Monday, July 10, 2017

Move Over Balance. It’s Blending Time.

Everyone talks about it, there are many debates on how best to achieve it, and many people say it’s a requirement of their employment. Many blog posts have been written on 42 tricks and tips to achieve it and the seven habits of the highly successful who have achieved it. What is it? Work life balance. I’m here to say that it is no longer about the balance. Balancing a busy personal life with a busy work life is stressful! You schedule time for family, you schedule time for yourself, you schedule time for work. Hello stress.

Since starting my firm less than one year ago, I have diligently practiced the concept of work life blending. (Yeah, kinda like a smoothie).  One of the reasons I left corporate America after a successful 17-year career was to have my cake and eat it too -- not to balance. I have a family (and want to keep it) and I have a life—a pretty exciting, adventurous one. (Well, as adventurous as a life can be with a newborn), and I love what I do for work and I am willing to go to the extreme to do it.

How do I work life blend?

1.     I treat everything—work, me time, family time, lifestyle/friend time—seriously. It’s on my calendar.  My daughter’s scheduled C-section was on a calendar meeting request to her father and my mother. Yep, that’s how serious I am.

2.     I use a lot of cool tech platforms and tools for communicating with clients. My favorites right now are Slack, a real-time messaging, archiving, and search tool that all the hip companies are using and Sococo, an online workplace that facilitates collaboration.

3.     I work off hours. There is no need for me to sit at a desk from 9-5pm local time. And who turns their phone off at 5pm anyways? I have clients all over the USA so working off hours is a necessity.  My Mondays start with a client’s executive team call at 7am. My other days usually start at 10am. I work at 8pm most nights (never Tuesdays—I have beach volleyball league). Bottom line, I do not need to be in my office physically for 8 hours straight to get my work done.

4.     I incorporate flexibility. I schedule my day around my commitments and accomplish my work. I may take a 9am Body Pump class or take my baby to a Music Together class at 4:30pm (and take a call enroute). Often, I work again at night after the baby goes to bed.

5.     I combine work travel with family/fun travel. I think the term they use for this is “bleisure”. I travel a lot for work.  It’s easier to tack on a family holiday or girls weekend when you’re blending work and life.

6.     I communicate. My family and my clients always know “what’s next?” Whether that be my next biz trip or our next deliverables or action items. See #1. 

My life has completely changed for the better in the past nine months and most of the credit goes to work life blending. I engage with life and work together.  Are you ready to drop the balancing act and start blending?  What are you doing to have a better blend of work and life?  Any other tips/tricks people out there have to blend your work and life better?