Achieving a work-life balance does not necessarily mean putting in extra hours at home while having a flexible schedule at the office. Figure out your style of blending a personal and professional life with a few suggestions from people who are destroying the definition of putting work in one silo and life in another silo.
Time and Place
Karl Sun, founder of Lucid Software, says that his work-life balance involves mixing both aspects at the same time. He might attend one of his daughter's fencing matches, duck out for 30 minutes to conduct an interview at the Starbucks right down the street, and then return to the fencing tournament in time to see his second daughter compete. Sun also takes his employees skiing with him early in the morning while scheduling meetings for later in the morning. Skiing gets his employees relaxed and unplugged before their busy day of work.
Square Sides of Life
Dan Cook, the head of Lucid's sales team, sees work-life balance as a square. Each side represents spiritual, mental, physical and social aspects of personal life. If one side doesn't get enough attention, the square shrivels. Nourish all parts of you, especially if you see your square turning into some amorphous shape that is unrecognizable. Feed your soul, body and mind to find your personal happiness, no matter what that means.
Use this square to define four major values in your personal life. Write down these values and fulfill them on a regular basis by evaluating what you do to achieve a work-life balance. A written reminder of your personal values brings your goals into focus.
Predictable Work Schedules
As a business professional, think about predictable work schedules at the office instead of a flexible schedule. This lets you respond to employees' needs while addressing productivity and goal-setting. When you know that Dan needs Friday afternoons off but Erin works late every Wednesday, you can optimize your team.
Doors Create Physical and Mental Barriers
Consider a policy where work stops at the door. Encourage your team to stop working once they leave the office. Have a policy where no one checks emails at home and nobody calls someone else to take care of a work problem. Your team may work 60 hours per week, but once everyone goes home, that's when the work stops. This strategy only works when you completely eschew working at home and focus 100 percent on the family.
Outsource and delegate tasks to ease the burden of finding a balance. Hire a grocery delivery service to bring food to your house once per week. Find temporary help for mundane tasks when you have projects and pressing deadlines that need attention. Enhance your regular staff with specialized contract work. There's nothing wrong with asking for help, especially if doing so can help you achieve a healthy work-life balance.
Remember that your definition of a healthy work-life balance is different from everyone else's. Encourage your team to achieve this balance in their own way while striving to achieve your own. You'll be happier and will likely have happier and more productive employees.
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