Work/Life: How Do You Create Balance in Your Work & Life?
True to the name of this series, today we’re talking about creating work/life balance. While true balance is hard to achieve, we asked association professionals what they do to make an effort.
“For my balance, I wear a bracelet from my daughter that reminds me work stops at 5pm.”
Justin Goldstein, CAE,
“For me, it’s not as much about creating separation between work and life, but instead making sure I feel like I’m devoting the time I need to the areas that give me energy. That looks like making sure I prioritize a workout in the morning if I know I have a lot of meetings, or knowing it’s time to stop working so I can go pick up my kids and spend some time with them.
I’m never going to be someone who can truly create hard lines between work and personal life, because that doesn’t make sense to me, personally. Instead, I make sure I’m spending the necessary time in my job to get to the outcomes I need to be successful and have enough opportunities outside of work to re-charge.
Sometimes I have a great idea for a project during a run, because I’ve made space in my brain for wandering thoughts, and sometimes I leave work early to go volunteer in my community because I know it will boost my mood. I love the work that I do, and so it’s easy to get caught up in the grind, but I also know I do my best work when I’m fulfilled in other ways as well.
The advice I’d give to others is to do what works for you- for too long I assumed I was failing here because I like to check my email in the morning, or because I don’t stay late in the office. Everyone has a different approach, and it’s an art, not a science.
Nikki Palluzzi, CAE,
“Set expectations early and revisit them as needed. During interviews, ask about the culture, be honest about your schedule, and how you are most productive. If separating these two facets is paramount, and you realize that will not be a reality, it’s best to know now. I suggest something similar for folks already in positions. If you have struck a serious imbalance, ask to reset expectations with your superior. Express your passion for your work alongside the need for change. Easier said than done, I know, but if nothing else, you can be proud to have stood up for yourself and spoken your truth in hopes of a better future.”
John C. Overington
“I work fully remotely and although it comes with its perks, it can also be challenging when I am trying to find my work-life balance. Fortunately for me, my association is very much in tune with helping us achieve a proper work/life culture and has offered us tools that I use every day to create a balance.
One tool is our calendars. We have core hours of operation in which we try to set our meetings within. From there, the flexibility to work around the outside of those hours is up to us and to have them respected, we need to make sure they are reflected on our calendars. This allows me to have my mornings with my children—getting them ready for school and off on the bus; whereas before I either had a 1.5 hour commute into the office or when we first moved fully virtual, felt the need to be at my desk 24/7 to ‘prove’ I was working. I can also use my calendar to block off times like lunch or throw in a load of laundry or when I need to go for a walk and get away from staring at a computer. We try to keep our meetings to 25 or 50 minutes to encourage us to get up, stretch our legs, or just not be on computer meetings every hour on the hour.
I have also set personal boundaries with the help of my family. I make sure we eat at the same time each night which requires me to sign off around the same time to make dinner. We also have a zero phone tolerance at the dinner table and until I put my kids to bed so that I can give them my undivided attention during the few hours at night I get with them. My colleagues respect each other and are understanding. Trust and comfort are something my organization has worked hard on with our small staff in our team values. This is something that I haven’t always had in a workplace and because of that, I am gaining more expertise in finding that happy balance of work/life in my every day.”
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