This isn’t an article about organisation and work-life balance. I won’t be giving you spreadsheets and flow charts to follow. If you haven’t already guessed, I’m a bit of a technophobe! Read on if you want to see how project management and coaching (what I call #coachject management) will help you with your work-life balance.
Once upon a time I was a Project Manager. No less than a Prince2 qualified Project Manager. This meant that I had the joy (and I am not saying that in jest – I LOVED the course) of learning all the technical ways of managing a project. The definition of a project, by the “powers that be”, is something with astart, a middle and an end. You have hierarchy and decision makers and THE PROPER WAY TO DO THINGS. Order and process was Queen.
However, after sitting the exams and bringing my shiny qualification back to the day job, I realised it was FAR more important to cherry pick the best bits of this theory and apply it in a sensible way. You see, during the training I was surrounded by IT and Engineering Project Managers – my “day job” was all about recruitment and coaching. Connecting and moving people rather than pixels (and yes, I am that much of a Luddite that I don’t even know if pixels can be moved).
One key area that the Prince2 method that really resonated with me then, and I use as part of my work-life balance coaching now, is what they call “project variables” or “aspects”
In lay-persons terms, these are the “ingredients” of the project. This includes the budget (how much you can spend) the timescales (when it has to be done by) and the quality (is the end result fit for purpose); it is agreed upfront which things could change to be able to get the “job done”. For example, the budget could be exceed by a certain amount of money without there having to be a big, scary meeting to get the budget approved! In the language of project management, these are the “tolerances” of the “scope”.
How is this relevant to work-life balance?
There are many areas of life that we can tweak and change, but actually we stick to our self-imposed rules and actually make life a lot harder than it needs to be.
Consider all the “elements” you have around you –how are you using them? Are you allowing flexibility or adhering to rules, expectations and pressures. Are you going through the motions and getting stuck into behavioural habits?
The variables you have around you AT ALL TIMES include:
- Time: Expectations of how quickly or slowly you want things achieved
- Budget: Money – either upper limits, or our own money mind-set issues
- Expectations: Your personal expectation and those of other people
- Deadlines: End dates or start dates of activities or achievements
- Responsibilities: Who does what, when and how?
- Talents: your skills, experience and behaviour.
- Risks: The challenge you are happy to take on and what you are prepared to risk losing or gaining
When you review your life and the rules you are creating for yourself, where could the flexibility be to allow the work-life balance you really want? What difference would reducing pressure on when you expect to complete (TIME) give you? How could relinquishing control of certain things (RESPONSBIILITES) change your day? What would happen if you stretched yourself out of your comfort zone (RISKS)?
Join my group The Balance Collective with Clara Wilcox and let us know how a bit of #coachject management will help you with your work life balance.