Balance VS Blend
My article was featured in the March issue of 24/Seven Magazine — full article and details below.
Do You Love Your Job?
The role of a leader is complex, challenging and can be extremely rewarding. Your job is exciting but may be packed with countless meetings, exhausting travel and critical deadlines. With each and every day, your stress level escalates and you no longer feel present at home or at work. You’re letting your team down. You’re letting your family down. Most important, you’re letting yourself down.
Are you struggling with work-life balance? Have you heard that balance is out and blend is in? According to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, “Instead of viewing work and life as a balancing act, it’s more productive to view them as two integrated parts. It’s actually a circle. It’s not a balance. The relationship between our work life and personal life is reciprocal, and we no longer need to compartmentalize them into two competing time constraints.”
Today, there are so many misconceptions regarding work-life balance. It’s not necessarily 50/50. While goal-setting is important to achieve balance, we tend to set unrealistic goals. You probably set lofty goals at the start of 2019 and already they are out the window!
According to a recent article from Forbes, it’s a fact that “80 percent of people fail to stick to their New Year’s resolutions for longer than six weeks”. We are creatures of habit and inevitably revert back to the same behaviors. We no longer believe that worklife balance is achievable and burn-out sets in.
One study from behavorialstudy.com, found that work-family conflict can increase poor physical health by 90 percent, while another found that work-induced stress can increase your risk of mortality by almost 20 percent. But reducing work-life stress brings numerous benefits such as lowered hypertension, better sleep, less alcohol and tobacco use, decreased marital tension, and improved parent-child relationships. So it turns out how you work affects how well and how long you live.
So how do you make the shift and embrace the work-life blend so that you no longer feel the stress of competing time constraints. Your new reality needs to:
Acknowledge the need for a mindset shift. Understanding that the worklife blend doesn’t mean that everything happens at the same time. Find the synergies in what you need to do and find a way to fit the pieces together. Once you have clarity, set your day in blocks of time. If you determine what you and your teams MIT’s are (Most Important Tasks), prioritize and get them done first.
Clarify what you and your team’s goals and priorities are. The reason why work-life balance doesn’t work is that you can’t do it all! We overschedule, overcommit and underestimate your time and do nothing well.
Determine which key events or tasks you want to fit into your day (e.g., fitness, self-care, dinner with your family) and put them in your calendar at a regular cadence. Treat them with the seriousness you bring to meetings and deadlines at work. Your team will follow you to lead and become more productive as a group.
Set boundaries with those you interact with so they know what matters to you most. Carve out time to make sure you are consistent. Allow time for personal things and events first, then for work. Creating a framework on what you intend to do will remove the stress and anxiety and provide a sense of accomplishment. There will be times when flexibility will be necessary and events will overlap but it’s more the exception than the rule.
Do a check-in with your team and family to see how things are going. As you set-up a new strategy or approach, it’s always good to collaborate and be inclusive with your team to ensure that the changes made positively impact the morale of your team.
No matter how much upfront planning you do, there will always an opportunity to ebb and flow so your work-life blend can account for the new and unexpected.