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Entries in work/life balance (35)


An Escort Service and Work Life Balance

Got your attention with that one, huh? While talking with a client they commented about their long hours at work and how they weren't taking care of their "self ring." But then they said things had recently changed and they were enjoying being at home more and actually eating lunch. What made the difference to her? Being an escort. Let me explain.

She works in a secure building requiring smart cards and a security clearance. She recently added two interns to her staff and they don't yet have their security clearance. So... she has to walk with them to the cafeteria for lunch and then walk them out at the end of their day. This forces her to at least GO to lunch and then end her day at a more reasonable hour. She said she forgot the benefits of lunch and getting home earlier until the interns came along.

That got me to thinking. What could be the triggers we put in place to help remind us of the importance of taking an "intermission" or not overexerting ourself in relation to work hours? For me it could be recording my six year old's voice saying, "Daddy, when are you coming home?" on my phone and then making that the alarm tone when I set it. It could be moving a picture of my family to a more prominent place on my desk before taking on that "one last task" at work to remind me to not work late-especially when I promised my family I wouldn't. Maybe engage the help of a co worker, who could come by your desk as they leave and tell you something fun they plan to do that evening.

What are some things you can think of that would help bring things back into focus for you so that you don't find yourself in the Juggling Elephants routine again?


We don't offer an escort service, but we do help organizations get to a place they can't get themselves. For more information, click here.


Workaholics and Work Life Balance

In his HBR Network Blog, Kevin Evers makes the case that workaholics shouldn't try to achieve work life balance. He writes, "There is always more work to do, and they [workaholics] are willing to do it." His comments echo what we teach in Juggling Elephants training programs about the fact that there will always be elephants-things that seem physically, mentally, emotionally, or even financially heavy and difficult to manage. The elephants don't stop coming until we die.

His solution is that workaholics should set boundaries for themselves, limiting the time they spend on a task (or at work) to allow for other activities. It's a perfect complement to the "3 rings" concept. We teach that you need to allow time in your daily or at least weekly "circus" for quality acts in all 3 rings-work, relationships, and self. At any one point your circus (life) may appear to be unbalanced, with maximum intensity in one ring. Over the course of a week or certainly month, however, you should be able to look back on moments where you have worked just as hard on your relationships or taking care of yourself as you have on the tasks at work.

You have to plan for all 3 areas instead of simply focusing on getting all your work done and then hoping that there is time for family or friends or personal renewal. As Evers writes, "There is always more work to do."


Work Life Balance Is Still A Priority

With a slow economy and job opportunities limited for many people, we sometimes hear that work/life balance is not a priority for many employees. As an employer, don't get too comfortable with that perspective.

In the 2012 Keep Good Going Report from New York Life shows polling of American workers about their attitudes toward work and families. Findings include:

  • 71 percent would be happier with more pay, but only a small percentage would be willing to trade between their financial situation and their families
  • For a 50 percent pay raise, only 11 percent of those polled would exchange reduced time with their children (Ironically, 54 percent WOULD exchange working at night)

Time with families is still among the highest priorities of most workers. How does your workplace recognize and support that priority? If you want to retain and grow your best talent, it might we worth looking at-instead of getting too comfortable with the perspective of "They aren't going anywhere."


Working Mom Ringmasters

Not long after Juggling Elephants was published, we had a reviewer of the book comment that they would add a 4th ring to their circus-their home. She went on to explain that while she had the standard 3 rings of work/self/relationships, she also had the passion to insure that her home was a warm and inviting place for her family. Her sentiments are echoed by many "working moms" in our society today. had a recent article where they offered 12 strategies for working moms. While the tips are timeless, the writer (Heather Dugan) does a marvelous job of connecting to the specific situations faced by working (outside the home) mothers.

Read the tips by clicking here.


Biting Off More than You Can Chew

I can remember when the gum, Bubble Yum was introduced in 1975 by LifeSavers.  Prior to that, as a young man, I wasn't a big bubble gum customer.  But, when Bubble Yum came out, I was hooked.  It was the first soft bubble gum made and came in big, thick, flavorful pieces.

One day as a little leaguer, I bought a pack at the baseball diamond "snack shack" just before a game.  Now, I had watched a number of "big league" games and had noticed that "big league players" always chewed a wad of what I naively thought was bubble gum.  So wanting to be like them, I unwrapped the whole pack of Bubble Yum and shoved each piece in my mouth.  Well, the results weren't pretty.  I had a hard time talking, I was drooling bubble gum juice down the front of my uniform, my jaw hurt and eventually my Mom walked over to the dugout (much to my embarrassment) and told me to spit my gum out because I looked like, "a cow chewing its cud."

"Biting off more than you can chew" when it comes to taking on too many tasks, assignments, goals, etc. can be disastrous as well.  It is easy to confuse all the things that you "can do" with all the things that you "should do" or better yet that you "choose to do."  You can't juggle elephants!  It is impossible.  You need to be selective with what you take on and where you put your focus since you have limited time and resources.  Focus on the important things and don't blow it – pun intended.