The Midan Marketing team recently got together for our annual team meeting in Statesville, N.C. (Yay team go!). We discussed many topics, but the one that I was especially interested in was work/life balance and time management. Danette Amstein, Midan principal, shared several learnings from her sabbatical time this summer. Brent Bowman, financial advisor and one of our guest speakers, not only advised us on our 401(k)s, but also reminded us that where we spend our money and time should align with our personal values and goals. This helped me to think more about my own work/life balance and areas needing my attention.
I don’t think there’s anybody who’s got this completely figured out, and for most people I talk with, it takes constant work and improvement. As family and gender roles have evolved over the years, and people are under more and more stress to perform in all areas, this topic has become increasingly important. This is also no longer just an issue for working women, but for men too as they are becoming more involved in parenting and household activities.
Here are a few ideas and thoughts on the subject that I am trying to implement in my own life. I would love for you to leave a comment about what you’ve learned and what works best for you to keep your life balanced!
- Analyze where your time goes.
CNN has created a calculator where you can enter the number of hours you spend on different activities (work, sleep, meals, etc.) and the number of days per week you do them, and it will automatically create a pie chart of your life’s activities. I personally needed a few more categories like “exercise” and “baby,” (ha!) but this helped me to see where the bulk of my time is going and think about where I can cut back. Even just 15 minutes each day adds up to more than 90 minutes per week!
- Be proactive in planning family/friend and leisure time.
As life speeds up, and interactions via texting and social media increase, special time with family and get-togethers with friends become increasingly challenging. Put this time on your calendar to ensure you have time to really connect with those you love and invest in relationships important to you. This can in turn refuel you as you go about daily life.
- Take breaks and exercise.
While I would like to say I can effectively work and concentrate on huge tasks all day, I can’t! Both at work and home, take a few minutes to clear your mind by stepping away from thinking hard on one task. This can help as you transition between tasks, or to come back with a fresh perspective on current projects. Taking time to exercise can also make you feel more refreshed and ready to take on the next task.
- Utilize vacation and personal leave time to completely disconnect.
At Midan, we have a policy where we have to use a certain amount of time off within the year or it is lost. This is to encourage employees to take time away from work to completely disconnect, so in turn we can be better employees and make better use of the time we do have. I am so thankful Midan understands this need! We also have several employees (including myself) who are flex employees who work both in the office and from home. This is also great to help manage work/life balance!
- Realize you can’t do it all.
I think one of the fundamental needs for a work/life balance is admitting you can’t do it all. You don’t have to commit to everything you are asked to do. Examine things against your goals and values to determine if it’s something you should pursue or pass on for now. This is a hard one!
I wish you the best as you work to achieve this balance in your life and figure out the best way to spend your 168!