22 Replies Latest reply on Apr 12, 2017 3:00 AM by communitygecko

    How do you balance your work-life?

    Sarah O'Meara

      I struggle with this some days more than others. Occasionally, I find that they are intertwined, especially when it comes to enhancing certain skills that bleed into my "free time." I love learning and I often do self study to train myself in work related skills (like programming languages, tech news, etc.). Certain days of the week I make a point of leaving my laptop at work, or setting a timer to stop working after a certain amount of time has lapsed. If I work from home, I find that I tend to work more, so I usually try to go into the office to create a clear start and end time.

       

      I'd love to hear how you all balance your work-life, or how you blend it together. Do you set a timer? Leave your laptop at work? Refuse to work on weekends?

       

      If you want to see how our CEO, Elisa Steele, defines her work-life, check out the article Why You Should Stop Worrying About Work-Life Balance. In Elisa's article, she points out that working remotely changes the work-life dynamic, making it easier to blend the two together. What do you think? Is this a good or bad thing to be able to work anywhere and at anytime?

       

      I look forward to hearing how you navigate the increasingly blurred line of work and personal life!

        • Re: How do you balance your work-life?
          Dennis Pearce

          I leave my laptop at work during the week.

           

          I take it home on weekends but I don't take the charger.  I figure if I reach the point where the battery is running low, I've spent to much time on work. 

          • Re: How do you balance your work-life?
            KirstenL

            I have started being much more lenient with myself when I hit a wall during normal working hours, which allows me to be more forgiving of myself when I pick up the computer and check in on things when I'm watching TV at home.  If I don't push myself to be working all the time at work and I don't punish myself for working sometimes outside of work, the balance finds itself much more easily.

              • Re: How do you balance your work-life?
                Sarah O'Meara

                I totally agree, I used to force myself to take lunch at noon, but now I'll push it back if I'm on a roll and take lunch when I'm done. It feels so much better!

                 

                Being flexible about when I take a break is also much easier for me to do now that I have a standing desk, so I can still move around without worrying about sitting for long periods of time.

              • Re: How do you balance your work-life?
                Toby Metcalf

                Super Question Sarah - I cannot wait to see everyone's tips.

                Things that I do.

                1. Saying no is a great time management tool.
                2. Teach people how to fish rather than fishing for them: provide them best practices so they can help themselves
                3. Blog on time for me in my Outlook - project work, going to the gym, talking a walk
                4. I coach youth sports and often have to leave early; on those days, I log in from home to catch up and respond to emails to people know the work is getting done
                5. When it comes to learning, tweetchats are a great way to collaborate as well as build your personal and corporate brand - they only last an hour! Let me know if you have questions about these
                6. For vacations or weekends: I have 21 Community Champions, my dedicated power users - they have my personal cell and email and will ping me if there are any major issues - trust and empowerment are wonderful.

                Best,

                Toby

                • Re: How do you balance your work-life?
                  Patty McEnaney

                  Really enjoyed Elisa Steele's article and support her point that people should have the ability to work remotely, if possible. The whole conversation around IBM and before that, Yahoo, requiring employees to clock time in the office seems counter-intuitive. Why would "the market" build so many tools to make work seamless? Having the ability to work 24/7 gives us all the more reason to develop a built in-calculus about what seems right for each of us as to when and how much to work. I get up early and respond to emails as I work with a team in India, so it's important for them to have answers before they leave for the day. I love working in an office environment and, despite this, I work one day a week at home. On that day, I have a regularly scheduled meeting at 6:00 a.m. with the India team so they don't have to stay late. When I work at home, I really work, but I also use my lunch hour for essential tasks like going to the cleaners and the grocery store and it allows me to have more "quality" time after work or on the weekend. I, too, read for work in my spare time, as I am always trying to learn new things to help me motivate and connect with others. For me, "my work" and "my life" really do blend together. One of my favorite quotes, from one of my favorite books is "Only connect." So, that's what I do at work and outside. I don't count the minutes I spend or where I spend them. I just do it.

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                  • Re: How do you balance your work-life?
                    radelgado

                    These are all good suggestions. I have school on top of work so what i usually do is turn my brain off from Friday evening, till Monday morning. no technology, no books, just my own thoughts for once, haha.

                    • Re: How do you balance your work-life?
                      umillm6

                      Hi, Sarah. What a great conversation! I completely agree with Kirsten's take on being kind to yourself. I began working from home full-time in October 2015. People ask me if I miss working in the office - I really do not. I am in Ohio and my team is in the UK, so that probably helps. I get up early to login at 7 a.m. and catch as much of their workday as I can. I try to log off by 3 p.m., but am typing this a few minutes after, so you can see how successful I am on some days! Here are the things that have helped me find balance:

                      1. Be flexible. Sometimes I need to be up at 1 a.m. to help with a trading update, sometimes I need to take my niece to school in the morning. Being flexible allows me to be my best without clock watching too much.

                      2. Be transparent. My team knows where I am and what I am doing. They don't require this information, but being open up front prevents misunderstandings later.

                      3. Move. I get up from my desk at least once an hour. Sometimes I make more tea or clean up a little around the house or I do a quick yoga vinyasa. This really helps clear my head and prevents me from not leaving my desk for four-hour stretches.

                      4. No work one day a week. I pick one weekend day that I do not check my work email or touch my work accounts. (And I don't check it while on vacation, either.)

                      1 person found this helpful
                        • Re: How do you balance your work-life?
                          Sarah O'Meara

                          Thanks for the great tips! I think being transparent is fantastic, and being able to be transparent is a blessing. I've been at jobs where I'm expecting to be at work between a certain time, no matter what (even if there is no work or if I am seriously sick), but being able to be open and honest about appointments and fitting into how I work best (sometimes I just need to buckle down and focus so I prefer to go home early to finish working in a quiet environment).

                        • Re: How do you balance your work-life?
                          gbrettmiller

                          A quote I recently came across referring to some of the great creative minds of the past few hundred years:

                           

                          They organize their lives around their work, but not their days.

                           

                          For creatives in control of their own lives, the concept of work/life balance has no meaning. Life is work, work is life. Which isn't to say that you shouldn't have some structure to your life and work. In fact, the article points out that what many of these people had in common was a strict schedule that includes not only time set aside for work, but time set aside for rest and leisure (both necessary to keep the creative juices flowing).

                           

                          Unfortunately for many jobs today it is not creativity that is appreciated, but rather productivity, and it is not the worker who controls their day but the one who hands out the work to be done. In this situation, work/life balance hinges on whether or not you can be as productive as is demanded by the task master.

                          • Re: How do you balance your work-life?
                            Toby Metcalf

                            Depending on your job title and focus, I do see companies making a shift of importance to focus on productivity (goals you reach, projects you ship), over simple time on site.

                            Toby

                            • Re: How do you balance your work-life?
                              communitygecko

                              It's really a question of making what appears to be a hard decision, an easy decision. I used to stress out. One day I experimented and told myself after a day of work that it was time to FOCUS ON ME. Went home, got my windsurfing boards and went sailing (I've been doing this for 30 years now - see my personal site, http://www.wyndryder.com). Continued on this amazing journey by spending time with my wife and kids when I came home. Then watched the A's game until I fell asleep. Believe it or not, I never looked back from doing this and have practiced this for well over 15 years now.....

                               

                              .....and I would add that IMHO I a have actually produced more for my employer rather than less. Also, I would point out that it does not mean I am not available at night or over the weekend. What I have been able to do with this new mentality is to "turn on / turn off". This becomes important when you go on vacation!

                               

                              One other point, mentioned here. Flexibility. On the one side you have to create an environment of flexibility, on the other side you need to influence your employer to allow flexibility. One important way to achieve this is to secure the ability to work from home at least 1 day (but hopefully more) from home. This gets controversial, but personally I have put a line in the sand with any potential employer: 1 day at home minimum (preferably 2-3 days) or it's a showstopper. Even if you work close to home (and I generally don't), you need to go to doctor, dentist, car maintenance, etc. appointments, be available for delivery, service, kids chaperone, etc.

                               

                              My $.025.

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