The End of a Work / Life Balance

    What Does Work / Life Balance Mean to You?

    Most people imagine “balance” means 50% work and 50% life. However, especially due to the pandemic, it’s more difficult than ever to strike an equal balance.

    As our work and home life become intertwined, distractors can quickly tip the scale and leave us feeling less productive in one area or another.

    We believe that it’s less of a balance and more of an integration of work life and home life. Think yin and yang, rather than scales balancing home tasks and work tasks.

    How do we integrate our work life and our home life?

    Here are a couple of science-backed strategies that we find helpful in striking a work/ life integration in a healthy and productive way.

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    A strategy we like to use is the Eisenhower Matrix model. "Delegate, delete, defer, and do."

    First, create a list of everything you need to accomplish in your work and home life. Once these tasks are on a piece of paper, it is easier to take a step back and effectively prioritize.

    Next, bucket the items in your list in the Eisenhower Matrix and determine which tasks you can delegate, delete, or defer. Feel free to use highlighters to color-code your list into these four categories or draw out 4 boxes to list the tasks inside.

    You’ll soon discover that many of the tasks can be deferred, or some items are not as pressing as you had originally thought. By prioritizing and deferring, we are able to manage tasks more easily.

    "Delegating" tasks refers to giving the task to a capable team member in order to expand bandwidth for more urgent and important matters.

    When “deleting” tasks, we suggest completely taking them off your list to ease anxiety and the looming feeling of needing to get it done.

    Hint: you can always add it to the list later.

    Seeing that we become more easily distracted at home, having a well-prioritized list on hand to refer to, will help you stay focused and able to get at least one or two things taken care of.

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    number-2Next, we believe that leaders can best help their team members achieve a more cohesive work/ life integration through leading by example.

    A study conducted by the U.S. Travel Association revealed that over half of the employees surveyed agreed that participating in a work/life balance program would negatively influence their careers.

    Over 50% of senior leaders in the study said this is due to the anxiety they feel when returning from vacation to a mountain of work or feeling worried that no one else can do their job.

    However, many studies, including one done by the University of California - Berkeley, indicate that taking time off can increase work engagement, life satisfaction, better our well-being, boost creativity, and even marital satisfaction.

    These results endorse implementing a healthy work/life integration program, which needs to start with a mindset (or culture) shift.

    Leaders who practice what they preach and take time off will see a ripple effect in empowering their people to feel more comfortable and less anxious about asking for time off.

    This begins with a level of vulnerability. This can be done by sharing how you spend your free time, how you rest and recharge, or what skills you’re working on to better yourself.

    It starts with showing that we are all human and we all need time off to recharge.


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    Lead with empathy and ask your people what they need.

    This looks like being flexible with when the workday starts and when it ends. It’ll give your team, and yourself, the autonomy needed to tackle both their work and home life.

    Some employees may have children that need extra attention in the morning. Leaders, remind yourself that the pandemic is mentally exhausting.

    By attempting to establish a greater sense of safety for people to take risks and be vulnerable, your team will feel like they have a voice and can confide in you when they need a break rather than risk burn-out.

    Whether it’s taking a mental health day to binge Netflix and eat ice cream, or it’s something as simple as folding laundry during a less important meeting, the key to supporting your team through this time is being aware that your team members have lives outside of work.

    Leading with empathy means getting to know your people on a more personal level and understanding what they need.

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    When planning meetings be sure to prioritize collaboration sessions with your team.

    No matter how great your microphone, webcam, or internet connection is, it’s impossible to replicate the sense of community and camaraderie among your team in a virtual environment.

    As some of us slowly transition to working in the office again, consider allowing employees to work from home on days when they are more focused on individual tasks, and empower your people with the autonomy to choose when and where to work.

    Being mindful of when to have people in the office versus working from home will boost productivity.


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    Our final tip is to take time in your day to shift into and out of your work mindset.

    Over the past year, we have been forced to even further integrate our home and work lives. It’s been difficult.

    Personally, I miss my commute. That one hour gave me the time I needed to shift from “Home-Tanya” to “Work-Tanya”.

    It wasn’t until I no longer had the opportunity to commute, did I realize how important that time was in order to switch my mindset.

    When the pandemic first hit, I was “Home-Tanya” all the time. I wore work attire on top, comfy pants on the bottom.

    When I noticed these actions were affecting my productivity, such as getting easily distracted, I realized some things need to change.

    From then on, I would dress more professionally, top to bottom, even though I knew no one was going to see the new skirt I just bought.

    This came with its own caveats. “Work-Tanya” was around all the time. I had a hard time peeling myself away from work.

    I would always try to do “one more task” well beyond when I should have logged off for the day.

    I needed to find a way to effectively integrate “Work-Tanya” into “Home-Tanya’s” space.

    So, I decided to re-create my commute.

    I make a conscious effort not to start my day at my desk checking emails but instead I sit down at the kitchen table and drink a cup of coffee.

    While this is not the same hour-long commute where I got to listen to my podcasts, the 15 minutes I spend sipping my coffee help me prepare my “work mindset” and gives me the mental boundary needed to successfully integrate my home and work life.

    What strategies will you implement?

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