Guru Tips 1V3

07 Mar, 2012

Guru Guidance Tips: Maintaining a Positive Work/Life Balance

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Read time: 1 minute, 44 seconds


The Scenario

The mentee is relatively new to the industry. He is single, generally enjoys his work, and able to devote long hours, as needed, to meet deadlines. As he gains experience and increases involvement in outside organizations like SMPS, he occasionally worries about burnout as demands on his time increase. The mentor is more experienced and has a family at home. She must continually juggle responsibilities at work and home, and sustain her connections with various industry associations. How might the pair discuss their challenges and their approaches to maintaining a positive work/life balance? Feel free to share your own experiences.

Communicate openly with supervisors, peers and family

  • Set expectations by being up front from the beginning about the obligations you can predict
  • Be flexible – your team can cover for you in an emergency, but offer to fill in another time and be available to cover for others. Do not just dump responsibilities on your teammates. Or, consider doing something nice to thank those that help you (e.g. cupcakes)
    • Build trust by demonstrating a consistency of character. Make sure your co-workers know that you will get things done and they will be more supportive when something unexpected comes up.

Strategies you can try to achieve better work/life balance

  • Prioritize your work to better plan out your day/week/month
    • Set calendars and develop a schedule - plan for time apart from your work.
  • Plan ahead to ensure you can meet deadlines around your schedule
    • Help to organize others as much as possible to avoid last minute crunches. Sometimes this is unavoidable but, after completing the work, you can help your supervisors to better understand how much time different tasks take so they will be more realistic about the time needed to produce various deliverables in the future.
  • Don’t over-commit to outside organizations. Pick the ones that are most valuable to you and your firm
  • Involving your family in what you are doing can help them to better understand your job and your responsibilities
    • Could include family in an after-hours event at work
    • If appropriate, could bring spouse and/or children along on certain trips, e.g. to a conference in Hawaii
    • Could bring kids along to drop off a proposal and then take some time to walk around and explore the area or have lunch
    • You must carefully gauge whether this will prevent you from being productive and whether this works for your family – some prefer to keep work and home completely separate
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