These blog posts take an interesting question that I was asked in my daily Live Q&A Podcasts on Facebook and give it another look. To listen to the entire Q&A, check out the podcast version on iTunes or Soundcloud for free access anywhere, or on my Facebook Page.
The Question: “Tell me about a time you struggled with work-life balance. Did you manage to solve the problem? How did you do it?”
I’m surprised how much this topic DOESN’T come up in my Q&A sessions, because it’s something that has an enormous impact on well-being. I think part of it is that people have just given up and are better at coping with it as everyone is in the same boat.
But I want to relay to you, not a success I had, but a failure and what reflection on that failure well after the fact led me to.
I’ve lived in Las Vegas for the last 19 years (wow, how time flies) and as you might guess spent over a decade in the Hospitality Industry. The 24 hour industry coupled with the emergence of technology posed some big challenges. For me the frustration was in the interruptions to family time (dinner, swim lessons, weekends, etc) and I never managed it particularly well.
It was only after I left Hospitality and took a position in a company with more traditional hours and days off that I discovered the key that eluded me in Hospitality, and I used it to help bring balance to a position that while having a better schedule, still had those intrusions we are all familiar with. The tactic I employed and that I’ve employed with my private coaching clients is:
Renew your focus on making the MOST of your time away from work
This seems simple/obvious, but too many leaders bring a ton of focus to their work life and getting the most out of it, yet bring little of that attention into their personal life. For this reason, you might ask what they did over their weekend and get a response somewhere along the lines of, “Nothing much, just chilled out and ran a few errands.” Don’t get me wrong, sometimes vegging out on the couch is therapeutic, but what I recommend is getting in touch with the simple things you REALLY like to do, and make them a priority:
- Trying a new restaurant
- Going out to a movie
- Heading to Starbucks and reading a book
- Cooking dinner
- Talking a hike
- Anything at all
Schedule one of these things for an evening during the week, and one or two over the weekend. You still maintain your flexibility and you can be sure that you bring some quality to your free time. For me personally it might be browsing the magazine rack at Barnes & Noble, then hitting the practice range and seeing a movie with the kids on the weekend.
Bringing a little more focus on quality into your personal life can go a long way to balancing the scales. Let me know what you think and we’ll discuss further.
To ask me questions on leadership or management, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I would love to have you subscribe to the "Mentor Minutes Podcast" on iTunes or Soundcloud. I know it’ll be something that makes leadership easier for you.