Posts Tagged “life”

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Work-life balance can be elusive under the best job circumstances, but when you work non-traditional hours—whether you’re in a client-facing role, you have a busy season (hi accountants!), or you’re facing a big project deadline—finding time for the people and things you love can be even more difficult.

After all, early mornings, late hours, and limited breaks aren’t exactly conducive to balance. Still, it’s possible to carve out time for what’s important to you even when your work life seems crazy. And adopting one (or more) of these expert tips can help.

1. Rethink Work-Life Balance
If you feel like you can’t find any work-life balance thanks to your non-traditional schedule, rethink your definition of the phrase, says Samantha Ettus, a work-life balance expert and author of The Pie Life: A Guilt-Free Recipe for Success and Satisfaction.

“Work-life balance is not about having balance every day,” she says. “It’s about creating a balance that feels manageable over the course of time—a week, a month, a year.” The problem comes when you expect balance every day—and judge yourself accordingly. “That’s just not how life works,” Ettus says. “We all know there are days when you start at 7 AM and end with a client dinner at 10 PM.”

2. Set Boundaries When You’re Less Busy
Even the most demanding work schedule likely ebbs and flows—an off season or a time between projects. Take advantage of these slower periods to set personal boundaries, as much as possible, with clients and co-workers.

Will you have to stay later sometimes? Yes. Is an occasional 5:30 PM meeting inevitable? Of course. But in general, once you start setting boundaries, people will respect them—and it may be easier to keep them going when things pick up again.

3. Embrace Micro Actions
If your work schedule doesn’t allow for blocks of personal time, embrace what LoVerde calls “micro actions”—activities that fit into bits of time during your day that are so small it’s easy to discount them. Don’t.

For example, LoVerde says, maybe you can’t fit in a 90-minute yoga class when you’re on a project—but can you do 4 minutes of tabata? Or program your wearable activity tracker to remind you to take a 2-minute walk every hour and drink a glass of water?

Individually, those don’t seem like much, but when you add them all up, you may find you’ve gotten 20 minutes of exercise and downed 10 glasses of water by the end of the day. Not too shabby!

4. Think of Your Life as a Pie
Ettus recommends imagining your life as a pie sliced into seven pieces: career, children, health, hobbies, friends, community, and relationship. Write down how much time you spend on each slice (be honest!), and set a goal for each one.

If you’re already struggling to balance a couple of “slices” (say, career and children), adding five more can seem counterintuitive—but stick with us. “It doesn’t have to be a hobby that you do every day of your life—a once-a-month book club still contributes to balance,” Ettus says. “People who live in all of their slices are the ones who feel more productive and fulfilled, so make sure you set goals for each area.”

5. Become a Quitter
As busy as you are, you’re probably wasting time each day on things that don’t contribute to your work-life balance in a meaningful way. LoVerde recommends quitting the things that get in the way of what you want. Who among us hasn’t lost 20 minutes mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, when we could have been texting a friend or meditating?

6. Build in Rituals
The findings of a 75-year Harvard study show that good relationships are the key to keeping us healthy, happy, and successful. Of course, relationships may occasionally take a backseat due to a busy season at work. But if there’s no down time in your future, then you must build in ways to stay connected with family and friends, Mary says—and the way to do that is to build in rituals, such as FaceTiming with your kids when you miss bedtime or a daily lunchtime text with your partner.

“You have a limited amount of willpower every day,” LoVerde says, “so building in rituals that help you stay connected to what’s really important will help you when you have to work strenuous stretches.”

We can’t promise that you’ll be able to find the perfect work-life balance all the time. But if you follow this advice, you’ll be on your way to creating more time and space for yourself and those who matter most.

 

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-maintain-work-life-balance?ref=carousel-slide-1

Let’s be real for a second. These days, many of us live in a world of excess, where more is definitely better. We heap our plates full with seconds when we’re already full, overstuff a drawer with t-shirts we’ll never wear again, and ensure that we own at least 20 mugs. (I know, I know—each of those mugs serves a very specific purpose.)

Often, we apply this “more is more” principle to our professional lives, too. Clocking in at the crack of dawn and logging off only when our eyelids can’t stay open anymore are often heralded as hallmarks of star employees.

But, I have news for you: This type of lifestyle is not necessary for success, growth, or job satisfaction. In fact, I’d argue that it can actually hurt you (but that’s a story for a different day).

The main message here is: You can be the apple of your manager’s eye even if you don’t make working overtime a habit. Provided of course that when you’re in the office, you’re kicking ass, completing everything assigned, and turning it on time.

Ready to start leaving before dinner time? I recommend making these three things habits:

1. Stay Engaged

I used to bring my laptop to every single meeting. And, without a doubt, I’d spend the entire time answering emails, surfing random sites, and chatting with friends.

Now that I work in an office where this isn’t the norm, I realize just how annoying it is. A surefire way to signal that you don’t care about your job or your teammates (even if that isn’t necessarily true), is to spend your time with them with your eyes glued to a screen.

Instead, be present in meetings and all other conversations you have. Ask questions, provide helpful feedback and context, and flex those active listening muscles.

And yes, this applies to remote workers, too. Working off site doesn’t mean you’re off the hook when it comes to communication. If anything, you’ll probably need to make a bit more of an effort, but it’s worth it if it means you’re staying in the loop and others are, too.

2. Know When to Say “Yes” and When to Say “No”

Lending a colleague a hand or volunteering to take the lead on a new project are invaluable characteristics, and there’s an added bonus if you can anticipate needs and offer your services before someone needs to ask.

It’ll show that you’re a go-getter, a team player, and someone who wants to learn and grow. It’s a big plus for a supervisor if his staff isn’t constantly muttering, “That’s not my job.”

But—but—this doesn’t, in any way, mean you should be a “yes person.” It’s also crucial to know when and how to turn down requests for help, new assignments, and so forth. Putting too much on your plate is a recipe for becoming severely overwhelmed.

You may start producing shoddy work or missing deadlines completely, and, well, neither of those are invaluable characteristics. The key is knowing not just how much you can fit on your plate, but how much you can execute at a high-quality rate.

So if you’re at the point in which you can feel yourself starting to slip, say no.

3. Check in With Your Boss Regularly

In each position I’ve had, my manager and I met regularly. And, I admit—these times weren’t always helpful. Sometimes, it was because my supervisor always canceled them (thanks). But other times it was because I just wanted it to be over as quickly as possible, so I didn’t say much.

That was a mistake. This one-on-one time is so important. It’s your time to update her on your progress, ask for help, discuss career goals, and get to know each other a little bit better.

Taking these meetings seriously will reassure your boss that you are, in fact, doing what you’re supposed to be doing, and it’ll also signal that you care. And caring is a big part of being a good employee.

And hey—If you don’t have regular time like this on your calendar, I highly recommend requesting it.

Yes—there will be occasions in which you need to put in a little extra time. But that doesn’t have to be an ongoing theme in your life. I’m here to tell you that you can be a rock star employee and live a life outside of work.
Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-be-a-hardworking-employee-without-sacrificing-your-personal-life?ref=carousel-slide-1

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Acclimating to a new company can be both exhilarating and daunting. You want to jump into the role with enthusiasm, come across as a fast learner, and prove that hiring you was 110% worth it.

I know: I returned to work after 10 years away and put a lot of pressure on myself to adjust as quickly as possible. While my re-entry was through a fairly unique 10-week returnship program (a.k.a., an internship program for mid-career professionals who’ve taken a break), I was subject to the same uncertainty anyone would feel upon going back to the workforce after time away.

Fortunately, in addition to my background in front-line business roles, I’d had experience in leadership and professional development, so I realized that assessing the landscape and “fitting in” would be critical to my success.

With that in mind, here are my four best tips for adjusting:

1. Pay Attention to Company Culture

The role of culture can’t be overstated: Cultural norms can span the range of high-level company values to very specific action steps. They usually come in the form of unwritten rules.

For example:

Are senior leaders approachable, or is there a more formal channel that you need to be aware of?
Do colleagues eat lunch at their desks, or use that time to meet and network?
Do people leave at a reasonable hour or is facetime important?
Are they “always on” (through emails and logging in), even when they’re out of the office?
Culture’s the outcome of encouraged and accepted behaviors. And sometimes, there are aspects of culture that aren’t discovered until you make a mistake. For example, early on in a new role, I mentioned “business development” when referencing a topic. The senior leader in the room stopped the meeting to inform me that our firm never engages in selling, therefore the proper term was “client development.”

It didn’t count against me: Mistakes happen! But one way I was able to fit in and move beyond my faux pas was to make a note of it and use the preferred terminology moving forward.

2. Be Open to New Experiences

Regardless of your most recent role, changing companies means you’re entering a new situation. And this new group will inevitably do things differently.

Rather than fight to do things the way you’re used to, embrace the opportunity to adopt new approaches. For example, if your new team seems more focused on output than on strategy and analysis, learn more about the associated business impact before trying to change direction.

Or, if your boss is heavily focused on a thorough analysis of ROI before moving forward with a new program, make your best attempt to understand the drivers of that need.

Try it the new way at least once. That way you’ll give yourself a chance to determine which battles are worth fighting (and which aren’t).

3. Take the Time to Build Your Network

Your co-workers will be key to your success at your new company. Achieving results will require knowing whom to reach out to—at every level.

Figure out who has the insights, time, or interest to help you and introduce yourself. You’ll find that most people are happy to share their expertise if you ask. And take the time to see if you have skills, insights or contacts that would be of help to your new colleagues. It never hurts to build good will. The stronger your internal network, the easier time you’ll have when you need help.

Bonus: You can also build your overall network, by updating your online profile with your new role. It’s a natural reason for people to reach out and reconnect, which is always worthwhile.

4. Learn All You Can

The benefits of exposing yourself to multiple perspectives and new experiences are vast. If you remain open-minded and park your ego at the door, you’re bound to benefit from an amazing amount of learning.

Seriously, by just carrying around a notebook your first few days, jotting down questions, and seeking out answers, you’ll pick up so much more knowledge than you had before. It doesn’t matter if you think you’re supposed to know this—the fact is that you don’t and the more quickly you learn, the more at ease you’ll feel.

Above all, it’s important to remember that you’re entering a group of established professionals and they’ll respect you for taking the time to understand how everything works.

While you may feel an urge to share your past (and possibly lofty) experiences with your new team to establish yourself, resist the temptation to brag. Rather, use time with your colleagues to understand what they do and what they see as priorities. There will be plenty of time to add your perspective once you’ve gotten a more complete picture and have the data you need.

Before long, you’ll stop feeling like “the new person” and start feeling like someone who’s been there forever—in the best way possible.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-tips-thatll-make-easing-back-into-office-life-a-little-easier?ref=carousel-slide-1

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The pursuit of meaning is in our blood. Imbued in that pursuit is both joy and suffering. I suppose it’s the Yin and Yang of life; for every good thing there’s an opposite. Despite the possibility that the opposite, insignificance, will reveal itself, the search remains one of life’s deepest joys.

That joy, however, isn’t limited to your personal life. Meaning is an essential element in your professional world, too. Many of the research papers I read for my book, The Optimistic Workplace: Creating an Environment That Energizes Everyone, revealed how prevalent the need for meaningful work was among employees. Consider this finding from DeVry University: 71% of Millennials placed it as the top factor for defining career success.

Millennials aren’t the only people interested in greater meaning in work and in life. They’re merely voicing a human need that, until recently, hasn’t been a big part of the conversation in our workplaces. Whether you’re a founder, manager, or individual contributor, you can find greater meaning at work in ways that go beyond the obvious. What follows are seven tips to significantly magnify it in your personal and professional life.

1. Abandon the Pursuit of Work-Life Balance

The problem with balance is the assumption that you must give up something to achieve equilibrium. Why should you have to give up something personally or professionally to have a life with meaning?

Instead, switch your mindset to view the two worlds as integrated. How? Wharton school professor Stewart Friedman says you should look to develop the skills to be real (legacy, values, ideal self), be whole (service, supportive networks), and be innovative (focus on results, challenge the status quo). These skills help you uncover significance in your life.

2. Define Your Personal Values

It’s been said, “If you don’t know what you stand for, you’ll fall for anything.” What you stand for are the values you hold to be true and the beliefs that guide you through life’s challenges.

In her new book, Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life, Harvard Medical School psychologist Susan David calls this “walking your why: identifying and acting on the values that are truly your own, not those imposed on you by others, not what you think you should care about, but what you genuinely care about.”

3. Uncover Your Significant Strengths

Strengths aren’t just what you’re good at, but what lights you up. The marriage of what you’re good at with what lights you up leads the way to peak performance. The more you can use your strengths in your work, the greater meaning you’ll derive from it.

4. Make Friends at Work

You don’t have to have friends at work, but those that do are more likely to feel a sense of belonging. In forthcoming research from Great Places to Work, people who care about others create a collegial environment, and that helps drive higher revenue growth. One of the benefits to you is the development of meaningful relationships.

5. Understand Your Emotions

Psychologist Susan David explained to me that we experience emotions as reality. David advocates to “feel the emotion” rather than push it away. Some tips she recommends to help you understand your emotions include:

  • Pay attention to patterned responses. Recognize what triggers the emotion.
  • Sit with emotions. Below the emotion are things that we value; emotions are data, not directions.
  • Hold the emotion for what it is: “I notice that I’m feeling undermined. I notice that I’m having the thought that I’m a fraud.” “I notice…” is a prefix statement and gives a little distance between the emotion and what it means.

By understanding your emotions, you help yourself be more genuine with others, magnifying the chance for greater meaning in your relationships.

6. Be a Quitter

It’s hard for meaning to reveal itself to you when you’re overwhelmed. Over-commitment is a way to distract yourself from doing your best work. Evaluate what’s keeping you from greatness, and quit doing the things or associating with the people that limit your potential.

7. Choose Courage Over Comfort

Returning to Susan David’s book, we find this wise, encouraging insight: “Choose courage over comfort by vitally engaging with new opportunities to learn and grow, rather than passively resigning yourself to your circumstances.” Meaning is dynamic. You grow more aware of it when you break patterns of behavior or try new things.

Meaning doesn’t need to apply only to your personal pursuits. It can also be nurtured in your professional life. It helps you live a whole life that satisfies and energizes. At work, that energy can be channeled to accomplish significant outcomes.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/7-different-ways-you-can-find-more-meaning-in-your-life