By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services
I’ve been busier than ever lately and a lot of people have been asking me about my work life balance. It’s also a topic that continues to comes up every single time I lead a staff training workshop.
There are a lot of people looking for ideas/feedback because they’re not happy with their balance. Juggling work, friends, family life, and “me time” is a constant battle for many of us, including myself.
Today I’m going to share with you a few tips that have helped me achieve a good work life balance, because believe it or not, despite my crazy schedule I’m happy with my current ratio. But it wasn’t always that way.
When I first got into college coaching back in 2004 I thought that the best way to make a name for myself was to work harder than everybody else. Along with that, I decided I was going to build real relationships versus just convenient ones. That mindset served me well then and continues to serve me well now. The problem was I was newly married, and I would argue your work life balance should be different when you have a spouse or significant other. Same thing once you become a parent.
There were a lot of days when I left the house at 7:00am; went to the office; knocked out some work; drove 3 hours to do a couple of meetings before watching a high school recruit practice or play a game; then turned right around and drove 3 hours home, usually arriving after midnight. Did I mention what the weather’s like in Minnesota from October to March?
A lot of those trips paid off from a work standpoint because many of those student-athletes committed. My struggle was on the life side of the equation.
I ended up running my body into the ground and was so exhausted when I was home with my wife or out with my friends that I was there, but I wasn’t completely present. What made it even harder for me was I have an amazing wife who was so supportive of my goals that she bit her tongue for a long time.
It took some tough conversations with her and other close friends for me to realize that I needed to have a different work life balance.
Achieving a better work life balance starts with understanding that there is no perfect work life balance. If you’re trying to just copy someone else’s, stop. None of us are the exact same.
Work life balance means something different for each of us and that’s okay. It’s about being happy with yourself. That’s an extremely important piece that not enough people focus on.
You decide what you want out of your life. If you want to spend the time you have outside of work doing more work, I’m not going to tell you to change…unless you’re not happy.
Along with that, if you’re a person who wants more responsibilities, a promotion, or more money but doesn’t want to have to change your current work life balance, I would argue that’s unrealistic. Bigger goals always require more work, which changes that balance. The best leaders I know along with my extremely ambitious friends have a completely different work life balance than most others. But they’ve made that choice about what they want from life and how they want to spend their time.
Here are a few more tips:
- Constant communication and transparency with the people closest to you is essential. Create a schedule that works for you and your family if you have one. Some days you might focus more on work, while others you might choose to spend more time with family and friends. Be intentional though about carving out time for family, friends, and other interests you have. And encourage those closest to you to let you know if they think you’re not doing a good enough job of that.
- Make your health a priority. You know the limits of your body. Sleep matters for all of us and so does eating right. Make sure you’re getting what you need in both areas so that you can be productive during the day.
- Don’t be afraid to completely unplug. This was a hard one for me to do, and honestly, there are still times where I don’t do it completely. Little things like putting the phone in my office during dinner and when I’m relaxing on the couch with my wife and daughter have really helped.
- Have a strong support network. Tying back in with the first bullet point, I’ve found that people who have achieved good balance have a strong support network they can depend upon to help them get through those hard times.
The last thing I’ll add is this. Because life has so many ups and downs, adjusting your schedule to make it the right balance is important.
If you want to talk more about today’s article, email me back and we’ll start a conversation.
And if you’ve got some work life balance tips that you think would benefit other readers of this newsletter, email them to me and I’ll share them in next week’s newsletter.