Steps to Success: Achieving Work-Life Balance
Roxanne Flores, a native of Brooklyn, NY, is Vice President, Human Resources & Chief Diversity Officer at Meredith Corporation, a role she assumed in April 2018 when the company acquired TIME, Inc. Roxanne oversees all aspects of the company's human resources worldwide, including talent development, employee engagement, labor relations and compensation and benefits.
We find ourselves in an age when many companies, ours included, are reducing staff. As a result, we are torn by our desire to be a stellar employee who juggles the extra work all the while trying to be great at the job we were initially hired to do. It's no surprise that numerous studies show that work is by far a major source of stress for American adults, and that this stress has escalated progressively over the past few decades.
The concept of enjoying work-life balance is not a new one. If I'm being perfectly honest, I must admit that there are times when I have trouble just balancing life, never mind work. I want to be a good girlfriend, daughter, sister, friend, manager and colleague, but some days I simply just want to sit down to read a book or watch TV. And even then, there's a certain level of stress because there are too many options. Do I stream Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu or do I watch one of the many network programs on my DVR? (I mean, seriously, TV has never been better!) And once I decide what to watch, do I also check emails, answer texts or respond to the nudges on Words with Friends? It's all so overwhelming —and let's not talk about my need for eight hours of sleep a night!
Where to begin? Well, start by evaluating each area of your life: work, personal, family, health and spiritual needs. Then, identify what the most important short and long-term goals are at the moment (this will vary at different points in life: a newborn baby may require more heavy lifting than a daughter who's off to college, for example, or a new, challenging job may require more of your time as you ease into it). If identifying short and long-term goals sounds difficult and intimidating, that's because it can be. But push through, write them down, play with the order, prioritize. Next step: hone in on areas that will give you time.
For example: Can you work from home? If so, take advantage of it. I find that I am so much more productive when I don't have to deal with social interruptions at the office. Note that this is a privilege and you need to be plugged-in and available at work; this is not the time to catch up on the latest telenovelas.
Also, learn to say no as we discussed in last week's column. It's perfectly appropriate to refuse extra work if you are already trying to balance numerous responsibilities and projects. If you agree to take on more work, your manager will assume you can handle it.
Ask for support. You'd be surprised how often your manager wants to see you have a life beyond the office. I am constantly telling my team to go home. There will be times when work will take over but that should not be the case every single day.
Are you involved with volunteer organizations? If yes, are they all equally important to you? If not, pare down and focus your efforts on one or two that are meaningful and truly energize you.
Set boundaries. Turn off all your electronic devices and disconnect; try reading or meditating or just being present.
Also, fight #FOMO or pressure when you need to have some you time. Your loved ones will respect your desire to recharge. If you don't allow yourself personal time, you'll find you are not good for anyone.
While many people argue that work life balance is a pipe dream, I think that it is one worth fighting for. As long as you make this a central focus and commit to creating the life you want, you will eventually find the balance that you're looking for.
You have this! ¡Manos a la obra! Until next week.
I'd love to hear from you. Drop me a tweet on Twitter @FloresRoxie