It must be that time again. A friend and colleague is updating a resource for ASAE on timesavers to promote work/life balance, and it got me thinking about some of my principles for work/life balance more generally:
- Give yourself permission to set boundaries. Do the same for your staff members.
- Beware false urgency – just because you *can* respond in 30 seconds doesn’t mean you need to or should.
- Your smartphone is supposed to serve you, not the other way around. Unless you’re an obstetrician, under indictment, or the President, default to turning off email synch outside work hours.
- Spend some time away from technology every day, even if it’s only a few minutes, and outside if possible.
- Read for pleasure as well as business.
- Have a sanctuary in your home with no smartphones, tablets, laptops or TVs. Mine is my bedroom (which also promotes good sleep hygiene), but it can be your den, a meditation room, your workshop, workout space or sewing room, your back porch, the spot where you eat breakfast, etc.
- When you go on vacation, GO ON VACATION. Trust your staff to be able to handle things in your absence. Don’t check in. Make sure at least one person knows how to reach you in case of a true emergency, and make sure that person can actually determine what constitutes a true emergency, and other than that, demonstrate your confidence in your employees’ abilities.
- Have at least one absorbing hobby or outside activity that has nothing to do with work. I learned this one in grad school. I was in an academic program, which has a truly unique and odd set of pressures, and I quickly noticed that students who had nothing major in their lives to offset grad school tended to lose perspective on a regular basis. You will, too.
- Get some exercise. You don’t have to get up at 5 am every morning to train for an Ironman, but find some way you enjoy moving your body and do it on a regular basis. What constitutes “regular”? That’s for you to decide.
- Remember: attention doesn’t scale. Choose carefully where you spend your limited supply.
What do you do to ensure – or at least promote – work/life balance? What does that concept mean to you?