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Posts Tagged ‘work life balance’

Dump the Phrase “Quiet Quit”

The phrase Quiet Quitting is everywhere since appearing in a Tik-Tok video earlier in the year. Essentially quiet quitting is doing your job – just what is asked – not more and not less. Quiet quitters do good work during work hours, not on weekends and not at night. Quiet quitters don’t volunteer to do work outside the scope of their job, that they’re not paid to do.

Is there anything wrong with doing your assigned job and not more? No. Should you do it? If you want to. Should you use the phrase “quiet quit” at work or even with friends? No.

The definition of quiet quit is widely debated. Does it mean doing you minimal best, clocking it in, coasting, slacking, doing things other than work during work hours? It’s confusing and controversial.

The definition of the word quit is to leave, typically permanently. As a business owner who hires and works hard to retain team members, I don’t want my employees thinking of themselves as quiet quitters. It feels like a mentality – one foot out the door. And while the phrase quiet quit may not mean uncommitted, it has that connotation, so why use it?

If anything has become clear in the last almost-three years, it’s that many people want a different life. Many of us discovered that we enjoy being home, don’t want to commute long distances, travel for work, or miss family and social events because our jobs require it. So, let’s talk about that at work.

Employees – find the words to tell your boss what you need rather than labeling yourself with a controversial and confusing descriptor. Managers, find a way to talk with employees about what they need to be satisfied and stay in a job.

Employees and managers are often uncomfortable talking about the things that matter personally. Employees are often afraid to say what they need, for fear of being sidelined or fired. Managers are often afraid to raise the subject of what employees really need for fear of not being able to meet those needs. So, employees quiet quit and managers quietly hope for the best.

How about doing this instead – managers and employees meet individually, virtually, or in-person, every few weeks. Make a work-life check in a regular part of the conversation. Put the topic on the agenda to normalize the discussion and make talking about how work impacts personal an expected part of the conversation. Then start the discussion with something like, “I want us to be able to talk about how work fits in and supports your desired personal life. I want this job to support the vision you have for your life. I may not always be able to give you want, but I certainly can’t if I don’t know what those needs are.”

The world has changed, we have changed, and our needs have changed. We need to be able to talk about those changes without hesitation, worry, and fear. Instead of quiet quitting, schedule a conversation and open the discussion with something like, “I really enjoy my work here. There are a few things I’m realizing I need. Can we talk about it?”


Seven Tips for Taking Time for Yourself

I’m going to admit that I’m terrible at what I’m recommending today – taking time for yourself. Often my weekly blog is something I too am working on, and this week is no exception.

taking time for yourself

Many of you know that I have a small child and run a business. I work, travel, parent, and attempt to cook and keep my house clean.  I’ll admit, I haven’t seen a gym or any form of real exercise since my son was born. I haven’t had lunch with a friend without my son in tow, haven’t seen a movie, and only talk to friends when I’m traveling.

The value of downtime and taking time for yourself is well documented. There is a lot written on the need to take breaks to recharge, rejuvenate, and avoid burn out. The question is how to do so without feeling like something else is getting short shrift.

Here are seven tips for taking time for yourself:

Taking time for yourself tip one: Give yourself permission after a really busy few days or week(s) to take a day and do nothing. If you’ve been on the road for four days or worked really long hours, plan to sleep in on the fifth day. Don’t schedule early morning meetings and a full day. Know that you won’t be productive on day five anyway, so you might as well plan to do very little, which is what you’re likely to do anyway.

Taking time for yourself tip two: Plan a day doing non-work-related things you really want to do. When is the last time you did something you really love to do, just because? You’re more likely to dedicate time off to doing something you love than just lying around. But, if a day of planned recreational activities feels like another ‘to do,’ you’re better off doing nothing and not feeling badly about it.

Taking time for yourself tip three: Plan time to see one or two friends a week. I’ll admit that I have to schedule phone calls to catch up with friends and schedule time to see people I care about. Yes, I admit, this seems wrong. But do whatever it takes. If you have to put lunch or a phone call with a friend in Outlook for it to happen, do it.

Taking time for yourself tip four: Don’t feel badly about taking time off. Many employees don’t take their allotted vacation time – for a variety of reasons. Just do what you need to feel rested and refreshed. Stop judging yourself.

Taking time for yourself tip five: If you take a day off or sleep late, don’t work until two in the morning the next day to compensate. Doing so defeats the purpose and will put you in a hole the next day.

Taking time for yourself tip six: Watch where your time goes when you’re ‘working.’ I know that I squander lots of time while I’m ‘working.’ I allow myself to get distracted reading emails as they come in, texting, and chatting in our office. You could work fewer hours if you reduced these distractions.

Taking time for yourself tip seven: Decide what you really want your life to be about and what’s really important to you. Do you want work to be your focus or do you want an equal balance of friendships, family, and community activities? You likely have what it is that you really want.

If what you really want is a career-centric life, then just admit that and don’t judge yourself for it. But do take enough time off that you are rested, productive, and don’t resent your work.

taking time for yourself


Working Parent – What I’m Learning As a First Time Mom

Each time we go to the pediatrician’s office, my son’s doctor tells me to relax and enjoy my son more. And each appointment, I’m surprised. “What do you mean,” I ask? “Don’t all parents come to each appointment with a typed list of questions?” Apparently not.

Work life balance

It’s unfathomable that last year at this time, I was getting ready to have a baby. Grayson’s first year has flown by, but not without a lot of lessons. The learning has been fast and at times painful.

Working parent lesson one:  Stop trying to be perfect. I’m annoyed with myself, in all aspects of my life, for not being perfect. Regret is amplified with my son. Tonight he fell and shed blood for the first time in his young life. And I was standing right there. He hurt himself on my watch. As I replay the incident in my mind, all I can think is, “How did I let that happen and how do I prevent it happening again?” My family reassured me that every kid hurts himself and it will happen again and again. Intellectually I know this, and yet, I’m in denial about it, thinking if I’m vigilant enough, I can protect Grayson, ensuring that everything is always…perfect.

Working parent lesson two:  Go to bed earlier. When Grayson was born I was given the sage advice, “Sleep when he sleeps.”  I didn’t. And I’m writing this when I should be asleep. I’m more patient and present when I sleep.  I’m a better parent, manager, leader, and business owner when I sleep.

Close out the email. Get off the internet. Go to sleep.

Working parent lesson three:  One of my friends told me that most babies’ emergency room visits are for things the parents didn’t know the child could do. Yesterday Grayson crawled out of the tub unassisted. I didn’t know he could do that. He’d never done it before.  Each time he does something he’s never done before, I’m caught off guard. He’s fast, agile, curious and smart. I can’t underestimate him. And this isn’t too different from work.

Don’t underestimate the people you work with. They’ll do great things, if you let them. Set big goals. Be clear in your expectations. Coach, support, and get out of the way.

Several people have asked me about my greatest surprise in parenting. I have to say, it’s the love. The huge, limitless, crazy love. Perhaps I need to extend it to myself, and stress less and enjoy more.

Happy first birthday to Grayson. My greatest love and teacher.

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Seven Tips for Taking Time for Yourself

I’m going to admit that I’m terrible at what I’m recommending today – taking time for yourself. Often my weekly blog is something I too am working on, and this week is no exception.

make time for yourself

Many of you know that I’m often in three to five states a week doing what I love most–working with all of you. When I get home, I often spend my  evenings and weekends catching up.

While I feel I need to maintain this schedule to keep up, I’m aware that I can’t and don’t want to work all the time. So today’s blog is for all of us who don’t know how to turn it off and walk away from the laptop.

The value of downtime and taking time for yourself is well documented. There is a lot written on the need to take breaks to recharge, rejuvenate, and avoid burn out. The question is how to do so without feeling like something else is getting short shrift.

Here are seven tips for taking time for yourself:

Taking time for yourself tip one: Give yourself permission after a really busy few days or week(s) to take a day and do nothing. If you’ve been on the road for four days or worked really long hours, plan to sleep in on the fifth day. Don’t schedule early morning meetings and a full day. Know that you won’t be productive on day five anyway, so you might as well plan to do very little, which is what you’re likely to do anyway.

Taking time for yourself tip two: Plan a day doing non-work-related things you really want to do. When is the last time you did something you really love to do, just because? You’re more likely to dedicate time off to doing something you love than just lying around. But, if a day of planned recreational activities feels like another ‘to do,’ you’re better off doing nothing and not feeling badly about it.

Taking time for yourself tip three: Plan time to see one or two friends a week. I’ll admit that I have to schedule phone calls to catch up with friends and schedule time to see people I care about. Yes, I admit, this seems wrong. But do whatever it takes. If you have to put lunch or a phone call with a friend in Outlook for it to happen, do it.

Taking time for yourself tip four: Don’t feel badly about taking time off. I always feel guilty when I sleep until 11 am or do nothing until 3 pm on a Saturday. I still do it, but my enjoyment is diminished by my self-imposed judgment. Just do what you need to feel rested and refreshed. Stop judging yourself.

Taking time for yourself tip five: If you take a day off or sleep late, don’t work until two in the morning the next day to compensate. Doing so defeats the purpose and will put you in a hole the next day.

Taking time for yourself tip six: Watch where your time goes when you’re ‘working.’ I know that I squander lots of time while I’m ‘working.’ I allow myself to get distracted reading emails as they come in, texting, and chatting in our office. You could work fewer hours if you reduced these distractions.

Taking time for yourself tip seven: Decide what you really want your life to be about and what’s really important to you. Do you want work to be your focus or do you want an equal balance of friendships, family, and community activities? You likely have what it is that you really want.

If what you really want is a career-centric life, then just admit that and don’t judge yourself for it. But do take enough time off that you are rested, productive, and don’t resent your work.

taking time for yourself


Increase Productivity By Sleeping More

increase productivityYou have too much to do and not enough time. Something has to go. You have four choices:

  1. Get further behind at work
  2. Have less fun
  3. Spend less time with your kids, spouse and/or friends
  4. Sleep less

Most people forgo sleep in favor of work, fun, and time with family and friends. But this choice, like all choices, has consequences.

I’ll admit to being a bad sleeper. I stay up too late stalking people on Facebook who I don’t care about. Then I wake up in the middle of the night to use the facilities and have trouble falling back to sleep. Instead of quieting my mind, I make to-do lists on my phone, which, yes, I sleep with. I am quite functional with five hours of sleep for one or two days. The third day I’m a disaster – cranky and unproductive.

Most people need more sleep than they’re getting. With enough sleep everything works better. With a lack of sleep nothing seems to work. We would actually increase productivity if we slept more. Mornings would start better, days would be more efficient, and the people we work and live with would like us more.

But the problem remains, most people don’t feel they have enough time. And something has to go.

Here are a few things I’m trying to increase productivity:

  • Set realistic goals. I’m probably not going to go to be at work at 8:00 am, go to the gym, and see friends five days a week. Three days is more realistic.
  • Put the phone on the other side of the room when I go to bed, so it still serves as an alarm clock but isn’t within arm’s reach.
  • Don’t read or reply to email in the middle of the night.
  • Wind down earlier. Start getting ready for bed 30 minutes before I want to go to sleep.
  • Accept that I need more sleep and that while four or five hours worked while I was in college, I’m no longer 20.
  • Realize that when I get seven hours of sleep I’m nicer to be around. I feel better and am more productive.

When human beings sleep seven or eight hours a night we are more focused, happier and we increase productivity. Thus sleeping more actually creates more time.

Commit to feeling better and enjoying your work and personal life more by getting more sleep. But if you opt to stay tired and cranky, email me at 3:00 am and we’ll catch up.


Stressed? Want Work Life Balance? Create It.

Your job will not tell you that you need a vacation. Your company won’t tell you that you look tired and it’s time to go home. Your job is like a toddler. It wants and will take more, more, more. You need to decide what you’re willing to give.

Admittedly, I’m terrible at work life balance. I’ve always lived twenty minutes or fewer from my office so that I could easily go in on evenings and weekends. I gained twenty pounds the first year I worked at OppenheimerFunds because I never left the office before eleven p.m., and the only thing around to eat late at night was candy. No one told or expected me to work the hours I did. I put this pressure on myself.

Some of us enjoy working long hours. We love what we do. Work is where we derive a great deal of fulfillment. There is nothing wrong with working long hours and getting a great deal of enjoyment from your work. Just don’t blame your organization when you’re tired, stressed out, or out of balance.

You are accountable for your happiness at work.

Every time you email an internal or external customer on a weekend, take a work-related call at 8:00 pm, or check your email while you’re on vacation, you’re training the people you work with that you are always available.

Some of my clients’ employees tell me they feel taken advantage of by their organization and feel leaders’ expectations are unrealistic. As a result employees work more hours than they want to and miss vacations and evenings with their kids. The managers tell me they’re not expecting employees to work the hours employees say they feel pressured to work, so where’s the disconnect?

I suggest talking with your manager about her expectations.

The conversation could sound something like this:

“I want to make sure I’m meeting your expectations. When are you expecting X project to be done?

How are you evaluating my success? What does a good job look like?”

Or, “I’m stressed and am finding myself working evenings and weekends. I’d like to get a better understanding of your expectations about X project. I might be putting this stress on myself.”

I’m not suggesting being lazy or cutting corners. Work hard. Do good work. And know your limits.

In Sheryl Sandberg’s new book Lean In, Sandberg shares a story from her career when the manager of one of the McKinsey & Company offices, where Sandberg worked, realized that every person who left the organization blamed burnout and exhaustion for the reason for their departure. Upon some research the manager discovered that each of these exiting employees had unused vacation time.

Here are my work life balance tips:

  • Set realistic goals.
  • Under promise and over deliver.
  • Work reasonable hours, then go home.
  • Recharge your batteries in whatever way fills you up.
  • Get enough sleep. Everything feels and works better when we’ve had enough sleep.

See yourself as accountable for creating work life balance. Stop waiting for your boss to tell you you need a break. Send yourself home.


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