Tag Archives: Work Life Balance

How Do You Define Success?

Lean In” and Sheryl Sandberg have permeated every news channel, major corporation and magazine cover during the last couple of months. The book has been wildly successful and Sandberg has led an army of mainly women in the charge for equality in the workplace. While her book is very helpful and it’s great companies want to aid women in the work/life balance struggle, “Lean In” is not a gospel for every woman out there.

The work/life balance is such a personal issue for men and women alike that no one prescribed way can be applied to everyone’s situation. In reality, it comes down to how you define success. Is is a c-suite office, a certain pay grade, or having happy, responsible children? I can’t answer that question for you and neither can Sheryl Sandberg. What we can do, as women fighting for a better tomorrow, is lift each other up rather than bring one another down.

acsuccessSuccess is one of those obscure topics like happiness. There’s the dictionary definition but that can’t possibly capture everyone’s feelings on these sometimes lofty out-of-reach ideas. A co-worker recently shared a Harvard Business Review (HRB) article that eloquently addressed the topic of success saying “You have to define what success means to you—understanding, of course, that your definition will evolve over time.” I experienced this epitome earlier in the week when I made the conscious decision to attend my fitness class instead of staying later at work. As a young professional, my career is top of mind, but since the start of 2014, my health has become a top priority too. Right now, being successful means taking time for myself, whether that is a yoga class or a manicure.

It is easy to define success right now as a single, young professional with no responsibility to anyone but myself. However, I know it will gradually become harder, when I add a significant other and children to the mix. That is why I enjoyed the HBR article so much; it is okay for your definition of success to change as your grow and figure out what you want from this life. I look at others my age and occasionally question their lack of ambition. But who am I to define success for them? I can’t want for others what they don’t want for themselves. We can’t define success for anyone else but ourselves.

I think that having a clear definition of success and sharing it with your board of directors is important. Of course,definesuccess you can change this definition whenever you need to, but keeping it top of mind will help you make tough decisions. If you define success as being home with your children by 6 p.m. three nights a week, write it on a post-it, share it with your team and make it happen! I doubt it will always be easy and sometimes you’ll have to sacrifice, but keeping your definition of success top of mind should help.

How do you define success? Please share your thoughts with me in the comments section!

 

Beating the Summer Blues

Tomorrow is the first of August and I haven’t been to the beach yet. My normally sparkling tan is practically non-existent. Laying out in the sunshine during the summer is one of my favorite pastimes. Yet, it has rarely happened this summer. Why? Because this is the first summer I’ve worked full-time.

summertimeWhile I’ve had part-time summer jobs since I was thirteen, this is the first summer I’ve worked full-time (also known as my first summer as an adult). I will not complain about trading my bathing suit for a blazer since many are without jobs. However, it can be annoying to see others around my age hitting the beach or going for a mid-day swim while I’m in my cubicle.

As young professionals, working during the summer is something we have to accept and become comfortable with. Or else we will absolutely lose it! After reflecting on summer 2013 so far, here are some tips I came up with for combating the summer blues.

1. Fun is not just for the summer: Sure, there are a lot more enjoyable activities to do outside during the summer. But the opportunity for fun presents itself during all seasons. Try not to focus so much on the time of year but rather what activities are available for you and your friends to try out.

2. Take time off: I repeat: Schedule some time off during the summer! Maybe you can’t afford an actual vacation. That’s not an excuse to work all the time. Plan a stay-cation and go bast in the sunshine. No matter how busy summers are at work, I promise you can work with your supervisor to get some time off. You won’t feel like you’re missing out and you’ll come back to work recharged.

3. Take a walk: Yesterday after I picked up my lunch, I took a quick walk around the block. It was suchbeach a beautiful day that I couldn’t resist. I was away from my desk for 15 minutes and I can guarantee no one missed me. I took advantage of the perfect summer day and felt better when I returned to work.

4. Use time wisely: As tired as you might be on the weekends, don’t waste away on your couch in the air conditioning. Get outside and get moving! Plan day trips with family and friends. Try something new that you never thought of before (hello 5K!). Don’t mope around complaining about “missing summer” when you’re sleeping away the free time you do have.

While summer is nearing its end, I have a bunch of fun things planned in August, including time off! How do you survive summer at work? Is it actually harder than the other seasons? Share your thoughts!

What’s The Normal Work Day?

Since starting my full-time job in November, I am constantly pondering all aspects of working in the real world. From outfit choices to commuting, I have an opinion on most everything. Within the last month, my friends and I were discussing our typical work day. Of course, the wheels in my head started turning about what the normal work day looks like. Points I’d like to bring up for discussion:

1. There’s No Such Thing As Normal: Yes, the “normal” workday used to be from 9am until 5pm. But that is a thing of the past. With telecommuting and more flexibility, people work around their schedules not the company’s. Honestly, that’s the best way to ensure productivity and success.

Work Life Balance signpost2. Define Your Limits: My goal is to be at my desk no later than 8:30am and to leave no later than 6pm. That’s what works best for me, not everyone. That time span changes if I work from home. Know yourself, when you’re most productive and when you have to shut it down.

3. Each Industry is Different: Teachers clearly work different hours than Accountants. PR professionals are typically “on-call” like doctors in case major news breaks. You must see the differences and respect them. Just because your friend’s day ends at 5pm doesn’t mean yours will. You’ll eventually figure out how to work with each other’s conflicting schedules.

4. Forget the Fear: You are allowed to leave at 5pm if your work is done. That was something I absolutely had to get over. Just because others are still working doesn’t mean you have to. Also, those other people might not have been at their desk at 8am like you were.

With new technology and workplace flexibility, the normal workday is a thing of the past. In reality, each day should and probably will be different. What does your typical day look like? Do you agree with the points above?

Does your week look like this?!

Does your week look like this?!

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