Work or life? It's not a zero sum game!
As a manager, it can be difficult to maintain your work-life balance. This is especially true of younger managers who feel the need to prove themselves and end up putting in long hours at the office. Further exacerbating this issue is the fact that multinational companies have offices spread all over the globe across various timelines, making it hard to schedule meetings during everyone's "workday".
Tips on maintaining your work life balance.
1. The most important thing is to have the self-confidence that you’re doing a great job and pulling your weight in the office! (assuming you are) This doesn't mean having an inflated ego, it simply means that no matter when you walk out of the office, you don't leave feeling guilty. If you have a two hour conference call at night, leave early to spend some time with your family or get that afternoon run in.
2. Set boundaries and stick to them. Assuming it’s not an emergency, don’t feel compelled to respond to every email which comes in over the weekend. If there’s a day you leave work early to pick up kids or play in a sports league, don’t set meetings and don’t allow for meetings to be set close to your exit time. “Sorry, I can’t attend this meeting, it’s the day I leave early for…”
3. Put your devices away. It’s hard to be present when you're constantly checking devices. Find a place in your house which is not easily accessible and put your phone/tablet/computer there when you arrive. Now you can focus on whatever is you have to, without getting interrupted or having the urge to check your phone every minute.
4. Leave the office! Some managers think that if their employees are working late, they must stick around for moral support. If all you are providing is moral support, go home and think about ways you can show them gratitude for working late! Often managers who needlessly stick around end up causing more harm than good as they interfere with the team's progress. “How’s it going?” “Well, it would be going a lot better if you didn’t ask me every ten minutes how’s it going!”
5. Work remotely sometimes. The important thing is converting your commute into something productive. If you commute 40 minutes each way to work, think about how you can best use that time.
6. Avoid time thieves. This one can be somewhat tricky but the concept is simple. When certain people wander into your office, you know the next 45 minutes are over. They usually just engage in meaningless banter if not just downright complaining. Sometimes you can indulge them with a sympathetic ear. But it’s also important to be able to say, “Joe, I am on a really tight deadline today, can we do this some other time?”
7. Exercise! One of the best ways to reduce stress and maintain a healthy lifestyle while working is to get the requisite amount of exercise. If you work for a large enough company, organize a weekly game of the sport of choice. It’s also another amazing way to bond and build relationships with co-workers.
What works best for you in terms of maintaining a work-life balance?