Work-life balance. That elusive utopia we’re all chasing.
I don’t know if it’s ever possible to really hit a perfect life-work balance.
But I’ll tell you this - work-life balance for sure ain’t possible until you hit work-work balance. Or at least some measure of it.
What’s work-work balance?
Work-work balance is the art (or science) of effectively prioritizing all your responsibilities so you can fill them properly in the time you set for them.
It means gaining clarity about the value of your time - and whether or not you’re using that time optimally.
Gaining even some measure of work-work balance can do wonders for your productivity. It can also give you tremendous menuchas hanefesh. You’ll know you’re putting the right amounts of work into the right places at the right times.
And, of course, with your work responsibilities taken care of, your work-life balance chase gets a bit easier.
So. How do you start achieving work-work balance?
The first stop, in my opinion, is a little address in cyberspace called Toggl.com.
What’s Toggl? It’s a free online tool that allows you to track the way you spend your time.
I started using Toggl when I wanted to gain mastery over my own time. A few days in, I saw a clear, telling picture of what I was using my time for - and what I wasn’t.
I found Toggl so helpful that I started using it with my clients as well.
A few days after onboarding one of them, I checked in to see how it was going.
“It’s actually pretty great, although a bit scary, as it shows how unproductive I am.”
Nothing like a mirror to help us recognize our flaws. And nothing like a good time-tracking app to help us find our productivity holes.
The coolest thing about Toggl? It’s so simple to use that there’s actually a good chance you’ll end up using it! Since it syncs across all your devices, you can start tracking in your browser, stop on your phone, then start again using the desktop app.
And when you’ve got a clearer picture of how you’re using your time, you can start making better, more productive choices. With Toggl crunching the numbers, you can focus on making change.
But aside from hopping onto the Toggl website, how do you time-track effectively?
First, you need to define what it is you want to track. Which areas of your time-spend need clarity shed on them?
Let’s say you want to focus on time spent… fundraising. You’d like to increase the time you’re currently spending - or decrease it.
So - start using Toggl when you’re engaged in fundraising activities. You’ll get a better sense of how much time you’re actually using to fundraise, so you can make a better use of the time you have.
Let’s say you spend a large enough amount of time fundraising that you’d like to do a deeper organization of that time.
So - break down your fundraising time into categories: new donor development, existing donor development, donor meetings, content creation, etc. Then, simply track your time according to category.
I recently started working with a client who wanted to take a good hard look at how he uses his time in general. So we made a list of categories reflecting his work-work responsibilities, and put them into Toggl.
- Cash flow management
- Managing self - e.g. responding to emails
- Government compliance - facilities and operations
- Issues relating to building upkeep
- Parent communication
- New parent meetings/tours
- Events and marketing
- Community relations
What will we do with that info?
Well, we might make some simple shifts in how he prioritizes his efforts and his focus. Or - more like and/or - we’ll find ways to supercharge the efforts he’s actually making, so he can accomplish more in less time.
We’ll create new hours in his week. Which means we’ll improve his work-work balance. Which means we’ll improve his work-life balance. Oh, and get his organization more funding too.
In case you were wondering, I’m not a Toggl affiliate. As I mentioned, Toggl is a free tool. So - give it a try!
And, of course, let me know how you get on.