Here is a brief excerpt from an article written by Cali Williams Yost for Fast Company magazine. To read the complete article, check out others, and obtain subscription information, please click here.
Image: Flickr user Joe Plocki
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As the clocks and walls that used to divide work from the other parts of life began to disappear, I started to search for new, modern ways to make what matters happen both on and off the job.
For almost two decades, I’ve worked in the trenches with hundreds of companies and tens of thousands of individuals. I’ve helped make workplaces more flexible and given people the tools and skills to manage the fit between their work, career, and personal lives. And, in the process, I’ve discovered a group I call the work+life fit “naturals.”
The “naturals” are the people whom you would describe as “having it all.” I estimate they represent about 10-15% of the people I encounter. They seem to fit work and other parts of their lives together with ease while the rest of us struggle.
There are two ways I spot a work+life fit natural.
Whenever I engage with a new company, I ask to be introduced to “two or three people who seem to manage everything they need to get done without breaking a sweat.” The client will say something like, “Oh, you should meet John. He has three kids. His wife works. He’s a triathlete and runs a not-for-profit on the side. Honestly, I don’t think he’s human.” Then I meet John. Usually, he’s less super-human than his colleagues perceive him to be from the outside, but he does consistently make what matters happen as often as possible.
I also pay attention to the people who come up to me after a speech or workshop. Naturals approach cautiously and ask, “I’m sorry, please don’t be offended, but I am confused by why this is so hard for people. Isn’t it pretty straightforward?” To them, it’s as if I’d given detailed instructions on how to get out of bed and brush their teeth in the morning. After I probe further, it’s clear that they’ve intuitively figured out how get their jobs done, and still have a life, while their colleagues in similar positions flounder.
What are the secrets of these work+life fit naturals? How do they “have it all?” What I discovered is that most of them follow these insanely simple steps:
The naturals realize it’s their responsibility to make what matters to them happen, day-to-day, in the face of competing demands. They know that no one is going to tell them when to finish a work project, get to the gym, learn new job skills, get their car serviced, or take their son to the movies.
They don’t run separate work and personal calendars or priority lists. They keep everything in one place; therefore, they make day-to-day decisions based on a complete picture of their commitments on and off the job. If they receive a meeting request at work, the natural will think twice before saying “yes.” Is it urgent? What else do I have planned? If there’s a conflict, can I suggest another time, or do I have to miss lunch with my friend? Sometimes the answer will be to agree to the meeting and miss the lunch. Other times, an alternate time and day will work for everyone. The point is that their decisions are intentional.
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Yost then goes into detail about the “insanely simple work-life balance shortcuts.” To determine if you’re you are a work+life fit natural, she invites you to take this simple, four-question quiz and find out by clicking here.
To read the complete article, please click here.
Cali Williams Yost has been pioneering ways to manage work and life in the new economy for nearly two decades. As a consultant, speaker, and CEO and founder of Flex+Strategy Group/Work+Life Fit–and one of Mashable’s Top 14 Career Experts on Twitter–she shows organizations and individuals how to partner for award-winning flexible work success. She is the author of the recently released Tweak It: Make What Matters to You Happen Every Day, (Center Street/Hachette, January 2013). Connect with Cali on her Work+Life Fit blog and on Twitter @caliyost.