Author Cali Williams Yost's tips to managing work and personal life.
Work-life balance is one of the most talked-about topics in business today. But according to Cali Williams Yost, author of Tweak It: Make What Matters to You Happen Every Day, the very concept is flawed. It's not about balance, Williams Yost argues; it's about fit. What's the difference?
Balance, she writes, translates to managers as "working less," while employees are frustrated because such balance remains elusive despite their best efforts. On the other hand, work-life fit refers to the flexibility of workers at every level to accomplish what they want and need to achieve in their work and personal lives alike. In a sense, work-life fit is goal-oriented, while balance has come to mean how we divide our time. For instance, leaving work early to attend your daughter's soccer championship game and taking home unfinished work to complete in the evening might not seemed balanced, but it is a perfect fit in that it achieves two important goals at once.
Once Williams Yost establishes the philosophical underpinnings, she gets right into the nitty-gritty of her "Tweak It" program of time management. At the heart of the program is a list, revised weekly, of activities and priorities. Williams Yost suggests integrating work and personal calendars and to-dos as fully as you feel comfortable doing. A calendar includes activities--from meetings to meditation break--while a task list is populated by priorities, which might be anything from "seek networking opportunities" to "spend one-on-one time with each of my kids." Some of these list entries are "standard"--that is, their importance means they remain consistent each week--and some are "unique." Unique tweaks, while tied to overarching goals, are items you might not need to repeat, such as setting up a LinkedIn profile or meeting up with friends.
Is Tweak It for everyone? Probably not. Many time-management systems, whether David Allen's Getting Things Done, Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Successful People or Tweak It, similarly attempt to break down large goals into smaller, more manageable tasks, and choosing one over another is often just a matter of test-driving them to see which is the better fit for your temperament and circumstances. In that respect, Tweak It is definitely worth taking out for a spin.
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