February 08, 2011
This is number two in a series of leadership tips for work/family balance
Ever noticed that your stress is often caused by your juggling of work and life?
Everything around you feels stiff, unbending, and demanding.
Look for options.
I know …. you have NO options. Just assume for a moment you might be missing something. Go with me on this. Ever scheduled a telecon while sitting in your car so you can have an extra 10 minutes to walk back to work … the long way? Ever thought of managing your classroom with Teaching Partners – a student you select to try on leading the class for a specific activity, leaving you some breathing room to watch and relax? (right! depends on the age of the kids!). What if you scheduled a “doctor appointment” at the end of a big project because you knew you might need the time away (call it an appointment with the Sanity Doctor. It’s okay).
A recent study looked at the source of conflict created by a lack of work/family balance and identified several items that can help improve it. One of them is to take advantage of flexibility policies.
Are you holding back in taking advantage of flex-time because you think your professional image may suffer? That’s your choice but know that it could be resulting in more stress and imbalance.
Do not assume that there is no more flexibility than what you presently utilize. Test the waters for an ability to occasionally work from home, or adjust work hours, or set personal productivity time where you protect a certain time slot for just you.
A recommended way to start is to select someone that understands your situation and begin a conversation. An open-ended question like “What have you ever tried for achieving more flexible work-time?” Articulating intent out loud leads to a significantly higher chance of finding solutions as well as more likely follow-through.
Last Segment: Know Your Style
*** Adapted from the article Is Stress Getting to You by Rebecca A. Clay, Monitor on Psychology, January 2011.