With iMindMap 5 at the forefront of everyone’s minds at ThinkBuzan, days are starting earlier and finishing later, and our developers are a hair’s breadth from bringing sleeping bags to work. Every provision has been made to make the office feel more homely for those burning the midnight oil (we now have a pool table, sofas and a fully stocked snack corner).
Despite the good mood and energy in the office, this trend of ‘workaholism’ in the organisation has got us thinking about that clichéd concept of a work/life balance. Is it possible to have the rewarding career and still maintain a fulfilling home life? How can we have it all? Read on for a quick exercise to help find that elusive balance.
A good place to start on the road to a more zen-like existence is to get a picture of exactly where you are right now. Start a Mind Map in iMindMap, or on paper, with all things work-related on one side and everything non-work on the other. Map out all of the issues you are facing, concerns keeping you awake at night, big projects you are working on, plans you have, aspirations – anything that is occupying your thoughts and your time in both areas of your life. Now stand back. What does that picture look like to you? A smidge lopsided perhap?
If so, fear not! Now you can see what you’ve got to work with – and clarity is a marvellous tonic for the frazzled mind. Once you realise how much of your time and mental energy is being taken up by one area of your life, you can begin to reassess your priorities and think about what you need to devote more time to. I, for example, evidently don’t spend enough time exercising, with my family or my friends, or getting any closer to a fluency in Italian.
Go through your map, both sides of it, and delete anything that is a non-negotiable. For example, feeding the kids, or a work duty that you would get fired for not doing. We want to re-balance our lives not cause chaos after all. Looking through the remaining branches, really think about what you need in your life to make you happy. What would you regret not doing when you look back on these years? Drag these branches and drop them onto a new main branch – ‘Essentials’.
These are your priorities and these are what you should build your time around. If you want to achieve more of a balance, brutal prioritising is the only way to do it. Make sure every day you are focusing on at least one of your essentials – be that getting into shape, writing your first novel, spending time with your family, whatever you’ve decided is most important to you.
Next time the clock is ticking past 6pm and you’re sat at your desk about to start on another task, ask yourself is getting that task done there and then is the most important and beneficial thing you could be doing with that time? Perhaps you could be using your time more efficiently – giving yourself firm deadlines can encourage you to find faster and more effective ways of working.
Be strict with yourself, because whilst we are all wrapped up in iMindMap 5, and missing out on one gym session, or one dinner with friends, doesn’t seem like a huge deal, it does form the beginnings of a habit. It’s these seemingly small choices that snowball and lead to a slightly wobbly layer around our middle, a stack of unread books next to our bed, and a knowledge of Italian that extends as far as ‘spaghetti per favore’.
In the spirit of breaking the habit, our CEO Chris Griffiths has just announced that we are all, without exception, to be out of the office early to go for a company meal and let off some steam – progress already! Although, we might just put off the gym a little while longer – maybe til after April 6th…
For more ideas on how you can use iMindMap, take a look at the articles and resources in the Business Solutions area of our website.