How You Can Integrate Work/Life Balance & Model it for Others

How You Can Integrate Work/Life Balance & Model it for Others

In a previous post I shared the attributes of a Balanced and Mindful Leader, one being “Understands the importance of work/life balance and models it for others http://creativelivingcommunity.com/balanced-and-mindful-leadership-what-do-you-think/. So how can you integrate work-life balance into your own life and model it for others in the workplace?

Here are some suggestions:

Personally:

  • Count up the number of hours you typically work in a week. Is it more than 50? (Obviously sometimes)
  • Make a commitment to reduce the number of hours you typically work weekly (choose a realistic number to begin with)
  • Experiment with a work week when you reduce your hours. Then notice how you feel. You may wish to journal about it.
  • Begin incorporating mindfulness practices into your personal life; e.g.
    • on awakening while lying in bed do a body scan from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet noticing any tension, discomfort, heaviness. Breathe into those areas of tension, discomfort or heaviness and set the intention to release and let go of them.
    • Start doing mindfulness walking meditations 3 times/week for 30 minutes each time. [1] Some of my clients do this at lunch hour. Others after work. Notice how you feel before, during and after. Is there a cumulative effect?
  • Unplug at least 90 minutes before retiring and encourage your colleagues to do the same.

Organizationally:

  • At work, encourage people to take breaks
  • Set clear expectations with your direct reports and colleagues related to NOT checking emails and answering texts on evenings and weekends. Share with them the importance of them taking time for themselves and their families
  • Have short meetings (up to 60 minutes max) with clearly defined agendas, and expectations so people know why they’re there, how to prepare and the expected results.
  • Encourage people to take lunch breaks
  • Support people to take regular vacations and to NOT check their emails while on vacation (set up a buddy system so staff and managers can feel that the key aspects of their positions are being covered while they are away)
  • Have yoga classes and/or a gym on site and participate in the classes/use the facilities yourself.

What two actions will you begin integrating into your life tomorrow? Please share those actions and any related comments below. Feel free to share this post with a friend, colleague or family member.

[1] A tool from Easter psychology that I have found extremely useful for getting “out of my head” and into my body is Mindfulness Walking Meditation. Mindfulness practices focus on the senses and feeling sensations and emotions in our bodies. When we do a mindfulness walking meditation we feel the ground beneath our feet, we feel the breeze against our face, we feel the cool air going from our nostrils down into our lungs. We smell the scent of salt or the aroma of lavender in the air and observe the scenery in front of us. We try to stay out of our minds and experience our senses. Rather than spend a walk in nature constantly thinking and processing all the things we have to do, instead we stay present and experience nature and all of its beautiful sights, smells, sounds and sensations.

 

Balanced and Mindful Leadership: What Do You Think?

Balanced and Mindful Leadership: What Do You Think?

I believe it’s time for a new type of leader, and a new type of organizational culture; one that focuses on people, understanding, and collaboration; instead of money, results, and competition. … This is the first in a series of blog posts on balanced and mindful leadership.

In my coaching with business and professional women from around the world, greater and greater numbers, and younger and younger women are coming to me exhausted, “juggling so many balls”, feeling that there is no longer any fun in their lives; they are all about work with little or no time for themselves, or to spend with people they love. Some of them have health concerns. They are looking for tools and support to help them find peace amongst the chaos of daily life and work.

Well-educated professional women are leaving their senior positions or turning down career advancements when they have children, as there is not enough time to do it all. Those who try to do it all, often become ill[1] or end up in separation and divorce.

The old paradigm of working harder to get ahead is no longer working. In fact, productivity starts to decline after a certain number of hours of consistent work. It’s time for a new paradigm and new type of leader: a balanced and mindful one.

What are the attributes of a balanced and mindful leader?

  • Lives life in alignment with their core values
  • Runs an organization or operates within an organization in alignment with the organizational values
  • Knows their BIG WHY (life purpose)
  • Understands the importance of Work/Life Balance and models that for others
  • Rewards teams rather than individuals for their performance
  • Models and rewards inter and intra-organizational collaboration
  • Recognizes the need for space to encourage creativity and innovation
  • Uses their body as well as their minds to make decisions; e.g. Leadership is an art as well as a science.
  • Inspires and supports others to be the best they can be
  • Is emotionally intelligent and aware of their strengths and weaknesses
  • Surrounds self with folks with complementary skill-sets to shore up their weaknesses and complement their strengths, rather than people like themselves.
  • Encourages brainstorming and questioning of the status quo.
  • Allows their managers and staff to make mistakes, share and learn from them; encourages a culture of innovation – e.g. Engineers without Borders Annual Failure report – http://reports.ewb.ca/

Do you agree with the need for a new type of leader? What are your thoughts? I welcome your comments below. Feel free to share the post with others who you think might like to join in the discussion.

[1] http://creativelivingcommunity.com/how-to-know-if-youre-burning-out-what-to-do-about-it/