No, this is not a discussion about weight loss, exercise or nutritious eating. Though important factors of a healthier and happier life, this conversation is about managing change to foster a relevant balance. Major events throughout our lives can tip the scales and at the end of this article, I will provide some suggestions on how to manage and retain such a balance. But first, I want to share my story.
My career spans over three decades and in that time, I learned early on how to balance the scale between work and life. I was ambitious and was determined to move up the corporate ladder. When I had my children however, the scale shifted to investing more in my life balance. That’s because as much as you love them, they do turn your life upside down. You move from being free to do what you want when you want to do it to “ok, what do we do with the baby?” Going for a milk run went from a 5-minute decision to a 30-minute ordeal because you now had to factor in the time to dress the baby, pack a bag and get the car seat.
When my husband was relocated last year, we had to make tough decisions. I changed the direction of my career so that I could take advantage of telework but at the same time, it also impacted future leadership opportunities. Whether that resulted positively or negatively is unbeknownst to me at this time. However, my husband and my family are extremely important to me; and in my mind, my primary role as wife and mother is to support them. At some point, the scale will tip back to “work” and I will find myself nimble and able to adapt.
Starting a family and relocating are two of the most common scenarios that sway the scales to “life”. The tipping of the scale in that direction could negatively impact your career and earning potential, which can lead to stress. Stress negatively impacts your health and personal relationships. That is why it is important to manage and balance your work and life.
The secret to work-life balance is minimizing the stress associated with the change, which means that your goal should always be to manage the balancing of the scales. How can you do that? Deborah Jian Lee in an article written for Forbes.com, suggests these six steps…
- Let go of perfection
- Unplug – leave the iPhone and laptop in the bag; when you’re off work, be off work
- Exercise – great for eliminating stress
- Limit time wasting activities and people – prioritize
- Change the structure of your life – what change could make life easier
- Start small, build from there – don’t take on too much too quickly
You must also prioritize your life activities and position yourself for change. In addition to the suggestions above, here are some of my recommendations to assist with that preparation.
- Establish a solid savings account – does not have to be much; $25 a pay check is a great start.
- Perform the job you have well. You may need to change career paths. If you have an established track record of successes, changing your job will be a lot easier.
- Communicate with your family – decisions, especially life changing ones, are easier to make as a team; there’s less pressure when everyone is working toward the same goal with the same understanding.
On a closing note, I am very happy with the most recent change to my work-life balance and I hope that as your own scales tip, this information assists you with your “balancing act.”
This article was written by De-borah Mack. De-borah is a communications and marketing professional who has over 30 years of experience in both private and public sectors. She believes that communications is the most critical element of a successful organization and that mastering it takes commitment.