Managers help their team balance their personal life with their work, but what about their own work-life balance? Jennifer Bridges, PMP, helps you achieve that balance.
Here’s a shot of the whiteboard for your reference!
In Review – Work-Life Balance for Managers
Jennifer noted that managers are often so busy thinking about helping their teams reach a work-life balance that they often neglect their own. That can lead to burnout, or worse.
What About You?
Managers are responsible for running an efficient project. They oversee productivity and track project progress, but when they don’t monitor their own well-being, they’re threatening that and everything they’re responsible for. The work-life balance of the manager is important, and not solely for the manager, either.
- Role Model: As a leader, your behavior is going to be mirrored by the team. If you’re exhibiting a poor work-life balance, then it’s likely that the people under you are going to do the same.
- Set Tone: In fact, the way you act will create a baseline of what’s expected in the office. An unhealthy tone will tarnish the team and threaten the project.
- Danger of Burnout: Regardless of the example or tone you set in the office, without a work-life balance, you’re going to hit a wall. That means a project without a manager, or in other words, a project that’s destined to fail.
Fear of Leadership
With all these dangers, you’d think people would become hesitant about taking leadership positions. And you’d be right. A recent survey found that only 22% of millennials think of rising to a leadership role as a career priority.
Why is that? It’s because of the lack of a work-life balance. Young people seem to be fed up with the idea of working oneself to death for nothing more than a paycheck.
But the financial realities of life often get in the way of such idealistic thinking. If you can manage to drop out from the rat race, please share with us how you did it. But until then, we’re going to work within the system to make our lives better.
How to Start Making Work and Life Balance
Jennifer gets a bit stressed out with the whole concept of work-life balance, so she prefers to think of it as integration. How can you integrate your work and your personal life? Here are a few ideas Jennifer suggests for getting started.
- Design Success: Before you can do it, you must envision it. Take the time to determine what is important for you and then figure out a way to integrate those goals into your life.
- Determine Your Availability: As part of that life design, think about how much time you want to spend at work, at play, with family, friends and your community.
- Manage Technology: Technology gets a bad rap, but in truth it is neither good nor bad. It’s how you use it. While it can distract, technology can also help us manage our time better.
- Build Support Networks: You can’t do it alone. Just as you need your team to get things done at work, you need a group to depend on for help in your personal life.
- Set up Systems: There are ways you can create a process that makes integrating your life and work easier. This can be done with technology or through your support network, or both.
- Collaborate: Work with your partner to make sure your commitments align with your work-life design.
Pro-Tip: The concept of having a work-life balance isn’t new. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are organizations that have achieved work-life balance and can offer you a great resource if you do the research.
Today, we’re talking about work life balance for managers. So as a manager, you probably spend a lot of time working with your team members to ensure their work life balance, so they’re engaged in the projects so the activities you have been working on.
But what about your work life balance? And why is it so important?
Whereas a manager, you’re really the role model for the team so they look to you in what you’re doing. So, if you set the tone of work life that’s out of balance and you’re burned out, then chances are, if they’re following your lead, then they could end up burned out, too. So then, you have everyone burned out.
As a matter of fact, there is a study and an article by “Fortune” Magazine, they’re talking about people, specifically, millennials, are turning down leadership roles for the fear of the lack of work life balance.
So instead of work life balance, which the concept in itself kinda stresses me out, I like to think of it more of an integration. How do I integrate life and work so that it’s more integrated and can even flow at different periods of time?
So people ask like, “I don’t even know where to start?” So, here’s a few high level areas that I think could be a place to start.
Number one, design what success looks like for you, actually, design your life. What do you want your work and life balance or integration to look like?
Determine your availability. How much, again, by your design, how much time do you wanna spend at work and in life with other activities with your family and friends and your community?
You also wanna manage your technology. Today, we hear a lot about how technology can prohibit us from getting things done, however, set up correctly, it can actually enable us to get more done.
And then, you also wanna build in your support networks, not only at work, but also in life. You also wanna set up systems that will help with efficiency as well, and then collaborate with your partner when building your design.
So here are some tips. Number one, be intentional about the opportunities that you accept or decline and make sure they align with the design of your work life balance.
Also, set meetings that are at good times for you. And protect your time. It’s one thing that you can’t get back. You also wanna prioritize your activities that you work on, really determine, set something I’ve got to do today, “Is that something I can get done tomorrow or even later?” You may even decide you may not have to do it at all.
And then, schedule your days, your weeks, and your months on your calendar because what we found is, if you schedule your activities, you’re more apt to get them done, so you wanna be able to account for your life activities.
Then stop micromanaging so much at work. As managers, we feel like we have to sometimes micromanage the work that our team members do. But in truth, if you focus on getting your own work done, then you can get out of there and have more time to spend on your life activities.
Then also, schedule time for family, and travel, and any other life activities, again, back to the point, if you schedule them in, you’re more apt to get them done. And then, delegate work that doesn’t necessarily have to be done by you.
As a manager, with your team members, there are some things that can be done that aren’t really reliant on your skill set or you specifically to have to do them. And then, sometimes, as managers, you have the tendency to jump in when there are gaps in the organization. But hire people instead.
So, as you can see, when you’re looking at the work life balance, a lot of it is looking at activities and time and scheduling. This is where for sure a software tool could help, and if you need help with your work life balance, then sign up for our software now at ProjectManager.com.