Gain Work-Life Balance Using NLP
A participant in my NLP program, Bill, recently told me that he felt life was all work and no play. He said he couldn’t remember the last time he took his bike out for a ride, which he used to love doing. He felt terribly frustrated even articulating it and his family had observed that he was becoming more irritable by the day.
I told Bill it sounded like his work-life balance was off kilter and that it was important to find that balance to feel joy again. I added that it’s been proven that achieving work-life balance reduced stress and boosted satisfaction at the workplace and home.
I shared cases of how people could use NLP to gain work-life balance by creating new mental programs. A consistent practice of NLP in work life was bound to create effective habits. Most importantly, it would help him de-stress and stay focused.
Broadly speaking, maintaining a stable work-life balance means finding ways to work in a consistent and sustainable manner, while taking care of one’s health and general well-being.
The concept of work-life balance is however subjective and personal to each individual. It very much depends on factors such as values and attitudes towards life, age, state of health, commitments and personal events.
Add to this mix, the current pandemic and the fact that most people have to work from home. It starts to look daunting and overwhelming!
For example, Bill in his late thirties, married, with an eight-year-old daughter and an elderly parent at home, found it hard to find that niche where he could have time-out for himself.
His spouse who worked part time and daughter who was in school, made it a life with three generations living under the same roof. All with different needs and priorities. Lucky for Bill, his father was still healthy and able to baby-sit, when needed.
We came up with a plan of action that would help Bill use NLP to gain work-life balance. Bill told me his priorities were to spend more quality time with the family and go cycling at least once a week, apart from getting his work done.
So, knowing what Bill’s ultimate outcome was, we worked backwards to understand the kind of action he needed to do. From there we figured out the state of mind that would help Bill make all this happen.
Interestingly the more Bill heard the words “calm” and “relaxed” the more at ease he began to feel. Like tension seeping out of his body, he was able to think clearly. It made this work from home concept so much easier.
Bill remembered that he had learnt this goal-setting tool at an NLP in work-life balance course he attended many years before. It was all coming back to him. Continuing on from there, we prioritised three ways Bill could use NLP for work-life balance :
1. Set Boundaries
Whether you work from home or at an office, you must set healthy boundaries. When you respect your boundaries others will respect them too.
Space boundaries - Effective habits such as keeping your work space for work. It gives the signal to others around, that it’s time to work. People will be less likely to cause disturbance or encroach into your space.
Time boundaries - starting and ending the work day at consistent times creates a routine. Allowing yourself to work outside these hours, will most definitely have you slipping into deeper trouble. Before you know it, work will own you 24/7 which is the start of mental health issues.
Values boundaries - be clear which way you’ll choose when it comes to the crunch. Would you pursue that promotion at any cost? Or would you prefer work-life balance because you value a better relationship with your family?
2. Use Time Effectively
When you work from home, do you attend to personal tasks during office hours? This is a big NO! You wouldn’t want work to encroach into your home life, so, respect that. Do the right thing by your employer.
Chatting with colleagues often during office hours or checking social media are signs of poor self-management skills. NLP in work life can help you master fundamental self-management skills of accountability, initiative and time efficiency in order to be successful.
Productivity is directly linked to how you stay focused, and efficiently utilise the working hours available to you.
3. Be Flexible
Though it’s important to set boundaries and create a work structure, it’s best to be realistic and flexible about it. You may have certain rules that can’t be compromised when you work from home e.g. related to your work space or specific times you can’t be disturbed.
The idea is not to become too rigid either with your routine and structure. It’s additional stress and no fun when everything has to be done by the book!
Take advantage of the tools and techniques of NLP in work life. Incorporating some flexibility here and there can help you build resilience. As the NLP success belief goes, the person with the greatest behavioural flexibility often takes control.
Bill and I met for coffee a month after this plan was set in motion. He reported that he managed to cycle three times since we put the plan in place! He was laughing again and his family certainly felt a lot happier, having seen the changes in him.
He said he could stay focused for longer periods of time and felt much less frustrated when things didn’t go according to plan, because he knew a little flexibility went a long way in winning the day.
And since consistency was the key to creating effective habits he made sure he followed the plan as best he could, every single day.
Interestingly, he observed that his environment was still the same but he felt so much better. All he did was raise his awareness and practise some self-tools to work from home. At the end of the day he conceded, it was all in the mind!
Sylvia is a qualified Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) Master Trainer. She started her business in Sydney and is now based in Singapore.