7 Tips on Striking the Work-Life Balance
Originally Posted on Funeral Gal
So where exactly has the Funeral Gal been? It seems as if I have been a slight bit absent lately from the blogosphere – I know, I know. Fact of the matter is that on the see-saw of work/life balance, the “life” part became a little bit heavier the last couple of months. Truth be told building a new house, moving in when you are eight months pregnant, and then having a baby 6 days before Christmas eats into a lot of evening/weekend time (the times I usually spend writing blog posts). Needless to say, the Funeral Gal blog took a “holiday vacation”. While the life side may have weighed slightly heavier, the work side of things was almost equally as heavy.
So now that the New Year has passed and my littlest one just turned 5 weeks old, I can sit and take the time to reflect on the past couple of months. What have I learned? Well I learned that it all relates back to effectively managing a “work/life” balance.
Work/life balance is one of the hottest topics in business today. Simply Google the topic and no shortage of 84,800,000 results appear (in .60 seconds I might add – impressive Google, impressive). This topic is seemingly ubiquitous – everyone is writing about it! Health publications such as the Mayo Clinic and Mental Health America; news publications such as NY Times and Huffington Post; business publications such as Forbes, Business Insider, Inc.com; and others have all weighed in on their opinions from their own perspectives about the topic.
Work and life is a constant roller coaster. Funeral homes know this the best. The old adage in the funeral industry is that if you want your funeral home to get busy, plan to do something in your personal life… a vacation, a can’t miss school or sporting event for your children, a state convention, the holidays, and on and on. All the calls will begin to pour in as you a) prepare for or b) are gone for this event. There can’t be a truer anecdote for our “on-call” profession. So how do you deal with it when both your professional and personal sides of your lives get busy?
I don’t by any means claim to be an expert, and I’ll be the first to admit I have a lot to learn. However, each time I ride the roller coaster up where both my personal and my professional life both get extremely busy I become a little bit wiser on how to handle these situations. So, here’s what I have learned:
Don’t be afraid to learn something new (especially in the realm of technology): Time is the scarcest resource when things are busy. Too often, we spend more time doing things the way we are familiar with instead of learning a new method that may create us more of this precious resource that is time. Example: in preparing our tracking spreadsheets for the beginning of the new year, I was using my old monotonous and time consuming way of adding figures together. After about half way through, I decided to Google to see if there was a faster way of completing my task. Sure enough, up pops a YouTube video that taught me a much faster way of accomplishing my task. This saved me about 45 minute in completing my task. I took that 45 minutes finished additional work to be done, which freed me up to complete my work day right on time and get home 45 minutes earlier to sneak in a lot of my Christmas shopping on Amazon (another time saver right there). Moral: Even when you think you are drowning for time, don’t be afraid take a risk in the form of a couple extra minutes in learning something new if it has the potential to save time in the long run.
Chunk down your life: What is “chunk down your life” you might ask? Well, it’s my (in)formal way of breaking my life into separate segments. Whether I am at work or at home, I take big tasks or lots of things to do in a day and “chunk” them down into smaller tasks. I sit down in the morning, break up my chunks, and plan my day to complete all my tasks. I intermix longer and shorter tasks, my tedious and monotonous tasks, my sit behind my computer screen and get up and move tasks. This helps keep me fresh throughout the day and helps keep my fatigue down and my production up!
Delegate: Okay, so you need to be careful with this one. Fair warning here: don’t delegate tasks that you aren’t supposed to and don’t delegate tasks to someone who is unqualified or undertrained to complete them correctly. However, if it makes your work life sane to ask your significant other to pick up the children – it’s okay to ask every once in a while (so long as you are willing to return the favor). If you need to ask someone at work to do a favor and help you make some copies – go ahead and ask (again, so long as you’re willing to return the favor).
Appreciate your support system: Your support system could be your significant other, your best friend that you vent to, your family or others! These are the people who will listen, commiserate, and pick you up when life gets tough, busy and/or stressful. You have to not only appreciate them, but also be there for them when they go through the same tough, busy or stressful time. (Thanks Ty! [my husband])