Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Work-Life Balance

Being a business owner & CFO of RDL enterprises is a very fulfilling job. The daily challenges of managing money are challenging. Working with clients is great and our employees are the best. However, keeping a positive balance in the office and in my personal life is what drives me the most. Recently, we had a staff meeting and the, “RDL Talks!” blog was on our agenda. As I was thinking about what to write for one of my next posts, I started thinking about the work & life balance that we all face each and every day. So, I began to do a little research to see what people do to make this all happen and to see if what I was doing was along the right path. First, I looked to Wikipedia to see if there was such a definition of work and live balance. Much to my surprise there was! I found no reason to change what I found, so I am sharing it with you in the original form.

Work–life balance
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Work-life balance is a broad concept which is closely related and derived from the research of Job satisfaction as explained and researched by Farnaz Namin-Hedayati Ph.D from Innovent Consulting a boutique consulting and work-life solutions firm in Orlando, Florida. Within the research of Job Satisfaction, Hackman and Oldham's Job Characteristics Model, had found that there are both intrinsic and extrinsic factors, which affected perceptions of, job satisfaction within individuals. Intrinsic factors referred to job characteristics specifically. However, the extrinsic factors referred to the social and cultural norms the individual holding the job operated by. Hence, Work-life balance was considered one of the inputs of this extrinsic factor. The most researched area of work-life balance and its bi-directional relationship component referring to life-work balance was introduced by Netemeyer et al., which also described the multi-dimensionality of work-life balance (time, strain behavior). One can say that Work-life balance is the proper prioritizing between "work" (career and ambition) on one hand and "life" (pleasure, leisure, family and spiritual development) on the other. Related, though broader, terms include "lifestyle balance" and "life balance". This is fine, as long is it is clear that there is a large individual component in that. Meaning, each individual's needs, experiences, and goals, define the balance and there is not a one size fits all solution. Also, what work-life balance does not mean is an equal balance in units of time between work and life.

After reading Wikipedia’s entry – I continued to do more research (the internet is a wealth of information). I found a lot of interesting articles and information that I think is not only informative, but worth a read. This piece below was written by the staff at the Mayo Clinic was one of the articles I found. Check it out, you may learn some interesting tips that you were not aware of before…

Work-life balance: Tips to reclaim control
When your work life and personal life are out of balance, your stress level is likely to soar. Use these practical strategies to restore harmony.
By Mayo Clinic staff

There was a time when the boundaries between work and home were fairly clear. Today, however, work is likely to invade your personal life — and maintaining work-life balance is no simple task. Still, work-life balance isn't out of reach. Start by evaluating your relationship to work. Then apply specific strategies to help you strike a healthier balance.
Married to your work? Consider the cost

It can be tempting to rack up hours at work, especially if you're trying to earn a promotion or manage an ever-increasing workload. Sometimes overtime may even be required. If you're spending most of your time working, though, your home life will take a hit. Consider the consequences of poor work-life balance:

* Fatigue. When you're tired, your ability to work productively and think clearly may suffer — which could take a toll on your professional reputation or lead to dangerous or costly mistakes.
* Lost time with friends and loved ones. If you're working too much, you may miss important family events or milestones. This can leave you feeling left out and may harm relationships with your loved ones. It's also difficult to nurture friendships if you're always working.
* Increased expectations. If you regularly work extra hours, you may be given more responsibility. This may lead to only more concerns and challenges.

Strike a better work-life balance

As long as you're working, juggling the demands of career and personal life will probably be an ongoing challenge. Use these ideas to help you find the work-life balance that's best for you:

* Track your time. Track everything you do for one week, including work-related and personal activities. Decide what's necessary and what satisfies you the most. Cut or delegate activities you don't enjoy or can't handle — or share your concerns and possible solutions with your employer or others.
* Take advantage of your options. Ask your employer about flex hours, a compressed workweek, job sharing, telecommuting or other scheduling flexibility. The more control you have over your hours, the less stressed you're likely to be.
* Learn to say no. Whether it's a co-worker asking you to spearhead an extra project or your child's teacher asking you to manage the class play, remember that it's OK to respectfully say no. When you quit doing the things you do only out of guilt or a false sense of obligation, you'll make more room in your life for the activities that are meaningful to you and bring you joy.
* Leave work at work. With the technology to connect to anyone at any time from virtually anywhere, there may be no boundary between work and home — unless you create it. Make a conscious decision to separate work time from personal time. When you're with your family, for instance, turn off your cell phone and put away your laptop computer.
* Manage your time. Organize household tasks efficiently, such as running errands in batches or doing a load of laundry every day, rather than saving it all for your day off. Put family events on a weekly family calendar and keep a daily to-do list. Do what needs to be done and let the rest go. Limit time-consuming misunderstandings by communicating clearly and listening carefully. Take notes if necessary.
* Bolster your support system. At work, join forces with co-workers who can cover for you — and vice versa — when family conflicts arise. At home, enlist trusted friends and loved ones to pitch in with child care or household responsibilities when you need to work overtime or travel.
* Nurture yourself. Eat healthy foods, include physical activity in your daily routine and get enough sleep. Set aside time each day for an activity that you enjoy, such as practicing yoga or reading. Better yet, discover activities you can do with your partner, family or friends — such as hiking, dancing or taking cooking classes.

Know when to seek professional help

Everyone needs help from time to time. If your life feels too chaotic to manage and you're spinning your wheels worrying about it, talk with a professional — such as a counselor or other mental health professional. If your employer offers an employee assistance program (EAP), take advantage of available services.

Remember, striking a healthy work-life balance isn't a one-shot deal. Creating work-life balance is a continuous process as your family, interests and work life change. Periodically examine your priorities — and make changes, if necessary — to make sure you're keeping on track.

The information in this article, for me, seemed to reflect that I am pretty much on track. I do find that when my balance tips, that is when I feel the most stressed. So, keeping priorities in focus and maintaining those priorities seems to be the key. I always keep in mind that life is not a rehearsal, but a journey; so take time to smell the flowers along the way. Enjoy your day.

~ Cyndy Hutchinson • CFO, RDL enterprises