Some of the best work-life balance tips come from those you know the best!
A friend of mine at breakfast recently said, “life would be great if I didn’t have to work! All I do is deal with problems.”
She happens to be the CEO of a successful and growing Ad Agency.
Five minutes later, she laughs and tells me to forget everything she said. “I love my work. Thanks for listening to me rant and rave. I got it out of my system.” The timing of this conversation was perfect. I told her I was looking for work-life balance tips for relieving stress. She said “I just demonstrated tip #1. I vented to someone I trust.” The caveat being to vent responsibly!
Check out my Vlog episode about work life balance benefits:
Read on for the the four work-life balance tips I learned from CEOs and clients:
Work-life Balance Tip #1. Find a committed listener.
Whether you’re just venting or describing a scenario that’s stressing you out, it’s important to find a “committed listener.” I came across this term during a communication workshop. A committed listener listens without judging and without fueling the fire unnecessarily.
This last point is very important. Fueling the fire means agreeing with the other person’s point of view without knowing the facts, especially if it’s demeaning someone else. For example, when you think you’ve been wronged by someone else and you’re trying to get your listener to make you right. A committed listener hears you out then provides objective advice in a responsible way.
When I’m confiding with someone about angst I have regarding someone else I’ll often give a disclaimer up front. It sounds something like “I don’t mean to trash or gossip about this person, but I just want to vent about an argument I had with them. I don’t want you to think that I don’t respect them, and I’d love your support in figuring out how I should resolve it.
Work-life Balance Tip #2. Deal with what you care about
Another client and good friend told me about six “core life-work” areas she focuses on. They are: family, community, personal development, work development, friendships, and spirituality. In each area she says she goes through 4 phases.
New opportunities. Being excited about doing something new, applying a lesson, or engaging in a challenge. Her examples included planning a great family vacation, developing a strategic plan for new initiatives at the office, joining a film club, developing a new workout routine, or practicing meditation.
Staying present and not being frustrated by being in a slump, especially after being on the hamster wheel for too long. She’s patient and waits for the tail winds to come and move her out of her boredom. It’s also a good time to take inventory on what she really cares about.
It’s similar to the doldrums, except she’s being proactive about generating new energy. She’ll read books, take a cooking class, or go to the park or the pool with her kids. She’s always amazed at how new opportunities find her when she takes the pressure off herself to seek them out.
Whatever area she’s in, she works with people who she enjoys working with. Its also important for her to be surrounded by people who have her back. With renewed energy, she works on “bouldering,” which means tackling her biggest goals first and maintaining a positive can-do attitude until they get accomplished.
Work-life Balance Tip #3. Avoid unproductive meetings
I am seeing a lot shift towards conducting shorter meetings. These can last as little as 10 minutes and a maximum of 30 minutes. My team does a daily huddle and the key it to stick to a standard agenda. We minimize problem-solving in the meeting, opting to take it offline. Our agenda is, discussing what’s going on in marketing, sales, client delivery, and operations. It’s a great way for everyone to stay connected and raise any concerns that we’ll work on later.
I heard about another executive who has a policy of doing no more than 2 meetings after work. For example cocktails, dinners, or networking events.. Their goals is to be home at least three days a week with her family.
Work-life Balance Tip #4. Delegate responsibility, not tasks
My friend Tom, who also runs a successful company gave me permission to share this except from his blog.
“The key is to delegate responsibilities, not tasks. Reducing your operational involvement is the best way to cut back your working hours without negatively affecting the productivity and success of your company. When you’re not there, who is in charge? Who do you trust to make the decisions that keep your company running? Every CEO needs someone they can trust who knows the business as well as they do.I made a conscious decision to trust my team, and the best way to learn that this works is to give it a try. Sure, it took some getting used to, but once I saw that the world didn’t fall apart when I let other people share the load, it became much easier to leave my work at the office and truly enjoy my time at home.”
The rest of his blog is a good read. Check it out here.
Here’s a quick list of do’s and don’ts work-life balance tips for relieving stress, Some are summaries of the articles above and some are new.
Find a committed listener
Deal with what you care about
Avoid unproductive meetings
Take less meetings that encroach on home and/or family time
Delegate responsibility not tasks
Be authentic to your core values
Don’t over schedule your time
Don’t be a victim
Don’t worry about things outside of your control
Maintain a tidy space at home and at work
Have any more work-life balance tips for us? Let us know in the comments!