October is WorldatWork's National Work and Family Month. What a great time to take a few minutes and make sure that your 'work-life equation' is working for you.
The first part of the equation involves company policies, programs and management practices that are supportive of employee's efforts to achieve success at work and in the rest of their lives. Companies that offer flexibility, family-friendly benefits and management training on work-life do right by their employees, shareholders and the bottom-line but that is only part of the equation.
Arguably the more important part of the equation is personal work-life management by individuals. Whether you work in an office, a store or a warehouse (for a large corporation or for yourself) you are responsible for decisions that affect your work-life. Even if your company offers supportive programs you can't expect them to know what you need and when you need it. It is still up to you to take the initiative, research what is available, and use the programs and policies to your benefit.
It is all about managing both work and other life priorities in a way that allows you to succeed and thrive. When companies and individuals both do their part well, it can equal great success for both.
Company provided work-life supports + Personal Work-life Management
= Success for individuals and companies
So what can YOU do to improve your part of the work-life equation? Here are some suggestions:
1. Nourish your body with healthy foods and your mind with activities that bring you joy. It is similar to the airplane safety instruction of putting your oxygen mask on before assisting others. If you don't take care of yourself and replenish your physical and emotional energy, you won't have much to give to your work or the rest of your life.
2. Get 6-9 hours of quality sleep each night. You can kid yourself into thinking that you don't need that much but there is an abundance of research to back up the facts that humans require this much sleep in order to avoid serious health affects as well as stay alert and make good decisions.
3. Take the time to get very clear about your priorities at work, with your family, your health and the rest of your personal life. Really consider what you want five years from now in each of these categories. Visualize how it will look in detail. Think about how you will feel when you get there. When you are really clear about what you want and where you are going it helps you make better decisions each day that will move you toward your goals.
4. Politely say 'no' to commitments, events, or activities that don't nourish you or move you closer to your goals.
5. De-clutter and organize your living spaces. When you let go of things that have become clutter and organize your living spaces everything gets easier. It is easier to clean, find things, get things done and invite others in.
6. De-clutter and organize your work space and electronic files for the same reasons.
7. Advocate for yourself at work. Research what is available to you. If you crave more flexibility put together a proposal for a trial flexible work schedule, tele-work or other solution. Take into consideration how it would affect your clients, co-workers and boss. The answer may still be 'no' but you will never know unless you ask.
No matter how much (or how little) your current employer offers in the way of work-life supports, your own daily decisions and actions have the greatest impact on your work-life situation. Take care of yourself and your environment, get clear about what you want, and advocate for yourself. These actions will start to add up and soon the result will equal greater work-life success.