Achieving work-life balance in the era of ‘always on’

Building habits to keep your sanity is key when taking on a global role

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I’ve held a global role for so long that I’m not sure I remember a time where I didn’t have to check my email on a Sunday night as my team in Asia got into the office or join calls late into the night or early in the morning.

And, according to a recent survey by Harvard Business Review, 94% percent of professionals work 50 hours or more a week, so I know I’m not alone in this.

As marketers, we’re constantly tasked to come up with the next big creative campaign. Creativity is often found when you lean away from your work, not into it. It’s no coincidence that inspiration comes when we least expect it – on the train to work, in the shower, while you’re watching TV. When we give ourselves time to breathe, magic happens.

But when you have a global role, it can be difficult to disconnect. I’ve outlined my top three tips on how I manage my work and life priorities.

Learn which fires you need to fight

As leaders, we’re often good at knowing where to prioritize and focus our attention on when faced with a work challenge or emergency. But, do you practice this at home as well? With two kids, there are key things that I don’t want to miss, and when things get overwhelming, I prioritize time spent with them in the way I would a work task. I may not be able to take them to school every morning because of calls, but I make sure to have dinner with them at least four times a week and make my work schedule around important events in their lives.

Schedule time away

In an ideal world, we’d all use our paid time off to take relaxing vacations at regular intervals to help us recharge. But, sadly, that isn’t the reality for most leaders. When I can’t schedule paid time off, I make sure to put time in my calendar away from my desk, doing things I love, whether it’s an hour, an afternoon or a whole day.

Keep interruptions to a minimum

When you’re in the middle of a task or project and get interrupted, it can take twice as long to complete. By keeping interruptions to a minimum during your workday, you can get through more each day, giving you time to contemplate whether or not you really need to sign on after the kids are in bed. While it was a difficult habit to adopt, I find I’m so much more productive and more present in both my work and home life.

Slow and steady wins the race

Adopting any new habit is difficult, but choosing one that’s for your well-being can seem impossible. It causes you to have to put boundaries in place at work and home, and it takes discipline and focus. As both a mom and an international leader, I’ve learned how important it is to be present in both of my roles. The perfect work-life balance may not exist, but I’m getting closer to what works best for me every day.

What do you to help keep your sanity between work and home responsibilities?

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