October 04, 2017

Investing in "What Matters" Over "Having it all"

 

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(From R to L: Monique , Paula Glickenhaus, Kathleen Procario, Claudia Chen)

 

 

A least 100 women are gathered in a conference room -- and two men.

We are waiting to listen to a panel discussion on Investing in "What Matters" over "Having it All" at the S.H.E. Summit Bacardi in Miami. The panel looks interesting to me as I gaze at the white board with bios on the speakers. And then, the discussion begins....

Here is what I take away from the conversation that follows:

1. Investing in your relationship with your spouse, partner, significant other should be high on your priority list. (It matters!)

The moderator is Claudia Chan, founder of SHE Summit and author of This IS How We Rise.  Claudia tells us she is struggling with raising a two year old, seven month old, writing a book,  keeping her marriage strong, and running her organization. I've heard discussions on work life balance many, many, many times. But Claudia brings up a point that rarely gets mentioned. She aims for balance not as an individual, but as part of a couple. Claudia prioritizes she and her husband "getting on the same page." When investing in what matters most, she considers her marriage her top priority.

"If you're good as a couple, your children will feel more confident when they see mom and dad in good place," she said. "Your relationship with your partner is your most important relationship."

2. Outsourcing will look different for each of us, depending on our income, but it can be crucial to having time for priorities. 

Panelist Paula GlickenhausVice President of Global Indirect Procurement with Bacardi Limited, travels often for her high-powered job. She has a grown daughter who is 22 and a son who is 9. To keep up with her many responsibilities, she exercises wherever she is in any way she can..."If I am in Miami, I swim. If I am in New York, I do yoga. If I am in Switzerland, I run." But to have me time, work time, spouse time and child time, Paula outsources. She outsources A LOT. "I do procurement ...so even at work I outsource everything I can." Paula said the goal of outsourcing is to ensure family time is the best quality it can be.

When prodded, Paula detailed exactly what she outsources:

  • Homework: "I can't help my kids with homework. I have no patience. So I find a tutor who can help them until the age they don’t need help anymore. I did it with my daughter and now with son."
  • Sports. "My son is good at soccer, but the coach said he needs to practice more. I found a coach online and recruited a few other kids in the same boat who can be coached as a group." 
  • Driving. "I have a nanny, but she is not full time. She picks my son up from school and takes him to activities."
  • Lunches. I tried to get my son to buy the school lunch but the quality came time and he wanted to bring a lunch box. Rather than take that extra half hour in the morning, I use FreshDirect to make his lunches. They also have some amazing snacks." 

3. Set your priorities one day at a time. 

Kathleen Procario, HR & Talent Management  for Southern Glazers Wine & Spirits, said you can’t do it all, so you need to start to focus on what’s most important today. Most of us wear many titles: sister, brother, husband, wife, friend, parent, employee. "We have to figure out which of those jobs matter right now," shw said.

 

4. Going "all in" at work is okay, but get your partner on board. 

Monique Catoggio runs a business from home. So does her husband who also is an entrepreneur. She wants to give her business a lot of attention, so does her husband. So they take turns with the home stuff to give the other person the ability to focus on work stuff.  "We both prioritize making our business profitable so we have learned to find harmony in our home," she said.

To keep that harmony, they speak up when they need something from the other. "When I see resistence, I tell him you're not supporting me in the way I need you to and we have to talk about it," she said. Monique said it can be challenging to find time for those conversations. "Usually when the kids go to bed, that’s our time.  Sometimes we have a heart-to-heart over TV shows."  The biggest risk is not communicating, she said. "Don’t let it get far down road."

5. Someone needs to deal with the logistics. They matter.

There are bills to pay, appointments to make, home repairs to deal with and supplies that need to be restocked. Someone has to handle the logistics of daily life and running a household. When there are children, the logistics rise exponentially. Those small things can build resentment if one person in a household feels he or she is handling a disproportionate amount. However, if the other person takes on the task, there can be no second guessing, or nit picking. "When you divide and conquer whatever your partner takes on, let them do it their way," Monique said.

 

6. Don't ask, tell.

Paula said she doesn't ask her husband if it's okay to go to the gym. She tells him when she is going. She doesn't ask her boss when she can take vacation. She tells him to put it on his calendar. Investing in what matters over having it all means asserting yourself to get what matters to you.

 

7. Take a pause, often.

People get stuck or feel overwhelmed because they don’t find time to understand themselves, Monique said. "We make ourselves busier than we should be."

That's why we need to create more moments of pause...to make time to figure out what matters most.

"It doesn’t have to be two hours. When you give yourself time to create clarity, you can think about what you want your relationship to feel like and if it's not the relationship you want, you can do something about it," she said.

 

While these business women might not have all the solutions, I think they had some great wisdom to share -- for both the men and women in the room!

 

 

September 27, 2017

How to take stuff off your schedule

 

Overwhelmed

A friend call me today to tell me she wants to do more networking to further her career. She has come up with a great idea for workshops she wants to offer, and now she wants to go out and meet the right people to hire her. 

I could certainly relate to her ambition. However, my friend has four children under the age of 10, which limits her free time and challenges her work life balance.

The first thing I told her is that she needs to figure out how much time each week she can devote to networking and she must get a clear idea of who she considers her ideal business target. Figuring that out takes some honest contemplation, a marketing plan, and a hard look at her weekly schedule. I told her she likely will need to take some existing tasks off her schedule if she wants to make time for networking.

"What? Take something off my schedule?" she asked me, surprised at my suggestion.  She confessed she didn't know where to begin. My friend's scenario is common. It's easy to say we want to do more of something - spend more time networking, hanging out with family, prospecting new customers - but taking tasks off our schedule to make it happen gets tricky. My conversation with my friend inspired me to create a guide for how to take tasks off your schedule. So, here are my five tips for how to do it.

  1. Take a really hard look at where you spend your time.

      Often, we waste hours on tasks like browsing Facebook or checking email. It's easy to fill up time when           you don't have a plan. Those wasted hours are the ones you want to take off your schedule. You then can       use that time for your high priority tasks.

 

       2. Know where you have flexibility and where you don't. 

       Be honest with yourself about what tasks you choose to do and which you must to do to keep your work         life balance and your sanity. Know where you have flexibility in your schedule, and where you don't. A        friend insisted she be the one to pick her child up from daycare  at 5 p.m. It led to numerous             confrontations with her boss. When she finally agreed to let her mother pick up her child, taking that        one task off her scheduled alleviated her stress level and improved her workplace relationships. 

      

       3. Figure out what you need to accomplish, and what you can outsource.

         Can you get someone else to do the driving to and from your children's soccer games? Can you ask an         assistant in your office to take over making copies? Can your spouse drive your child to school so you          can go to morning networking breakfasts?  Many successful networkers have the time to devote to it         because they are awesome outsourcers.

        4. Decide which tasks no longer have the meaning they once did.

        My friend is on the board of her local library. She has decided there are other, less time consuming ways         to be involved with the library. She has decided not to continue after her term is up. That will free up         time for her to network in new ways and new places.

 

        5. Get creative. 

        Technology creates the ability to do things differently, from paying bills to managing our calendars to         sending certain email directly into folders. By automating some of the things we do, we can take them         off our schedules.

 

 

The key to better time management is being honest with ourselves about how we spend our time, and being willing to make trade offs. Fall is one of the busiest times of the year. As you consider taking more on, it may be the ideal time to take stuff off your schedule, too.

September 20, 2017

What we learned from Hurricane Irma about losing internet

                             No-wifi

In the week after Hurricane Irma, life stood still. Power was out. Internet was down. People in Florida were on the verge of insanity. 

Many of us didn't know how to handle being disconnected from Wi Fi. And so, the true test of our obsession with connectivity began to emerge. 

Two days after the storm, my sister-in-law called to tell me she had set up a temporary office in Dunkin Donuts. My sister in law said couldn't stand hanging around in her hot home without power, television or Internet. So she took her daughter to the doughnut shop, which had wi fi,  handed her daughter an iPad and set up her laptop. "I'm back in business," she said, sounding as if she had just won the lottery.

Across town, I had friends who lived in areas where there was no where to go for Wi Fi because businesses in their area were without power and closed. Even when those friends called to tell me their power had come back on, they spoke as if they were completely out of sorts because they still had no Internet.

Yes, we are a nation that wants to be connected. As much as we complain about the fact that work follows us home, and as much as we complain about our lack of work life balance, we don't want to disconnect. Let's admit the truth: we have developed such a compulsion for checking email, googling information and texting from our devices that we don't know how to balance our lives without Internet service.

On the flip side, I had friends who relished the days while their offices were closed and the kids were home from school. Sure it was hard to get out of the daily work/school routine. But there was an upside to the post-Irma chaos in that it provided some quality time with family and friends.

Once there was a time when people chanted the lyrics, "I want my MTV."  I think the lesson we learned from Irma is we now want much more than our MTV. We want power. We want cell phone use. We want Internet. We want connectivity and we're willing to sacrifice some downtime, balance and maybe even some of our sanity to get it!

September 05, 2017

Hurricane Irma is coming, must I go to work?

As South Florida prepares for the hurricane coming our way, many people want or need time off to start preparing their homes. And as the week goes on, the schools may close before our workplaces shut leaving us with no childcare. It's only natural to wonder what the law is about employers requiring we go to work. I wanted to repost an article I wrote in 2008 for The Miami Herald that may help answer questions on employees' minds.

Storm's here: must I go to work?

Each hurricane season workers have to juggle their jobs with preparing for a storm. But many have three big questions about work: Do I have to go? Will I be paid? What do I do with my kids? The Miami Herald spoke to a few local labor lawyers to get their input.

Q: I need to miss work to prepare for the hurricane . Can I be fired? Will I be paid?

A: Yes, you can be fired. Florida is an employment-at-will state, which means that an employee can legally be terminated for any reason other than discrimination or actions like whistle blowing.

Getting paid will depend on your job classification. Hourly workers are paid only for time worked, so employers aren't legally obligated to pay you anything if you're not at work. If you are a salaried employee (and don't get overtime), an employer can force you to use your vacation time.

Q: My boss says I have to work during the storm. Can I be fired if I refuse?

A: Yes. Again, because Florida is an employment-at-will state. Still, while several lawyers say they can't think of a law that makes it illegal to force employers to work during a storm, they often advise common sense on the part of employers during a hurricane . A good rule of thumb is if the people in charge of the business don't want to be out on the roads, no employee should have to be.

Employers should post a hurricane work policy so everyone gets treated the same. If your employer isn't doing that, ask for a policy. Mark Cheskin, a labor lawyer at Hogan Lovells in Miami who represents employers, said he would tell employees to approach the boss and ask what the policy is to make clear you understand your workplace's rules. Cheskin said employers should make the rules clear for all employees.


Q: Can I be forced to use vacation days or personal days during a hurricane , even if the business is closed?

A: Yes, if you are a salaried employee (and don't get overtime) and your place of business is closed because of the hurricane for less than a week. According to the new Department of Labor opinion, employers can ask workers to use vacation time, which can include personal days, even if the workplace is closed. The only good news: According to the new opinion, if you have run out of vacation time, or won't have enough left to make up the time missed, then your employee has to pay you for the entire week.

Q: School is closed, most day-care centers are closed, and I don't have a place to put my kids. Can I bring them with me to work?

A: Your boss isn't obligated to provide room for your children. In fact, labor lawyer Cheskin thinks he would tell his clients that's not a great idea.

"I'd probably advise my clients not to do it, we don't want to have that kind of liability," said Cheskin. But, he says, that's "completely up to the employer".

Q: My workplace is closed before the storm and says it will reopen afterward. Will I be paid?

A: Again, it depends on whether you are a hourly or salaried worker. Companies aren't obligated to pay hourly workers, although after last year's storms, several did. In most cases, employers are obligated to pay salaried workers a full week's salary, even if they are closed, but they can make you use your vacation or personal days.

Many labor lawyers, even those who represent employers, say that companies that follow the letter of the law risk seriously damaging employee morale.

While it often depends on the size of the company, if an employer can afford to pay the workers, it's probably best to do so, says Michael Casey, a labor lawyer with Duane Morris in Miami.

"It's more difficult for small employers to pay people who don't work a couple of days. Larger companies are better positioned to absorb those extra costs," he said, but added: "Most employers want to treat people fairly and help them. This would be a good time to do that."

August 14, 2017

How to survive a hostile workplace

A friend works for a woman who has made her work life difficult. Rather than bringing any concerns directly to my friend, the woman goes above her and complains to their boss. The boss then scolds my friend. This has happened repeatedly and my friend now wants to leave her job, convinced the woman is a backstabber.

I suspect there are other people who have been in a similar scenario. People skills seem to be diminishing and more employees are complaining about toxic co-workers and bosses.

Let's say that you find yourself in an unpleasant workplace situation like my friend wondering...what's the best way to handle a workplace bully or office backstabber? A Fast Company article titled,  5 Common Workplace Bullies and How to Deal with Them, may help. As the article points out, sometimes, you have to keep detailed notes of someone's behavior. Other times the best way to survive is to find another supervisor or leader in the company who can intervene on your behalf.

I asked workplace culture expert Jerry Acuff, founder of Delta Point in Scottsdale, Arizona, for his thoughts on how to handle workplace conflicts, office backstabbers and toxic co-workers. He had some helpful suggestions.

1. Try to build a  better relationship with the backstabber or the co-workers causing you grief. It may be painful to do, but Acuff says you might say something like..."We don't  have the relationship I wish we did and I'd like to change that."

2. Have a courageous conversation. If you have made the decision that improving your relationship is not possible, have a courageous conversation. "Make it clear you will not be treated like that," Jerry says.

3. Build relationships with company leaders, people in positions of authority. "Sometimes that means taking on assignments that are important to senior level people, such as chairing the company United Way campaign," Jerry says. "You have to try to insulate yourself from the idiots and backstabbers. 

4. Address the issue head on. Jerry says confront the person causing the conflict and turn the tables. You could ask something such as... "Why did you put me in that situation? I can't imagine you would want someone to do that to you."

5. Consult a mentor. "You will always find people looking to get ahead, or people who got ahead and don't have training. "If someone is putting you in a bad light in your workplace, you may have to face it head on and figure out the best way to do that.  That's where a mentor is valuable," Jerry said.

I asked Jerry if he thinks you can tame an office backstabber. It's a question I have been pondering for years as workers in various professions complain about toxic people their workplaces.

"I think you can at times, but it depends on how evil the person is," Jerry said.  "Trust is rare. I  am not saying be skeptical, but rather be real."

If it is not one person who is toxic, but rather the workplace itself, you may feel comforted in knowing many others feel that way, too. A new study of 3,066 workers by the Rand Corp., Harvard Medical School and the University of California, Los Angeles, found many Americans feel their workplace is grueling, stressful and surprisingly hostile.

The Associated Press reported the findings earlier this week and summed up the study's bullet points:

Among the findings:

— Nearly one in five workers — a share the study calls "disturbingly high" — say they face a hostile or threatening environment at work, which can include sexual harassment and bullying. Workers who have to face customers endure a disproportionate share of abuse.

 — Nearly 55 percent say they face "unpleasant and potentially hazardous" conditions.

— Nearly three quarters say they spend at least a fourth of their time on the job in "intense or repetitive physical" labor. "I was surprised at how physically demanding jobs were," says lead author Nicole Maestas, a Harvard Medical School economist.

— Telecommuting is rare: 78 percent say they are required to be present in their workplace during working hours.

— Only 38 percent say their jobs offer good prospects for advancement. And the older they get, the less optimistic they become.

— About half say they work on their own time to meet the demands of their job.

I always enjoy hear from people who feel their co-workers are their second family. It makes going to work so much better. If you are someone who feels camaraderie with co-workers, consider yourself fortunate. If you aren't, it might be time to make a change.

 

 

 

August 05, 2017

Inside a food truck and the struggle for work life balance

One day, I was walking around the Wynwood Second Saturday Art Walk when I came across Michael Kritikos and his The Original Greek food truck. His gyros were yummy and his smile was big, so I decided to find out a little more about the highs and lows of operating a food truck in South Florida.

Is it fun? What are the challenges? Do the rewards outweigh the challenges? Most important, how does a food truck owner find work life balance when every minute you are cooking and serving is money in your pocket and time off is lost income?

Michael had just returned from his first vacation in many years and had a lot to say about the challenges of running a mobile food business and balancing a personal life.

DSC_3143

Here is Michael set up and ready to serve his yummy Greek food at Wynwood's Second Saturday Art Walk. You can tell from this photo that he loves what he does for a living.

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

August 01, 2017

How Good Office Design Can Help with Stress and Work Life Balance

If you are stressed out at work, it may be because your office is designed in a way that creates tension. You may not have even considered that, right? 

Today, my guest is Juliana Fernandez, founder and principal of AEI U.S. Studio, the North American office of AEI, a world-class commercial design firm that is among the largest in Latin America. She has a lot to say about how the way office design affects our stress levels and how the right design can help with our work life balance.

Juliana has led office design projects in Miami, Latin America and New York and has more than 22 years of experience. Her clients include Microsoft, Coca Cola and Holland & Knight. So, let's talk design....

Juliana Fernandez (1)

By Juliana Fernandez

As employees spend more time working and staying connected to their jobs 24-7 via
smartphones, tablets and desktops, the boundaries between work-life balance are
becoming blurred. This has sparked a need for employers to take responsibility to address how their office environment plays a critical role in employee health.


From my day-to-day experience as a design professional, I have found that establishing
an office space where employees desire to spend their time is important. I have repeatedly experienced that even the smallest office changes speak to the value of making employee wellbeing a priority.


Yet, design is often overlooked when considering the foundation of improving burnout
rates and promoting healthy retention. This is unfortunate, as I have seen how
innovative workspaces can improve wellness and alleviates stress, while ultimately
encouraging movement, getting employees out from behind their desks, and fostering
interaction among colleagues.


At our firm, we employ in-house psychologists and anthropologists to design office
spaces that combat the stressful environment of workplaces to encourage and support
employee health and well-being. Our team possesses extensive experience in
workplace strategies, organizational culture and worker behavior. In fact, these
psychological elements should ideally play an integral role in today’s office design
process.

To really make a positive impact in the workplace environment and reduce employees’
stress in the office, here are the fundamental design factors that I have found to be
tremendously effective:

Provide Natural Light. Give employees as much access to natural air and light as possible, which has proven to decrease headaches and respiratory diseases. Some ways this can be achieved include creating offices near the windows, opening closed office spaces up with the addition of glass, and moving closed rooms toward the core of
building.

Design for Egronomics. Take ergonomics into account by using the right office furniture to minimize muscular and bone diseases. Effective ergonomic design can contribute to reduction in muscle and nerve issues. For corporate design clients, I
typically implement adjustable computer screens in terms of height and distance
to make people feel comfortable and to improve their visual acuity.


Factor in space use.  Consider how to stay dynamic by balancing work and social spaces. This allows employees to choose where and how to work and empowers them – leading to increased job satisfaction and significant stress reduction. Also, where possible, incorporate game areas and intriguing breakrooms to give employees another reason to stay engaged and satisfied at work.


Consider worker needs. Determine team needs based on your specific profession and culture. Give periodic surveys to employees to understand their work space desires. If
possible, work with a crew of anthropologists to collect observations, interviews,
questionnaires and results from ‘Design Thinking’ workshops – led by design
firms such as ours – AEI U.S. Studio. I have found that this process ultimately
acknowledges the relationship between spaces, workers and organizational
culture, by analyzing if they complement each other or on the contrary they send
opposite messages.

Ultimately, my years as a design professional have taught me that creating
work spaces that reduce stress, increase healthy habits, support the physical welfare
of employees, and maximize productivity and lifestyle –  requires the buy in of a socially responsible employer. If created and executed properly, thoughtful office
design has proven to be a powerful tool to support employee performance, one that I
have found to be key for surviving the digital uprise.

 

Globant San Francisco (1)

Offices of Globant in San Francisco

July 31, 2017

Monday already? 5 work life tips to get you through the week

 

There’s always a strange feeling waking up on a Monday morning. The week ahead has so much promise —  and in a way that can be scary. Will this be the week I get to leave work in time to take an evening bike ride? Will this be the week I land that big customer or make progress on that project I am working on? 

It could be. Here are some ways you can make it happen. If, you get started today.

1. Get In the Right Mindset

The first way to have a better Monday is get in the right mindset.  Are you dreading the things that might stop this from becoming a great week? Envision yourself waking up Saturday morning happy, ready to enjoy the day because you had a great week. Start Monday off by saying, “I will be happy on Saturday if I…” Now, however you filled in the blank, think positive and focus on making that happen. 

2. Get clear on your purpose

Now, to wake up happy on Saturday means you did your usual multitude of tasks during the week, but you did them with a purpose in mind. As Eric Barker writes in Time Magazine: Ask yourself, “How does what I do benefit others?” 

Barker says even without getting a new job or working for a charity you can find purpose. He notes that Duke professor Dan Ariely suggests “reframing your experience.” You might not be able to change what you have to do but you can change how you see it. And when you look at it through the lens of how it can help others, you’ll often find more motivation.

3. Gain Control

It is so unbelievably easy to feel overwhelmed driving to work on Monday, or driving home. Maybe you begin making a mental checklist of all the things you want or need to get done. Maybe you make a digital or paper list. Regardless, your mind is racing and the list is growing long. Stop. Take a breath. Think bigger. Set goals for the week. Specific, realistic goals. Ask yourself, “What could I get done this week that would give me a sense of accomplishment? Focus on those few, specific goals.

4. Energize Yourself

On Monday mornings, I’m already thinking about ways I’m going to treat myself during the week. Even if I have a ton of work to get done, I need something to motivate me. It could be a mid-week coffee break with a friend. It could be Friday night happy hour with my husband. It could be a book I’m going to start reading together with my son. It’s amazing how Mondays are easier to get through knowing there is something to look forward to during the week.

5. Plan for Positive Interaction

We all have people who annoy us. It’s an inevitable part of life. On Monday, imagine the next conversation with that person during the week going well. Plan on taking a deep breath or pausing before you respond to anything he or she says, and then choosing what you are going to say rather than reacting from anger or showing signs of irritation. Reacting to a rude person is a waste of time, as is letting your concern over the interaction put you in a grumpy mood for the week. You have the power to change that — before it happens.

 

It's easier than you think to start the week of right. So, think positive and ask yourself, "Will I wake up on Saturday morning feeling like I have had a productive, awesome week?" I think your answer will be yes. To read more of my tips, visit my website: BalanceGal.com

 

July 20, 2017

Golin shares how it helps employees with work life balance

When you run a business that employs millennials, work life balance is critical. Without it, turnover is greater and loyalty is lower. So, I love to hear how businesses handle this challenge. Today, we're going to find out.

My guest blogger is Flavia Vigio, executive director for Miami and Latin America for Golin, a global PR firm. Flavia has worked in Latin America and Italy and has seen different cultures in action. In her position at Golin, she works with global clients and has many employees who look up to her. 

Golin has made some changes in the way it operates to encourage work life balance and today, Flavia will share them with us.

                    

 

 

Flávia Vigio (Golin)Going All In

At Golin, our motto is to “go all in” so in April 2016 we chose to launch a number of initiatives that aimed at promoting a good work life balance  as part of a program we call Life Time. Life Time is Golin’s official commitment to honor and revere life experiences – one’s “life time” – as a foundation of life at Golin. We go all in for our clients. But this was our moment to go all in for our employees, too.

It was an important perspective shift – away from the decades-old tenure-based benefits program to a trust-based, mutually beneficial relationship. Every suggestion from employees became fair game to be considered. The results led Golin to introduce unlimited time off, enhanced family care, extended health and wellness programs and work-from-anywhere flexibility.

Has the culture and engagement changed? The answer is yes.

In the past year, members of our Miami team have chosen to explore Machu Picchu, take historic tours of Savannah or lounge on Bahamian islands only accessible by boat. And just as important for balance, staff members have had "Life Time" days to deal with personal emergencies or losses within families without having to be constantly preoccupied about the number of vacation days remaining in a ledger.

Unlimited time off – which had never been offered globally by any other agency – can, of course, be perplexing. We found that the key to success is setting expectations correctly, sharing goals with teams, assuring everyone will do their best and building a mutually supportive culture around flexibility, respect and trust.

Our teams today have stronger and more beneficial communications protocols in place to support the work-from-anywhere flexibility offering --- something more and more of the workforce says makes a real difference. Now each employee, regardless tenure or title, can choose to work from anywhere one day a week.

Finally, our extended health and wellness benefit offers a monthly stipend for exercise, wellness or peace-of-mind activities. Those activities are determined by each employee so they can achieve their own personal balance.  They range from gym memberships to singing lessons, language courses to yoga retreats, photography classes to pet-sitting services.

The "Life Time" program not only helped us attract new employees at Golin, it has helped us retain talented people who might not have been able to fit their careers into their lives before. And it’s great to work with people who want to be here. Our founder, Al Golin, said it best, “Happy people make happy clients.” And we believe that we give our best when we are at our best. Today, this may mean having “me time.” Tomorrow, it might mean doubling down on our work in support of our clients.

In the pursuit of balance, there’s something to be said for those businesses that “go all in.”

 

GolinMIA Corp Run 2017

Golin team at Corporate Run!

July 19, 2017

How to look at work life balance from a big picture view

Bigger-picture-single-letters-pinned-cork-noticeboard-42704936
It's July and I know exactly what I want to accomplish this month. I have goals. I have a day-by-day to do list. I have lots of enthusiasm. 

Still, something doesn't feel right. If I accomplish everything on my list, I will be thrilled. But I also will be stressed out and I will have sacrificed the time in which I usually  exercise and spend time with my family and friends. I don't want to make that sacrifice on  a regular basis. However, for this month, I'm going to let myself be okay with that.

Let's talk about approaching work life balance from a high-level view.

In a recent Chicago Tribune article, 5 Things High-Powered Women Need to Know About Work-life Balance, one tip stood out for me among the others. It was tip #3. Think of work-life balance from a calendar-year perspective.  Consider balance in terms of not only the hour, day and week but also month and year. “It really is a teeter-totter, you’re constantly trying to balance it out,” said Aimee Cohen, Women on Point co-founder.

Some days, when we are handling client emergencies late at night, it's hard to remember that we are in the workplace for the long haul and need to have balance to make it to the finish line. The way I see it, most people need to know how many late nights they are okay with putting in, and for how long. They also need to recognize when they aren't putting enough time into work to reach their career goals.

We are more than half way through the calendar year, which makes it an ideal time to do some re-balancing to finish out the year.

Here is how to look at work life balance in a way you may not have considered.

1. Take a chance.  If you feel like you haven't put your full effort into getting ahead at work or landing a big customer, make it your time to float a new idea or give your job your all. Spend an evening on your patio letting your creative juices stir and getting your confidence high and then go for it. It's okay to give yourself a set time period to give your career or your business 100 percent of your time and energy.

2. Re-evaluate sacrifices. If your goal is to become a partner in your law firm, it is going to take hard work and long hours. How many years are you willing to dedicate to short term sacrifices to hit your long-term goals? You need to figure that out and be okay with your decision. If you have changed your mind about the sacrifices you are making to reach career goals, recognize that and make a new plan.

3. Make an appointment.  Because it's summer, most workplaces are a little more casual, flexibility is a little more available and people tend to be in better moods. Seize the opportunity and make an appointment to initiate an activity you feel will give you ongoing balance. Make a date with a personal trainer, or with a good friend to try a new fitness class, or with your partner to start walking together at night, or with a co-worker to take Friday lunches. Set the wheels in motion to re-balance.

4. Rethink urgency. One of the biggest threats to work life balance is a false sense of urgency. How has the first half of the year gone for you? Have you allowed  to take over every email and action? Remember, if you want to accomplish your goals for the week, month, year...you are going to need to figure out when to be accessible and when to let things slide.

5. Think differently. Some weeks, I am too busy writing articles on deadline to worry about social media or make fancy dinners for my family. I have to tell myself that one week is not going to make a difference in whether I lure new social media followers or whether my kids think I'm a good mother. The same is true for taking a week of vacation, or time off to do fertility treatment.  When you take a long-term view of work life balance, you often make different decision about taking short breaks from work.

Whatever stress you may be facing, remember finding fulfillment is always about the bigger picture. Our work life balance changes throughout our lifetime – it is constantly evolving – and it should as we make the big decisions and our personal and professional lives change accordingly.