Keeping work at work is never as easy as it seems.
With increasingly competitive work environments and greater connectivity through technology, workers often seem tethered to their desks. Some people feel lost without a laptop or cell phone for easy access, while others look for ways to balance the demands of a career against a fulfilling family life.
Take this Life/Work balance quiz and see how you view Life/Work balance.
1. Do you check your blackberry or computer in bed?
2. What time do you get to and leave work each day?
3. How often do you cancel personal plans to meet a work deadline?
4. What do you do if there is a conflict between a work event and family reunion?
5. How aligned is who you “are” with what you do?
6. When you have a day off, how do you treat yourself?
7. What is it like when you come back to work after taking a vacation week?
8. What are your options for telecommuting?
9. Do you have a “second shift” when you come home from work?
10. Do you have time during the day to focus and plan without distractions?
While pressures are usually “self-inflicted,” workers from entry level to upper management express having little time for themselves. With women serving as the primary family caretakers, they experience conflict in choosing between what is best for their families and what is best for their careers. What can you do? Take responsibility for your own Life/Work balance and:
A- Ask three key questions
C- Commit to establishing boundaries
T- Take steps to achieve your own personal balance
S- Stay the course
A – Ask three key questions
1.What matters most to me or what gives me the most satisfaction at work and home? Continue asking the question until you have five top priorities.
2. Of these activities, situations, and conditions, which ones replenish my energy? Examine these to determine which ones are also on your top priorities list.
3. How can I eliminate or reduce doing things that are not on my list?
C – Commit to establishing boundaries
Once you’ve identified your top five priorities, look for what engages you most and gives you a sense of satisfaction. Make a personal commitment to put the right things first. You may want to schedule and protect private time, ensure time for exercise or team sports, volunteer more regularly, or have more family dinners.
T – Take steps to achieve your own personal balance
You are the only person who can make changes needed to achieve balance for yourself. Remember, what is balanced for someone else may look unbalanced to you. Be aware of what gives you energy and what takes it away. List your energy zappers and energizers. When possible, space out energy zapping tasks between energizing activities during the day.
S – Stay the course
When you establish and commit to protect your personal boundaries, others might not like the change…it is a good idea to discuss what you’re trying to do with significant others both at home and work. The results of better boundary management increases satisfaction in all areas of your life.
Navigating Life/Work balance issues is challenging for individuals and leaders. Remember, what is balanced varies from person to person and is determined by many factors including energy level, personal goals, activities that stimulate, and resources available at a given point in time. Use A.C.T.S. to understand what matters most, establish clear boundaries, and take steps to build a more satisfying life.
Kittie W. Watson, president and founder of Innolect Inc., is a communication expert and specialist in cultural transformation, change implementation, and talent management. Spearheading Sustainable Legacy Leadershipâ , she equips and accelerates how leaders define, think, and reinvent themselves to lead more strategically. Working with CEOs and executive teams, she has a deep appreciation for the challenges faced by executives in high-stakes settings and focuses on mission-critical business needs
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