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How do you find work-life balance?

Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Jul 11, 2019

Nearly half of American workers say they check email after they leave work, and 45% say they do work during non-business hours. Most of us would love a little more balance in our lives, but the fact of the matter is, achieving it is hard

What does work-life balance mean to you? And what are some of your best tips for achieving a more balanced schedule?

 

10 comments

  1. Setting other people's expectations for when I will usually be working. For example, it's ok to tell people you don't read email outside work hours
  2. Setting my own expectations about not working at home is the harder part, but still necessary. For example, it's ok to decide that you're not going to work outside your usual work place. Don't look at your phone when you wake up either
  3. Tell people how to contact you, but emphasize that this is for unusual things
  4. Finally, ranking all tasks by what you actually care about long-term is necessary overhead. Otherwise you will be busy with everything all the time.

Now ask me how successful I am with those ;)

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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Jul 12, 2019

So, @Matt Doar {LinkedIn} how successful with those are you? ;) 

This is a great list. Thank you for sharing! 

Jodi LeBlanc Community Leader Jul 22, 2019

Love that list Matt!

I guess to achieve it we need to have happiness/harmony as a goal.

In my opinion, we overload ourselves because we are always trying to improve our results in endless competition. Our work needs to be the best, our team needs to be the best, our company needs to be the best.

Note that "the best" means competition with others. If you are just trying to improve your own way to do things you don't need to be overloaded. Is the comparison that makes us suffer. Even if you think you are just trying to beat yourself at some point you will have a goal to meet and this goal is based on people striving to give their best.

In my opinion, you need to set your own limits, prioritize as much as possible and try to keep things simple. 

Although these are my thoughts I do find a lot difficult to follow them.

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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Jul 12, 2019

💡Wow, this is such a good point and observation, @Daniel Santos : "We overload ourselves because we are always trying to improve our results in endless competition"

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I think that without competition there is no reason to overload our lives with tasks. But then we have people we love... and they will see us differently if you don't meet their expectations (which are not only from them but inherited from the group - team, society, ...). If we are not able to handle their disappointment and respect ourselves, we will be trapped.

Screen Shot 2019-07-12 at 10.21.32.png 

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Jodi LeBlanc Community Leader Jul 22, 2019

That graphic paints such a picture!

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I communicate early and often to my team(s) when I have personal things that I want/need to do outside of work, and I fiercely protect that time. Sure, there are times where I need to work overtime or on the weekend, but that should be the exception to the rule, not a normal occurrence. 

I also find that I am incrementally better at my job, happier, and more motivated when I am able to get to the gym, eat breakfast and dinner at home, and log off when I'm not at work. In fact, I would venture to say that we all are!

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Sure, there are times where I need to work overtime or on the weekend, but that should be the exception to the rule, not a normal occurrence. 

This is something I have made a point to mention in job interviews for the last few years. It has never put off a manager I wanted to work with.

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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Jul 12, 2019

I totally agree with you @nicholette.daniel! Being able to stick to some sort of routine does wonders. 

I have many thoughts but I'm leaving for vacation in 36 hours so in the interest of work-life balance, I'm going to close the laptop and continue packing before I type out a whole novel. I did want to say one thing though, which is that I've been starting my week by taking a walk in a nearby park, where my daughter is going to summer camp. I drop her off and then spend 20 minutes walking on some nature trails. It's been a wonderful way to clear my head and kick off the week with a positive, peaceful mindset. And it helps me bring my best self to work, too. Win-win!

batyre.jpg

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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Jul 12, 2019

Beautiful photo, @Monique van den Berg . Thank you for sharing and enjoy your upcoming vacation!

I love to walk in places like this =]
Nature is amazing and I don't understand how we some times are so disconnected of it.
Thank for sharing your way to start the week!

My husband and I disagree whether checking the Atlassian Community in the weekend (and posting) counts as work or not.

Writing articles and blog posts can be fun work that creeps into personal time.

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I just saw this while lying in bed and deciding what Kindle book to read next. The community is definitely fun, not work, to me!
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Same in my home:
- What are you doing?
- Nah, just retouching some photos for my blog (opens Community and start reading...)


Atlassian Community app - when? :) 

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In my company, my team along with the client set the release plan and sprint plan and every team members are responsible to achieve that plan. So the company puts no restriction on them for working time and we don't tell anyone to work on the weekend or after working hours. We have flexible working time and work from home facility so if anyone has something important personal work during work hours also then s/he can manage his/her time according to the team plan and meetings.

We encourage our team members to enjoy their personal time with their family and friends. But the amazing part is, most of the team members have friends in the company itself so they enjoy each other's company during/after working hours and it helps all of us in our work and personal life both.

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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Jul 18, 2019

That sounds like a wonderful working arrangement. Thank you for sharing, Ashish!

Jodi LeBlanc Community Leader Jul 22, 2019

What a wonderful workplace!

@Daniel Santos nailed it. I love your point of view. We are just striving to be better than everyone else, and most of the time completely forget about ourselves and our needs - body, and mind.

This is one of my favorite topics, and I spend a lot of time thinking about balance, life, work, personal goals, and needs. I know I'm always in some Perfectionist trap, where I need to be first, the better, the best, the person with the brightest idea, and the one checking and replying emails after dinner at home.

After spending some time in days like that, all you have at the end is burnout. 

So, as Daniel said, keep it simple and prioritize. As Matt pointed out: set expectations. I will say: have a daily routine and keep it organized.

My recipe for balance: prioritize your mental and physical health. Enough sleep, exercise, and good food are keys to a productive workday. I'm hitting the gym every morning at 8 AM, and because of that, we moved our meetings 2 hours later. As I said: prioritize yourself first. 

If you feel good to check your work email at home - okay, do it, but also try to have off-hours, and a breath of fresh air. We all have colleagues and customers who are obsessed with 24/7 working, and they will always be happy to receive an extra email Sunday night. Train them to be patient and respect your personal life and space.

People are understanding, and if you lead, they will follow. So lead a good example for a healthy work-life balance, and you'll see the World changing. :)

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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Jul 18, 2019

Thank you so much for sharing this thoughtful perspective, @Teodora {Botron} !

Like Daniel Santos likes this

You are very welcome @Kristen Roth :) Wonderful topic!

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I'm passioned about this topic because I struggle with it. I totally agree with you @Teodora {Botron} and you did such a great job connecting different perspectives on your comment. I guess we all know the reasons we do what we do but some times we just forget part of them to avoid the inner conflict.

People are understanding, and if you lead, they will follow. So lead a good example for a healthy work-life balance, and you'll see the World changing. :)

Totally agree! If we respect ourselves people will learn with us how to do the same.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts here @Teodora {Botron} !

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Thank you too, @Daniel Santos  !

We'll make a good writing team though :) 

Like Daniel Santos likes this

For sure!!! =]

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Jodi LeBlanc Community Leader Jul 22, 2019

Love these tips that you shared @Teodora {Botron} especially your recipe for balance!

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This is a great post! I struggled with Work Life Balance early in my career and did conference calls outside my time zones and on vacation and never really had clear boundaries. Then I realized I needed to set my boundaries and communicate them with my team and then live by them. So for example when I go on vacation I ensure that everyone has everything they need before I leave, and communicate, communicate communicate. Everything that could come up while I am away I ensure I share that info in advance. Nothing in the work I do is life or death to anyone so I put my phone away in a drawer and don't check it. I come back to work so much more refreshed and rejuvenated than the old days when I checked my phone every single day. I also go "all in" during my work day, and then turn it off at night and weekends and fill my evenings and weekends with non-work related items. 

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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Jul 22, 2019

Clear boundaries and communication. Both so important! Thanks for sharing, @Jodi LeBlanc !

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Today is my first day in the office for 4 weeks. It also marks the first time in 4 weeks I have logged into the Atlassian Community!

I made a promise to myself that I would not log into any work-related applications while I was on leave. I might have peeked at my emails a couple of times to make sure no customers had gone unanswered but otherwise it was a success.

I recommend this challenge to anyone like me who spends most of their life with access to a screen and the internet.

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You did it! =]

Jodi LeBlanc Community Leader Aug 19, 2019

Welcome back @Kat Warner {TechTime} and good for you truly unplugging! It makes such a difference, and I am sure you came back to work with so much energy and enthusiasm because you took that break for your mind.

Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Aug 19, 2019

Wow! Kudos to you, @Kat Warner {TechTime} !

We missed you, @Kat Warner {TechTime} !!

Someone I use to work with has shared his thoughts on this topic here.

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"I make a rule to never eat lunch at my desk – it’s good to have some time away even during a busy day." - I agree!

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