worklife balance


There are times in our lives that we feel like we are executing on a children’s egg balancing science project. Days, weeks, and even years get disrupted and are thrown off balance.

Life Balance

Work Balance

Health & Mental Balance

Earlier this year, I found myself in a terrible situation where I was working too many hours. I was tired and not getting enough sleep.  Each day would begin with the thought of “What must get done today and when will I do this task(s?)”  In a lot of cases, I may have only had 60 minutes (during working hours) per day that had not been previously booked.  Inevitably there would be someone wanting time so I would give them that 60 minute.  This would leave me doing a lot of my work at home.  Finally I became mentally tired and even physically tired of this daily drill.  My egg was so off balance that it was going to crack.

What to do? What to do?  In order to keep that egg on end, managing my time was where I started.

First, I started with calendar management. I added 30 minutes per day blocked for me to be in my office.  I blocked lunch and workout time.  This seemed to be simple action but there were already conflicts on day one.

Second, I decided it was important to understand the rules for violating my blocked time.

  • My office time was blocked for me or my team. I let my team know that they could contact me during this time if needed.
  • If someone tried to schedule something with me in < 24 hours, I would decline unless it was required by management. Late notice doesn’t mean that I should violate my time.
  • If someone needed a decision or an action in the next 3 days, then it may be ok to consider a violation.

Third, I asked my kids what was most important to them for me to see, participate in, etc.

Fourth, I put the plan into action.

I know it sounds like a simple process.  Steps 1 – 3 were simple but step 4 was challenged the first day.  I turned down a meeting but the meeting initiator wouldn’t take no for an answer.  Instead of meeting on the initiator’s topic, we discussed why I turned down the meeting.  As a lesson from the first day, I’ve since shared my plan with a few others in the office.

The plan is still considerably new but these action are showing to be promising.  I find that sticking to the plan is probably the most important criteria for keeping my egg balanced.

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