Balancing act: A year of work/life balance, from A to Z
The world didn't end, Christmas came and went, and here we are, once again, facing the start of a new year.
Like most people, I find myself reflecting on the year that was and contemplating the year to come when the calendar prepares to roll over. But instead of just listing my work/life balance resolutions for 2013, this week I'd like to share an A-to-Z list of where I succeeded or fell short in 2012 and what I hope to achieve in the year to come. I'll also throw in some advice based on my own experiences.
At home, I try to focus on my family. In other words, when I am home, my goal is to really be there and not be distracted by work. I think I succeeded at that in 2012.
Be aware of both work and home responsibilities. That's the first step toward successfully managing them.
Communication is important to both work and family relationships. There's always room for improvement here.
Date nights with my wife were more frequent in 2012 than they were in the past. I'm hoping we'll do an even better job of finding time to spend together in the year to come.
Every person for whom I'm responsible — whether in the office or in the home — deserves my undivided attention when he or she has a concern. I need to remember that and stay focused.
Flexibility is necessary if people want to build work/life balance. As a manager, I've tried to be flexible with my team, even as my boss has allowed for flexibility in my schedule.
Give your co-workers assistance whenever you can so they have the best chance to succeed and grow.
Hang in there! It's challenging to build a more balanced life, but you can do it if you try.
Improve your knowledge and skills whenever you can. Never stop learning.
Joy should be part of life, whether at work or at home. If people are having fun, they're likely to be more productive.
Kindness goes a long way. It costs you nothing, but the rewards are great for all involved.
Love your family, and make sure they know how you feel by telling them and showing them. Often.
Money is an important reason for working, but you'll enjoy your work and your life more if it's not the only reason. Even if you're not in your dream job, try to find ways to challenge yourself.
Never sacrifice your integrity for a short-term gain in the workplace. It will always catch up to you in the long run, and it will affect your home life, too.
Offer expressions of gratitude to bosses and coworkers every day. They want to hear thank-yous just as much as you do.
Parent/child outings are good ways to spend one-on-one time with sons and daughters. As our lives grew increasingly busy toward the end of the year, I didn't plan these consistently. I need to do better in 2013.
Quiet time for reading, resting and pondering is important. Make sure time for yourself is part of your work/life equation.
Remember to be patient with yourself and others.
Serve always. You'll bless those you help and find that you are blessed, too.
Take calculated risks. For me, changing careers was a huge risk, but I'm glad I did it. Sometimes you have to make a leap of faith to build a better life.
Understand your strengths and weaknesses. Use the former to help you overcome the latter.
Value each day you have with family and friends. I sometimes focus on counting my problems instead of my blessings, and I'm surrounded by the latter every day at home. I'll do better at this in 2013.
Wait a minute before criticizing the efforts of a coworker or the actions of a child or spouse. Taking time to think about what you're going to say before you say it could save you and the other person pain and embarrassment.
Xi is a two-letter word that is acceptable in "Words with Friends." This isn't a work/life balance tip, but it's still helpful, and what else was I going to do with "X"?
Yelling is never a good idea, at work or at home. As my mother, the former school teacher, has told me often, once you raise your voice, you have nowhere else to go.
Zero in now on your work/life balance goals for the year, and then take action to achieve them.
I wish all of you a happy, successful and balanced new year!