January 12, 2011
This is first in a series of five leadership tips for work/family balance
Ever noticed that your stress is often caused by your juggling of work and life?
You have some systems that work for managing your calendar, and other that seem to unravel regularly. You are lured by shiny new time management techniques, but are sick of trying all of them out without much luck.
An overly-challenging work/family balance interferes with the personal productivity in the majority of us. Managing that work/family balance effectively leads to reduced stress.
Sounds to me like understanding how to manage your own work/life balance is a tricky little key to solving lots of things: conflict, stress, time management, establishing world peace.
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 knowing yourself and your personal style and habits.
What may work for others may not work for you. Attractive new trends are tempting to try out so that you feel like you are hip and on the verge of what everyone else in the modern world is doing. For example, the latest advice on texting during vacation may say stay away from work during time off, but for some people it actually helps them feel they are nicely-balancing work/family while being productive.
Set a certain time frame, perhaps a week, to do nothing more than inventory what is working for you and what is hindering you in managing your work/family balance. Where do you get stressed? Where does a personal need butt up against a work need?
Set this list aside at the end of a week to incubate. Then, analyze it for trends and no-brainers. For example, did you notice that you were stressed at the end of a certain day because something did not get done and you had to leave for a family get-together? But now that you look at it in hindsight, you see that the to-do’s could have easily transferred over to the next day. Why the anxiety over having everything off your list at once? Use this list to make adjustments on what may be worth letting go of and where you may want to expand your options.
Look at how you operate in your chaotic world as flexible. Actually say to yourself, “I have my own personal flex-style and it includes …”
*** Adapted from the article Is Stress Getting to You by Rebecca A. Clay, Monitor on Psychology, January 2011.