As president of The Protocol School of Washington, Pamela Eyring is one busy woman. How does she balance it all (work, wife, mother, daughter, member of several boards) successfully?
It's not easy, but when it comes to finding that work life balance we all strive to achieve, I try to remember the quote that says, "never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life". Here are some tips that I try to follow and advise others about when trying to have a career and a personal life:
Prioritize Your Life: Remember that you do have more control over your life than you might think…and your priority list can be edited and rearranged from time to time. If you have a family, a child or a significant other, you will no doubt feel the demands that these intimate relationships make on your time. Make a list of what is most important to you and begin allocating your time and energy wisely to ensure the most important things don’t get left behind.
Delegate: As the owner and president of a successful company, I can directly attribute our success to one thing: my team. I am nothing if not for the hard work, the passion and creativity of every one of my employees. When you hire great employees or have great coworkers, you can delegate responsibilities, end the micromanaging and find that work/life balance that can make you successful both professionally and personally. And remember to delegate family and household responsibilities to your partner or children when it’s appropriate. Remember you don’t have to do it all!
Flex Time: As technology continues to impact how, where and when we work, I’ve seen that flex time and working remotely can be successful solutions to work/life balancing acts. Because of our success in these areas, I see that, even as the company head, I can occasionally work at home and don’t feel the pressure of being in the office full time to be a successful leader. Remember, you are always a text, Skype session or phone call away.
Unplug to reconnect: Even if you are out of the office on personal time or on vacation, there is a real tendency to stay connected on a full-time basis. But when you’re continuously connected via instant messages, emails and phone calls, you cannot be successfully engaged with your friends, family or focus on your personal interests. When you are on personal time, I advise that you alert employees or coworkers to only contact you in an emergency or set a certain time of the day to check in with the office and catch up on emails. It’s really a matter of setting boundaries (and back to that priority list!) to ensure that down time is your time.
Meditate/exercise/diet: It may seem obvious, but you cannot possibly function without being in shape and in charge of your body, mind and soul. Neglecting nutrition, exercise and sleep—as well as a lack of personal joy—has taken down the mightiest of professionals. So, make sure you are not a casualty of your own hardworking self. Be mindful of what your body and soul are lacking and take the time you need to hit the reset button.
Me Time: As with any busy professional, you are most likely juggling the needs, wants, expectations and demands of staff, clients, colleagues, a board of directors and any number of other people jockeying for your undivided attention. On the personal side, you may also be taking care of children, spouses, partners or other family members. But what about you? When was the last time you took time to read a book? When was the last time you took an extra hour to reconnect with an old friend at lunch? Because of the constant demands on both sides of your life, make sure you luxuriate in doing the things that energize, refresh and reconnect you to your own self.