Communication is Key
“Life is the continuous adjustment of internal relations to external relations” ~ Herbert
We talked a bit about communication when we discussed family issues, but here the topic is broader.
In general, communication will help you balance life and work by establishing clear boundaries and expectations with others.
This list includes your manager, your friends, your family and your co-workers.
First and foremost, don’t assume that others know what is going on. Even if your secretary has a copy of your calendar on her computer, she may not have looked at it today.
Spend a few minutes with your assistants, staff or others in the morning to be sure everyone is on the same page.
Make sure everyone knows your schedule for the day, when you will in the office and available and when you might be away at meetings.
If you are leaving for a business trip, be sure you leave critical contact information so you don’t have to fix problems after you return to the office.
If you are an employee and you are expected to perform a certain task, ask questions to be sure you know what has to be done, if there are preferred methods to accomplish the task and when these tasks need to be completed.
Don’t leave things to chance.
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If you do, your boss may grab you on your way out at the end of your shift and tell you that you have to stay and finish something.
Exchange information with others and find out how they do things. You may learn a better or faster way to get things done and you can get out the door with fewer hours under your belt.
At home, be sure that everyone knows the schedule, when they need to be home for family events and what is expected of them.
If everyone pitches in and understands their role, no one person will be stuck working at chores or doing homework, instead of having some fun family time together.
With friends, be clear about when you are free and be sure your friends understand that they have a place in your life and are important to you.
Make dates and let them know if these dates are subject to change because of late work hours.
Try to plan events when you don’t have anything really pressing at work, so you won’t be distracted.
You’ll find that you get more enjoyment out of your time with friends.
If you have elder care issues, make sure you communicate often with your family and get any doctor’s appointment or engagement on your calendar if you are expected to transport or help your parent or ailing uncle.
Be sure that everyone understands what is important to you – your values, priorities and the things you are willing to put aside because of more critical issues.
This will help your staff, family and friends to accommodate and change appointments if they see a conflict.
And never forget that communication is a two-way street. Be sure YOU understand the priorities of your boss, your friends, your co-workers, your wife, your mother and your children.
If you understand how others think and feel you can offer to pitch in and help as needed and this is a favor they will gladly repay the next time YOU need help.
Keep lists and information handy to offer if you have to leave work or home quickly and others need to know what has to be done.
Keep copies of your schedule and itineraries handy when you travel, and always let others know where to reach you and when you will be back.
In meetings, use flip charts to capture thoughts and record agreements and team contracts so you don’t waste time trying to figure out what the team decided later on.
If you are in an office job that requires reporting, communicate through email and written reports to be sure everyone knows the schedule, the action items and who is responsible for what tasks.
This will save you time and trouble later.
Whether you are in a meeting at work, talking to a co-worker in a retail store or discussing the family vacation with a family member, practice ‘active listening’. Don’t tune out!
Communication isn’t just talking.
Most of what you’ll learn and use to get things done comes from listening to what others are telling you.
Test for understanding to be sure you actually heard what you thought you heard and interpreted it correctly.
If you possess these skills, you have a significant advantage in personal relationships.
No matter how little time your family has together each day, if you are really talking to each other and listening to each other, you are a world ahead of your neighbors in maintaining balance in your life and in your relationships.
Think about it for just a moment!
Balance is achieved with the focus and attention you place on a particular thing or person.
If a person feels valued and important, if they feel they have your full attention when you are with them, you are well on your way!
Abraham A L
13th May 2016
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