crazy? Do you want to starve?" We have enough WB statements
rumbling around in what many writers call our own "monkey mind"
already. This may be the hardest step of all to take, because from childhood
on everyone is affected by peer pressure and worrying about what others
Let me know how you are doing. Share what is working for you. I want this site to help all of us free agents! Send me your FEEDBACK! I love hearing from you.
A brand new FREE eclectic e-newsletter, Career Success Planning, is on the way. I will be contacting former sbscribers to Portfolio Potpourri and all who have taken the Portfolio Career Self Test to subscribe to the new FREE e-newsletter. Use the form below to sign up!
Email Marketing by TrafficWave.net
We never sell names and/or e-mail addresses, and if you ever wish to "opt-out" that's not a problem.
Contact Chris King
Home / Free Newsletter/Stuff / Special Reports /
Free Articles / Editor's Bio / Ask Questions / Creative Keys /
Portfolio Career /
We love to hear from you! send us your questions, comments and useful tips! Just click HERE!