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It’s Nearly 2020. Can we have it all yet?

Three Strategies for Happier Work Life Balance

Photo by Miguel Bruno
Photo by Miguel Bruno

Girls just want to have fun. That’s such a feel-good happy song but not entirely true.

Most of us want a successful career, fairytale romance, beautiful kids, several pets, amazing vacations and the perfect home. All of this while finding time to work out and look our best. Sigh. But how does the laundry and grocery shopping get done? Um, we are still pretty much in charge of that and figuring out childcare too. 

Yet, there is good news, Goldman Sachs just changed their benefit policies and are now offering 20 weeks of paid leave to all parents regardless of gender. Hopefully, this will encourage more guys to enjoy the joy and work-load when sweet babies join the family. 

We have been fighting this fight a long time and gender equality remains a hot topic. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2019 we still only make 81.4% the amount of our male counterparts. The number of women at the CEO level in Fortune 500 companies is at an all-time high: 6.6%. What? That’s all? 4 out of 10 businesses are now owned by women. Still so low BUT progress is progress. 

Even if you aren’t striving to be a senior executive or business owner, having it all can be overwhelming. Balancing your work, home and a social life isn’t easy for any of us. Remember to stay grateful and be happy while chasing those dreams.

Happiness is pretty simple: someone to love, something to do, something to look forward to”. – Rita Mae Brown

Also, don’t forget the first “someone to love” has to be you. Self-care is critical. You can’t take care of business or others if you are not at your physical and mental best. 

Yoga, meditation, running, facials, manicures, walking the dog, reading, painting: whatever makes you feel your best, prioritize those activities in your life. 

Having it all is a tall order but a very worthy pursuit. Why not at least go for it? Different approaches work for different people. Here are some strategies I have tried and observed with promising results.  

WORK-LIFE INTEGRATION

If you’re lucky like me, many of your “work friends” are really “friends” so it’s easy to combine work and fun. Be sure you are getting out of the office to enjoy extra-curricular activities and if you have a big business idea while out, all the better. 

When my son was a toddler, our nanny brought him to my office around 5 pm. This proved to be a fun time we still talk about. He got to see where Mommy works and what she does. My co-workers still talk about it too. They used to invite him into meetings to give his opinion of toys in development. My role also necessitated “retail store visits” to check out competitive products. No reason shopping can’t be fun for the whole family. I also often asked friends their opinion on projects I was working on while we were out and about. 

Try and think of fun ways you can invite friends and family to visit and or participate in your work somehow. Integration worked for me.

Here is another rather opposite strategy also worth trying.

CREATING CLEAR COMPARTMENTABLIZATION

This requires impressive discipline. I have a friend with two phones. The work one gets put away Friday evening at 6 and doesn’t come back out until 9 am Monday. Yep. Pretty much Do Not Disturb. Living My Life Currently. This requires an agreement with those you work with but how amazing to actually take the weekend to “strategically disengage.” 

While at Disney, we were trained to unplug and encouraged to fully enjoy our weekends and vacation as management believed we would re-emerge more energized and refreshed with all new ideas. The culture was great in those days and productivity was at an all-time high. 

Pure focus. Work while you are working. Play while you are playing. Rest while you are resting. What an amazingly simple and brilliant concept. 

KEEP FIGHTING LIKE A GIRL

Our bodies are designed to handle pain and create miracles. Our minds and hearts can do the same. Our ability to be strategic, focused, determined, collaborative and stay strong no matter what is becoming more and more recognized by the guys. Yes, we are more emotional, but kindness and caring are now celebrated strengths. 

It’s good to know the gender equality facts, but don’t use them with anger. By being proactive in asking for what you want while staying positive and solution-oriented, anything is possible. 

Oh, and don’t be shy to ask the guys to lend a hand and have your back. We are all evolving albeit slowly. Progress is happening. We need to celebrate that. And, keep fighting forward like a girl.

Having it all is up to you to define. How far you want to go is also fully up to you. Remember if you have someone to love, something to do and something to look forward to—that’s already a happy life. The rest is just an adventure. 

It’s nearly 2020. Let’s have fun going after it all.

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