Balancing Act: Small changes can make a big difference

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It's graduation season, and at big milestones in life we wonder how change will affect our work-life balance; and as parents, we hope that we've spent enough time with our kids to mold them into independent adults. Yet I've noticed at every turn of our journey, from having kids to caring for parents, there are people for whom navigating life changes seems effortless.

What are they doing that the rest of us haven't figured out?

Cali Williams Yost studied the "naturals" and found they innately understand that major life events matter, but they focus on deliberate small adjustments in their daily lives to make work and life fit together with ease.

Ms. Yost, author of "Tweak It," calls these small actions "tweaks." She convincingly argues: "With the smallest investment in right places, you can radically transform the quality of your relationships and your life."

Here are seven small changes that she and others suggest will lead to a better work/life fit.

• Regularly update priorities. Set 15 minutes aside weekly to reflect on your combined calendar (personal and work) and ask yourself what you want to change.

• Question your daily choices. If wellness is a priority, you have to be more deliberate about asking, "Do I really need to work through lunch or should I go for a walk?"

• Look at adjustments as temporary. You are less likely to meet resistance at work and home if changes, particularly with flexibility, are considered short term.

• Communicate to succeed. One of the most important small actions you can take to make work and life run smoothly is to communicate with the right people.

• Build your army. Luly Balepogi, founder of Luly B Inc, a Miami mentor to mom entrepreneurs, found "naturals" at work life balance usually have a team behind them -- at work or home.

• Avert a crisis before it happens. Ms. Yost said naturals are proactive, not reactive, and weave small actions into their schedule that prevent chaos.

• Make 70 percent your goal. For competent jugglers, the goal is not perfection, she discovered. "They didn't beat up themselves when expectations for the week didn't happen. They were happy with what they got accomplished."


Cindy Krischer Goodman is CEO of BalanceGal LLC, a provider of news and advice on how to balance work and life;


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