silhouette graphic of woman balancing work and homeAre you ready to tackle work head-on this year or do you need extra motivation to get through the next 11 months? It can be challenging to start a new year with refreshed goals and responsibilities, possibly because you don’t know where to begin. Many people start the year with a single-minded focus on their work goals and let their personal lives fall by the wayside. But is that the best course of action to ensure you not only reach your goals at work but also your priorities at home?  Believe it or not, managing your workload can help you excel in the office and at home in 2014. Yes, it can be hard to know where to draw the lines and what steps to take to secure balance, but I’ve outlined six tips that can help you find better balance and successfully accomplish your personal and professional goals.

1. Go for greatest impact. Take control of your workload by examining what’s most important for you to achieve this year and which of your numerous goals and projects will have the most impact on your company and the bottom line. Tackle the assignments and actions that will have the most impact on your goals and objectives first.

2. Create mini goals for yourself. Work can become overwhelming with a flurry of requests for things that must be accomplished. You can feel a great deal of pressure to complete all of your tasks before you begin to take care of your personal obligations. To keep from feeling swamped, break up your tasks into small goals that you can finish every day. Feeling a sense of achievement and checking off your list at work can actually reduce your stress level and create a sense of momentum that can carry over to your personal to-dos.

3. Empower others to help protect personal time. If you’re planning to take personal time away from the office, make sure your team feels empowered to fill in for you while you’re out. When you delegate projects to others and they are set up for success, it can be much easier to protect your personal time when you’re out of the office. Also, go ahead and set boundaries with your colleagues around your time off. If needed, share set times when you’ll be available for a call in case of emergencies. Then, when your colleagues are out on vacation, be respectful of their time away from the office and only reach out to them when it’s absolutely necessary.

4. Pick your battles. Focus on the goals, projects and outcomes that matter most. Yes, you may disagree with your colleague on a small part of an assignment. But is it really worth the effort to fight it? You’ll get sidetracked and lose precious time if you scrutinize the details that don’t matter. This same strategy can be used in your personal life as well. Keeping this perspective will keep you concentrated on the essential aspects of your work, and not on the tiny items that don’t have any impact.

5. Be fully present in the moment. Whether you are in a training class, in a less than exciting meeting or at dinner with friends, try to focus on where you are and who you are with at that moment.  Even in our busy, connected world where multi-tasking has become the norm, pay attention, participate and stay invested in every situation. Keep in mind that if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right.

6. Relax, reflect and recharge. Make sure to step away from your work at several points during the year to get away, reflect and relax. Figure out what’s been working for you and what hasn’t and reset your priorities to meet your goals for the year. This getaway can also help you recharge your batteries so you’re fired up to tackle new challenges and opportunities both personally and professionally.



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