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Feeling Stressed? Try the 20:1:2 Formula

Get your work and home life back on track with these straightforward ideas.

By Phil Wilkins

Stress in your life is very real and can quickly spin out of control, affecting not only your work life, but your family life as well. To stay healthy and productive, you need to think of yourself as the owner, not just of your practice, but also of your life. The following suggestions will help you keep your job and your life in perspective so you can perform at your peak:

1. Use the 20:1:2 formula.
The 20:1:2 formula is the ideal way to stay in balance. Basically, it outlines the time you need to devote to key activities that keep your stress levels low. Here’s how it works: Spend 20 minutes each day in reflective time. This could be thinking, prayer, meditation or anything else that helps you reflect on your life and big decisions you must make. Spend one hour each day engaged in vigorous physical activity such as walking, jogging, aerobics or anything else that gets your heart rate up. Finally, spend two hours each day with your family. Have dinner together, talk about your day or do a hobby as a family.

Make sure that any time you devote to the 20:1:2 formula is uninterrupted. That means no cell phone calls, no checking emails and no “shop talk.” This is your time to forget about the daily grind and do those things that truly matter. Get creative about how to incorporate the formula into your day. For example, you could drive your kids to school and spend 15 minutes with them talking about their activities, and then head directly to the gym before going to the office. Or, if you usually arrive home from work at 6 p.m., then keep your family your priority until at least 8 p.m. After the kids are in bed you can opt to check messages or do some additional work from home.

2. Get your spouse’s buy-in.
When you’re making major career and life decisions, you must get your significant other involved early in the process. Just as you need to get buy-in from stakeholders in your business for new ideas and initiatives, you need to do so with your family when it comes to life decisions. In this case, your spouse and children are your stakeholders. So before accepting that demanding client, saying “yes” to that potential partner or deciding to put in more hours at work, be upfront with your family so they understand what you’re getting into and how it will affect them.

Together, come up with family systems that will take the burden off your spouse and kids. For example, hire someone help to assist your spouse with childcare. Or, use the services of a landscaper to free your spouse or older children from the rigors of yard work. Do what you must so that your family doesn’t feel required to take on additional burdens because you decide on a certain career choice. The more buy-in you have from everyone involved, the less stress you and your family will feel.

3. Become a master at delegation.
Know what your true role is at work and what duties you must perform to advance the organization. The responsibilities you outline are the essentials that you must do. For everything else you do that’s not on your list, consider delegating to others. Remember, all the nonessential tasks you perform are hurting your productivity. If your main duty is to bring in business, that means you must constantly prospect for new clients and follow up with existing inquiries. Those are your essential duties. If you spend time doing things like filing paperwork, assembling packets or mailing information, you’re missing sales. If you want to be more productive and experience less stress, delegate nonvital tasks and focus on those things that directly impact your bottom line.

4. Value your No. 1 asset.
All businesses have a No. 1 asset—the one thing that makes them the most money. For you, your most valuable asset is your health. After all, if you don’t have your health, you can’t work and support your family, nor can you do all the great things you had planned to do with your life. Therefore, make a concerted effort to reduce your stress and live a healthy lifestyle. Eat right, exercise and get the rest and relaxation you need.

Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Phil Watkins, author of Own Your Business, Own Your Life! 21 Strategies for Becoming a Wealthy Entrepreneur, is an entrepreneur—with three businesses of his own—as well as a speaker and consultant who helps companies in the fields of management, teamwork, balanced lifestyles, and growth and development. For more information, contact him at 888-663-6254 or at

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