Work burnout is no joke, and the long-term effects can be detrimental in many ways for individuals and organizations. Layer in the shift to working remotely, and we are seeing an increase in burnout issues among employees. It’s not surprising, as many people are navigating a shared space that blurs the lines of their personal and professional identities. If you have never worked remotely, it can be hard to find a routine, to get used to connecting virtually rather than in-person, and to adjust your communication style.
In my work, I am often asked for practical ways to help with a concept to which I give little reverence….”work-life balance.” I eschew this term because I don’t really believe that we are striving for balance. Life is not that neat and tidy where we can compartmentalize time to a balanced state where 50% is spent on work and 50% on “life.” What does that even mean in today’s world? Our work life is inextricably linked to our “life-life” and our identities are that of many things–professional, partner, friend, parent, daughter, sibling, community member, etc. Rather, I would suggest that our goal should be about developing good habits, not seeking “balance” in the way that “work-life balance” suggests.
Why habits? Well, you can identify habits and quantify them and measure them. To me, I feel much more fulfilled personally and professionally when I build a habit that helps my team, my organization, my family, or me. “Balance” is illusive, harder to measure, and,ultimately, not the point. So how do we create good habits? Start with where you are. Gather your baseline data about where your time is spent. I call this a “time audit” and it is necessary to understand how you are spending your time. Trust me, both good and bad habits will emerge when you do this audit. How do you do a time audit? Here are some steps:
- Isolate a typical 5-day work week on your calendaring system.
- Assess what shows up on your calendar–meetings, appointments, tasks, reminders.
- Determine what personal and professional time you need to account for on your calendar–in other words, what is missing?
- Add up the time spent on the tasks.
- Reflect on where you are spending time, gaining time, and losing time.
Next, try your hand at daily time blocking, hour by hour. Yes, it’s tedious, but it helps build your data set. List your tasks, including things like “get Kent logged into his online classroom” or “walk the dog.” When you time block, you begin to see if your perception of your time is true. It forces you to get real!
Want to dive in to learn more about time blocking and other strategies that empower remote teams? Let me know how I can support your organization by filling out the “Get in Touch” form on this page. When we create good habits we find ways to Shine & Rise!
Shine & Rise Insights was created as a solution for leaders and organizations grappling with how to be effective when how we work, learn, and collaborate is shifting. Through consulting, training, and leadership development, my hope is to share proven strategies to help individuals and organizations innovate and re-envision how their teams and communities engage and interact. I envision this blog as a space to share insights, stories, and trends.
I look forward to having you as a part of this community!