The Learning and Talent Development Office within the Office of Human Resources hosted the 21st Annual Leadership & Management Development Conference at Union South on Wednesday, November 13, 2019. One of the many breakout sessions was “Removing your Superwoman/man Cape” delivered by AnntoinetteMarie Williams, international author, trainer and speaker. In her presentation, she provided the following information about balancing your life, family and career.
Among the 38 countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United States comes in at number 30 for work-life balance. This ranking is due to 11.4% of Americans working 50 or more hours per week, while spending 11.4 hours for leisure and personal care daily. The number one country, the Netherlands, had only 0.5 percent of people working those long hours, and they dedicate 15.9 hours for leisure and personal care. (For more details, see https://smallbiztrends.com.)
Today, work-life balance ranks as one of the most important workplace attributes – second only to compensation – and workers who feel they have a better work-life balance tend to work 21% harder than employees who feel overworked. Work-life balance involves a mixture of time management, commitment and most importantly prioritization. So how do we get there?
Here are 12 steps Williams suggested to help balance life, family and career:
- Track your time – Keep a log. This data will help you understand how you are using, and losing, your time.
- Determine your priorities – Ask yourself, “What do I need to start doing? Stop doing? Continue doing? Do more of? Do less of? Do differently?”
- Set specific (SMART) goals – Take your list of priorities and turn them into Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timebound goals.
- Schedule scrupulously – Set aside 10 to 20 minutes a day to plan your tasks and activities for the next day.
- Establish boundaries – Set fair and realistic limits on what you will and will not do at work and at home. Clearly communicate these boundaries to your supervisor, coworkers, partner and family.
- Take care of your health – Your health should always be your number one priority. If you are not in good shape physically, mentally and emotionally, both your work life and personal life will suffer.
- Nurture your family/relationships – If your job or career is damaging your personal relationships, both areas will ultimately suffer.
- Make time for you – Indulge in a small pleasure daily.
- Leave work at work – Develop a mental on-off switch between work and home.
- Exercise your options – Many forward-thinking companies today are creating policies and programs that facilitate work-life balance. Find out what options your business offers.
- Work smarter not harder – Using time efficiently is an important skill that everyone should learn. Also learn to say, “No.”
- Know when to ask for help – If you are overwhelmed at work, and it is causing undue stress, don’t suffer in silence. Shed the superwoman/superman image, and explain your situation to your boss or supervisor.
It is possible to have a successful professional career and a fulfilling personal life. Take control of your work. Be proactive with your time. Get a (balanced) life.