Finding work-life balance. Ask anyone what strong desire they have in their professional life and this is often a popular answer. We all want the blooming career at the same time we want a loving, close-knit family at the same time we want a generous network of friends to spend happy hours and weekends with. As meeting and event professionals, our job descriptions almost always state “must be available nights and weekends“. Is it just me, or is anyone else asking when we do we get to rest? To have a game night with our family? To clean our homes? Or even to workout? I found the solution: make time for it all. But how? I have a few ideas for you.
- Decide when work time is over. Even if you vow to put in a few hours of work after you leave the office, it’s important to set a mental “stop” time that indicates work time is over, regardless of emails or phone calls that may nag you. Use this end time as a motivator to get work done before your favorite show on prime-time, dinner with your loved ones, or drinks with a friend. If you’re brave, as I typically am, stop working when you leave the office. It feels great to have hours of free time each night and I get to recharge my battery for the following day’s work!
- Choose your weeks. I get it. Some weeks it really is impossible to get everything done within the confines of a 40 hour week, but decide which weeks you will choose to fight this battle. During the few weeks before a huge event, you may not be able to afford much time off of work, but use the few weeks after the event to catch up on sleep, workouts, and hanging with friends and family.
- Do not make yourself available all the time. Be accessible by phone, but responding to non-emergency emails well into the night indicates to coworkers, management, and clients that you are available 24/7. No wonder there is no work-life balance! It’s impossible when you communicate to others that you are working every minute of the week.
- Stop making excuses. Do you want to work out daily? What’s stopping you? Although it’s a painful wake up some mornings, I have found that 5AM is my sweet spot for a workout time. Because I get it out of the way in the morning, I don’t feel bad about staying in the office a little longer some nights. This same principal applies to anything else you wish to incorporate into your daily routine.
- Use lists to get ahead. I’m sure everyone has heard this one before, but using a master to-do list allows me to prioritize my tasks. At the end of each day, I write down what I still have left to do for the rest of the week. Seeing it written on paper allows me to recognize if the tasks must get done that same day or if they can be pushed off until the next day. If you fall victim to assuming that “everything needs to get done right now,” force yourself to write numbers next to your to-do list items to prioritize which tasks need doing before others. Suddenly, everything doesn’t seem quite so urgent.
We’ve all had days, weeks, or entire jobs that demand every ounce of us, but finding work-life balance truly comes down to making the choice to have it. At the end of the day, the work we’re doing as a meeting and event professional is not life-threatening or life saving. We’re planning events. We can take pride in our work but not let our work run our entire lives.
What are your thoughts? Do you think finding work-life balance is truly a choice? Or do you believe that it is something not in your own hands?
This post was written by PEC’s Marketing Coordinator Molly Rasmussen.