Post by Jane K. Stimmler, contributing Women On Business writer
Personality traits can work for or against you as your life becomes increasingly complex and you try to achieve a balance. Those of us who tend to be highly organized perfectionists with a strong need for control – and you know who you are – often find themselves in danger of burning out as they try to maintain order in their lives. An executive I know with two small children swears that ten years ago, her need for control was so strong that she would have fallen apart on what is now a typical day for her. When she realized that her perfectionist tendencies were actually causing her stress and working against her, she changed her ways. Today, while she still considers herself a very organized person, her house doesn’t have to be spotless and she’s learned to be more flexible and accepting of circumstances beyond her control. Good for her!
Though it’s easier said than done, by taking a look at yourself and the way you react to daily situations, you may be able to make modifications that will help you deal more effectively with all the variables you face each day, and enable you to make wise choices. Here are some questions to ask yourself and suggestions to help you get more balance in your world.
Do you have issues with perfection and control?
Do you feel that everyone and everything must be up to your high standards of perfection? If you see something you consider amiss, do you have a compulsion to step in and redo it? Do you have the need to control your home and work environments? These are traits which will cause major anxiety and bog you down. If you understand these tendencies, you can try to focus on what’s important and let the other things go.
How do you handle stress?
Do you take your stress out on your friends and family? Do you feel trapped or oppressed by your situation? Do you think you’ve made too many compromises? Acknowledge what is causing your behavior, get to the root of the problem and address it by making necessary changes. Don’t be afraid to get the support you need to gain perspective on your life.
Do you feel you’re trying to do too much?
Are you always on the run? Do you have trouble saying “no” to requests – even those you don’t have time for? Recognize that you’re on a treadmill, and spend the time to assess how you can take some pressure off. Develop a more assertive style that allows you to say “no” with undo guilt, or you may find yourself always holding the bag.
Are you too tightly wound?
Do you feel like you never get things wrapped up at the end of a week? Are you lacking time to think about where you’ve been and where you’re going? If you’re racing from morning till night, you will find yourself constantly reacting to events. Instead, put an hour a week on your calendar to reflect and plan – you’ll become calmer and more effective.
— From Breaking Into the Boys’ Club 2009
Have you found techniques that work for you in maintaining balance in your life?
Elizabeth Saunders-Time Coach says
These are excellent tips! As a former perfectionist, I’ve learned how to give myself a break and to enjoy life by giving myself grace and setting up reasonable expectations.
A big part of knowing when to say “No” is having a clear idea of what’s on your plate, what’s most important, and how much time you have to complete those tasks. Just this week, one of my Schedule Makeover clients who was able to negotiate deadlines and push back a couple of projects because after time blocking their schedule, they saw there was no way to complete everything within the original time frame.
Clearly knowing what you can and can not do allows you to negotiate with others instead of feeling trapped and overwhelmed.
Also, if you’re needing help saying, No, check out http://www.ScheduleMakeover.com for a free guide to “How to Say No! to Avoid Overload”