How to Leverage Your Talents for Work/Life Balance

It’s a buzz word.  Buzz phrase. Work/Life Balance.  Self-Care. Personal and Professional Alignment.  Whatever you want to call it, it’s a pretty big deal.

Why, you may ask?  It prevents burnout, helps you refocus, and avoids stress.  We can reduce our mental and physical health problems, be more productive, and just be happier.  

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Kristine Scotto from Huff Post has said, “The US Travel Association states that in 2013 alone, employees in the US didn’t utilize nearly 169 million days of paid time off, totaling $52.4 billion in lost benefits.  The belief that you aren’t successful unless you are busy has created an unhealthy workforce where employers lose up to $300 billion annually due to employee stress.”

Just putting it into dollars and cents alone, this is a lot of money down the drain.  And I continue to be inspired by that adorable Mastercard commercial with the fun children shouting “One More Day!”

There are ways that you can embrace your own self-care to advocate for work/life balance without having to stretch too far from your comfort zone.  This article is all about using your strengths and talents to take better care of yourself.

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Ready to go?  Here are Five Ways to Leverage Your Talents for Work/Life Balance.

  1.  Be Good To Yourself or Nobody Else Will (Thank you, Steve Perry)

You are the only YOU that You have and know.  And unless you’ve recently been cloned (which would be really cool, by the way), then You are all You’ve got.  That’s a lot of You’s. So YOU are the person who knows your limits and boundaries.

What feels “wrong” to you in terms of your emphasis on self-care and work/life balance?  Reflect on that for a while and come up with non-negotiable needs.

For example, you know that you’ll have a better day if you exercise before work.  So make exercise easy for you. If you know you have a long commute, make sure you can entertain or educate yourself during that commute – or consider a way to negotiate your departure time from the office.  

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  1.  Everybody Needs a Hobby

What do you love to do outside of the office?  Why do you love it and why are you good at it or enjoy it?  Come up with ways to incorporate your hobby into all aspects of your daily life.  

Love knitting (i sure do!)?  Bring your knitting to work and purl a few rows during lunch.  Join a knit-along group at your local yarn shop.

OR – you love swimming (I do, too!)?  Find a US Masters Swim Team in your area and join up with them.  Or if you are lucky enough to live near the ocean or a lake, find an open water swimming group and then you can get your swim on outside.  

Whatever it is, select a favorite and leverage that talent daily in some little way.  

  1.  Come On, Claire – Everyone Can Do SOMETHING

Remember that scene in “The Breakfast Club” where Anthony Michael Hall shared that he could make spaghetti, Emilio Estevez could tape all your buns together, and Molly Ringwald finally showed everyone how she could put on her lipstick with her cleavage?  Strange example, I know, but it proves a point.

We all have unique talents and somewhere along the line, you’ve been told what yours are.  You should be able to identify this on your own, but if you’re stuck, get some friends together and just ask them:  “what am I good at?”

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Think about those skills that you can rock, and find ways to incorporate them into your daily work and home life.  For example, if you’ve been told that you are a very good writer, talk with your supervisor on how you can incorporate more writing assignments into your position.  

A friend tells you that you’re a very good presenter – make sure that you submit a presentation for the next professional conference you attend.  Your boss shares in your performance appraisal that you really shine in the sales meetings; so ask her to let you shadow the Sales Manager during the next quarter.

It’s just natural that we should enjoy doing skills where we excel, so leverage your talents to use more of them in your day job.  

  1.  I’m NOT a Morning Person

When are you the most productive during the work day and on the weekends?  When do you feel your slumps? Me, I’m at my best in the morning (contrary to this heading), and after lunch I usually need a little boost.  So I do my focused work in the morning when I’m more with it, and my more creative work in the afternoon when I can exercise some fun and frivolity.  

So consider what time of the day you are at your best, and control your calendar so that you can do your work accordingly.

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  1.  Channel Your Inner Sarah Knight

I’m currently listening to an audio book by Sarah Knight, the self-appointed Anti Guru.  The book is called “You Do You.” The subtitle? “How to be who you are and use what you’ve got to get what you want.”  

I.   LOVE.  THIS. Trying to be someone else in the workplace (or your home life, for that matter) only ends in frustration for everyone.  And this also counts when it comes to whether or not you like your job.

You Do You.  If you think you can’t, get a mentor or ask a friend to talk you through it.  The worst thing that will happen? You look for another job. But don’t sacrifice you who are for anyone else.  That’s NOT leveraging your talents.

Exercise these five things so you can leverage your talents at work and at home.  Watch your productivity improve, your job satisfaction increase, and your downtime feel more satisfying.  Stop missing out on your life – you deserve to enjoy it!

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