I wake up at 5:20AM during the week, head to Bar Method (3-4 times a week), and am ‘butt in seat’, at my desk by 7:45AM everyday. Even if I don’t workout, I still get up early and get to work by 8AM. I, then, leave between 4:30 and 5:00pm to beat traffic on the way home. The Net: I have 9-ish hours to work…..not just work, but work (i.e. hustle). There are days where I have meetings starting at 8:00AM and ending at 4:00PM with one, 1/2 hour break throughout the entire day. How in the heck are you supposed to get any work done?
Then there are days where I only have a few meetings which allows me to actually get work done. I could work 24 hours a day if I had the time. There is always something that can/needs to be done.
Finding balance between work and personal life can be hard but there are methods that have assisted me throughout my young career.
1. Planning and Organizing Your Work Week.
Every Monday morning, I spend 30 minutes planning my entire week – work and personal.
First, I open my Outlook calendar and identify meetings I have that day/week. Second, I make a to-do list in my notebook that outlines everything I need to get done that day and throughout the week (at least what I know of at that moment). I even put check boxes next to each item. The thrill of checking things off and crossing things out creates a sense of accomplishment for me. At this point, I know which meetings I need to prep for and which tasks I must get completed that week. Third, I organize my time. I use Outlook like nobodies business. I color code everything in my calendar from work meetings to work block to travel time to workout, etc. I plan time to work, I plan time for meetings, I plan a lunch break everyday, I plan evening activities, and I plan time to leave work. By the time I finish planning and organizing my week, I feel ready to tackle the day and know I will get everything I need to get done, done.
Take 30 minutes every Monday, plan your week, and get organized. This will minimize your stress and keep you on your toes. Try it!! Let me know if it works for you.
2. Your Mindset
What does mindset really mean in this case? To me, it means two things – agility and prioritization. I’m type ‘A’ if you haven’t noticed. I like my life organized and planned. Reality check – that doesn’t happen. Period. Meetings change, deadlines move, a personal emergency occurs – life happens. I must be able to adjust my to-do lists and my calendar everyday. Nothing is set in stone. However, there are limits to my agility – family/friends and health. I have set my mind to prioritize my family/friends and health over work. I will leave work between 4:30 – 5:00PM everyday to get home and cook dinner. I rarely work in the evenings because that time is dedicated to my husband and I. Work will be there in the morning. I sometimes have to remind myself that I’m not curing cancer or saving babies so that work doesn’t become my primary relationship. I wake up early so I can get to work early and leave early. At the end of the day, if you create a routine during the week, be able to adjust your plans when needed, and ensure you prioritize what is important to you, you’ll master work-life balance.
3. It’s All About Setting Expectations
We all have busy times at work but I’ve recognized that it is easier to manage your work-life balance during those busy times by setting your spouse’s expectations. When I have a busy day, week, or month at work, I’ll set Chuck’s expectations that I will need to work more during that specific time period. But what does that really mean? It could mean working longer days or hopping online at night more often or traveling during that range of time. When you communicate this to your spouse, it allows them the opportunity to ask questions and alter their mindset during your busy time at work. This has worked for Chuck and I since day 1. It has been one form of communication that we’ve used throughout our entire relationship. It works! Try it.
Now, if only I was good at managing work-life balance during our vacation in Mexico last week. I confess – I did check my email on my phone throughout the trip. But I never said I was good at work-life balance while on vacation. The day-to-day I have locked down….clearly I need to work on the vacation segment….
How do you manage work-life balance?