Realizing whole-life success is possible. The secret lies in creating and committing to boundaries that keep work and home life separate, so that you may remain career-driven while also carving out as much quality family, couple and “me time" as possible. This helps to reduce anxiety and stress for you, your romantic relationship, and a family unit at large.
Consider these tactical strategies that will help working professionals better balance their family, personal and career life:
- Be totally accessible to business contacts ONLY during regular working hours whether 9-5 Monday through Friday or other set working hours. Ensure all vendors, business partners, colleagues and clients understand that this is the company culture or your personal policy.
- Have a personal cell phone that is only for family and friends so you can leave the business phone behind on family outings, personal "me" time at the health club or with friends. Answer the business phone, fax or email ONLY during business hours. Another option is to have a different ring tone for business contacts and personal contacts. The only caveat is to put business calls directly into your voice mail on off hours. No exceptions.
- No Friday afternoon critical endeavors or fire drills. Stack the more labor intensive, mission critical tasks - and those that require third-party involvement or input - early in the week and taper down so that by Friday you can essentially focus on housekeeping items. This strategy can help you avoid weekend workloads and other infringements on what should now be your personal time.
- Just as you schedule professional obligations, also schedule time off personal family and couple activities. And, don’t forget to put in “me time” to exercise, relax, or spend time with friends. It doesn’t matter if it is a few hours or days, or small or large activities - put it on the calendar and plan to make it happen!
- If you are a business owner or manage staff in an operation with extended hours, create processes and protocols that can handle most situations when you are unavailable in the "off" hours. Also ensure all staffers understand you are to be contacted only in true emergencies (don’t forget to define “true emergency” as well!) and that you have empowered them to support you properly when you are not accessible and make executive decisions in your absence.
Working mom Ellen Schack is the CEO of Cowabunga Ice Cream and one half of The CEO Couple (www.theceocouple.com/Twitter @theceocouple ) Ellen and her husband, Ed Schack, speak on balancing work and family as successful entrepreneurs.