by Devon Smiley | Featured Contributor
We’re busy bees.
More and more, blending our personal and professional lives is unavoidable. And with so much to juggle, how can we optimize each of them…without sacrificing the other?
Not long ago, I was focused on keeping a solid wall between my personal and professional lives. Work Devon and Home Devon were at odds with one another.
Every decision I made seemed like a zero-sum game: If I devoted time to my work, something had to give at home. And if I made a change for the better personally, that surely meant I would be dropping the ball in my work.
It’s not a pleasant way to live, forcing the two sides of your life into competition with one another.
But here’s the thing: they don’t have to be in competition – they can be complementary.
Shifting the focus to uncovering ways that I can adjust one element in my life to support another has been key in dropping my stress levels and creating more success both at home and at work – and it’s possible for you as well. Here’s how.
1. Create flexible hours at work.
Nothing bumps up the stress levels like trying to juggle the schedules of work and life. Racing from home, to day care, to school, and to the office each morning (and then again in the afternoon) can be draining. If your clients are accustomed to booking sessions with you at any time they wish, make a move to improve your life by injecting flexibility into those schedules. For example, if you have the morning drop-off at school, request that meetings be scheduled from 10am onwards, rather than kicking off at 8am. If a client session bumps you into rush-hour traffic, negotiate to find another time that works well for both you and them.
2. Ask for help from your partner or family.
There are some weeks where, despite my best-laid plans, I end up with a handful of projects coming due all at once. It’s going to be hectic, and I know that I won’t be able to get it all done and still get dinner on the table – so I ask for help. When you have a particularly hectic week coming up, ask for help with picking the kids up, getting the groceries done, or dealing with the bedtime routine. It may happen a few times a year that you’re in major crunch mode, and that’s tough enough as it is… don’t be too stubborn, or proud, or worried that you need to be super woman – to ask for help. Your benefit? Lower guilt at home, and better results at work. A win-win.
3. Negotiate to lower your expenses.
The key here is to negotiate to lower your expenses on some items – so that you can apply the savings to other items that will make your work and home life easier. For example, you can shave $100 off of your cable, phone and insurance bills, and then put those funds towards getting a housekeeper in twice a month. If you can change the way that $100 is being spent so that it frees up time, you’ll come out ahead. How? If you can use those 4 hours a month to land a new client – that’s worth it for your professional life. If you can use those 4 hours a month to have more quality time with your family – that’s going to do wonders for your personal life.
I’d love to know: What changes can you make in your life and business to move them from competitive to complementary?
If you’re stuck on ideas on what changes can make a difference in your work and life, my free Business Boosters guide will help get the juices flowing, and encourage you to broaden the definition of what negotiation can do for you and your business.
Devon Smiley – Negotiation Coach & Consultant
With over a decade of corporate experience, Devon has negotiated $1000 product returns, multi-million dollar procurement deals -and everything in between. Her experience is distilled into spot-on analysis and actionable advice for companies of all sizes, bringing them the benefit of her laser focus on results and strong strategy development skills.
Devon is a firm believer that no business is ever too small to negotiate, and she gets a kick out of helping entrepreneurs uncover ways to bump their results up a notch (or two!), and build the skills and confidence they need to ask for – and get – what they need to achieve their best yet results. Knowing that many entrepreneurs struggle with figuring out how negotiation can help them move their business forward, Devon created the ‘3 Must Do Business Boosters’ guide to jumpstart the process.
A proud graduate of McGill University’s undergraduate business school and Northeastern University’s MBA program, Devon is an avid student and life-long learner, with professional certificates in both operations management and French language.
Devon lives in Montreal with her dog Jack, but is a Parisienne at heart, with a great love for all of the history, culture and croissants the city has to offer. A keen admirer of fashion and art, Devon is happiest when soaking up inspiration at the Louvre, sipping espresso at her local café, or strolling down the boulevards catching glimpses of the Eiffel tower.