Tips to Improve Your Work-Life Balance

Finding ways to meet the demands of business and have a satisfying personal life are challenges we’re all familiar with. It seems everyone in business these days understands the value of work-life balance, but can’t always find ways to achieve this laudable goal.

work life balance sign postAt Baillie Lumber, we don’t claim to have a “silver bullet” for this ongoing dilemma. But based on our own experience working with people in the hardwood lumber industry and research we’ve done, we have come across some valuable best practices on how to better organize time and work and become more satisfied with balancing one's professional and personal lives.

  1. Strive for integration, rather than balance. The phrase “work-life” suggests that we can somehow split these warring demands right down the middle and find that magical notion of “balance.” But life’s not that simple. “Few people can ever fully achieve a perfect work-life balance,” notes Craig Guillot at Chief Executive. Strive instead for integration, which “means simultaneously ranking priorities at the office and in the home.”
  1. Get your priorities in order. It’s easy to get into the mindset that “everything I do is equally urgent and important.” But take a closer look at what takes up your day. Are those supposedly important tasks really necessary? And if they are, do you have to do them all?
  1. Refine and enhance your delegating skills. We’ve mentioned it numerous times before, but the point is worth repeating. Delegation has nothing to do with a leader’s personal shortcomings. Instead, it means acknowledging that no single individual can manage or supervise every task needed to run a successful business. Elsewhere, we’ve offered these suggestions for effective delegation:
  • Hire the best people for the job.
  • Make sure people understand your expectations.
  • Give your team the resources needed to get the job done.
  • Describe the outcome you’re looking for, then get out of the way.
  • Acknowledge and reward the results of effective delegation.
  1. Leverage technology to save time and energy. There are plenty of digital tools out there to help you better integrate your work and personal lives. Look into downloading apps for everything from tracking how you spend your time to help with project management and real-time decision-making. The effort needed to familiarize yourself with new time-management software is minimal, compared to the potential work-life balance ROI.
  2. Get rid of time-wasters. Whether it’s constantly checking email or getting distracted by the internet, make a sincere effort to identify and eliminate time-wasting behavior, particularly in the workplace. We see this often in the hardwood lumber industry. Whether it be a blast email inquiry for rustic white oak from an importer overseas late in the evening or an alert announcing a new picture from a sawmill partner in social media, not everything needs to be reviewed immediately.

As Deborah Jian Lee at Forbes suggests find “ways to diplomatically limit these interactions” and, instead, “focus on the people and activities that reward you the most.”

Achieving a satisfying integration of work and life won’t happen overnight. But if the result is feeling better about yourself, about the way you lead or contribute at your company and about your family life, the effort is well worth it.

Let us know if you have any other best practices on the topic. We would love to hear from you.

Tony Cimorelli
Baillie Lumber
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