The term “work life balance” is being used more and more lately. Why? Because people recognize the importance of having a meaningful life separate from work. What are some tips for maintaining balance between your work and your life?
Be Open About Your Needs
Everyone has different needs and in order to maintain a positive work life balance some people need to leave work by 5 p.m. so they can have dinner with their families. For others, stepping out at 12 p.m. most days to attend a yoga class is what they need. Everyone has a different sweet spot of what they need, and once they find it, they need to be open and transparent about it. If leaving for a yoga class leaves someone feeling more alert and productive, that’s what they should do. By having an open dialogue between managers and employees, everyone can do what is best for themselves, ultimately leading to a better work environment.
Use the Off Button
Although we rarely use it, most pieces of technology do come with an off button. Turning off your phone, laptop and other technologies is often times the hardest part. Start in phases. First, keep your cell phone away from the dinner table. Next, take it on vacation with you but promise yourself to only check it once a day. Gradually the disconnect from work will feel more comfortable, and your work life balance will improve because of it.
Build Downtime into your Schedule
If you want to reach a good balance between your work life and personal life, you need to be proactive about your schedule. Make it a point to schedule time with family and friends, and activities that you know help you recharge. If you have a softball game on your calendar for the week or a date night, you will have something to look forward to during the week and it will provide extra incentive to manage your time well so you aren’t forced to cancel.
Drop Activities that Sap Your Energy
In order to achieve a balance between work and life, you need to take stock of the activities you participate in that don’t enhance your career or personal life, and then minimize the time you spend on them. You may even be able to leave work earlier if you make a conscious effort to limit the time you spend on the web and social media sites, making personal calls, or checking your bank balance. Every minute of your time is valuable and you need to be self-aware enough to know what is worth your time and what isn’t.
Stay tuned for part two of this series where we explore even more tips for achieving a positive work life balance.
Have you convinced yourself that you don’t have time to read in your busy life? You might want to reconsider that decision, as research has shown that reading provides many work related benefits, including but not limited to reducing stress, increasing brain power and increasing your empathy towards others.
Work is stressful. Instead of reaching for that glass of wine or tub of ice cream, next time, reach for a book. Recent research found that reading only six minutes per day can reduce your stress level by more than two-thirds. Reading is shown to reduce stress more effectively than taking a walk, drinking a cup of team or listening to music. You can zone out into whatever land you want based on the book you choose. Looking to awaken your inner child? Read a fantastical novel, or even a young adult fiction book. Even reading a biography or thought-provoking non-fiction book also provides stress relief.
Works your Brain
Reading expands your vocabulary, enhances your communication skills and improves your ability to focus. Studies have shown that just six minutes of reading increases your brain functionality. Your brain is a muscle and like any other muscle, the more you work it, the stronger it will become. Reading will not only help you to learn new things, it will improve your overall intelligence, too.
Makes you more Empathetic
In a paper published in the journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, the academics reveal that those who had recognized more literary fiction authors in a list provided to them were better at inferring others’ feelings, a faculty known as theory of mind. Theory of Mind is is the ability to attribute mental states—beliefs, desires, emotions, etc.—to oneself, and to others, and to understand that others have beliefs, desires, intentions, and perspectives that are different from one’s own. This helps you to be a more empathetic person overall, simply by reading a book!
Research suggests that the act of reading isn’t simply pleasurable—it also boosts brain power, lowers stress levels, increased earning potential, and makes you a kinder, more empathetic person. So next time you come home from a long day at the office, pick up a book. You’ll be helping yourself out in more ways than one!
Empathy is often thought of as less important than hard skills such as confidence and determination, but when you consider that effective management is essentially about accomplishing work through others, it’s shortsighted to dismiss this quality so quickly. Empathy is the ability to recognize and share other people’s feelings. Why is it so essential? Effective leaders are able to conduct thoughtful conversations, use their sharpened people skills to better lead and because of those things, they create an office climate of empathy.
The most productive conversations involve listening. The listener, in this case the manager or leader of a company, needs to be able to suspend judgment while truly listening to what their employee is saying. In today’s society more than ever, managers are so busy that they literally may not have the time in their calendar to sit down and have these crucial conversations with the very people they are leading. By foregoing these important conversations, leaders are missing the opportunity to really hear and understand their employees.
Sharpened People Skills
When it comes to creating a productive work environment, leaders must take a genuine interest in their employees. A leader must show curiosity by asking questions about their employees’ lives, their hopes and their struggles. When this occurs, a leader builds even more empathy—and sharpens their people skills. An empathetic leader is more honed in to their employees feelings, behaviors and ultimately, their lives.
Cultivates an atmosphere of Empathy
When the leader of a company is empathetic, he or she creates an environment of empathy in the office. Once employees feel safe talking to their boss and communicating in an authentic way, it will carry over into the rest of their professional life. For example, once an employee has several positive experiences discussing tough personal situations with their boss, they will be better prepared to approach coworkers who seem to be struggling.
At its core leadership is ultimately about others. Leadership involves inspiring others to take actions beyond what they are capable of and guiding them in a positive direction. Empathy is the foundation of those actions, and is a key trait of a true leader.
About Alexander Gladney
Alexander Gladney is Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer at Capital Health, a leader in progressive, quality healthcare services. Specializing in corporate, real estate, contract, and voting rights law, Alexander is licensed to practice law in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Alexander has a broad legal background with a unique combination of contractual, information technology, transactional, and litigation legal experience.
In September 2008, Alexander Gladney joined the Capital Health team in the office of General Counsel. In recognition of his outstanding work, he was quickly promoted to associate general counsel, during which time he drafted protocols, policies, and contracts. Alexander was tasked with handling complex real estate transaction and high-profile complex litigation cases. Furthermore, Alexander Gladney served as an advisor to management, human resources, and physicians on all legal issues, including public & private contracts, state and federal compliance, conflicts-of-interest, and financial disclosure concerns.
Several years later, Alexander Gladney assumed his current role as Chief Legal Officer and Vice President of Risk Management. Overseeing several departments, he plays an integral role in both the restructuring and realigning of strategic planning, operations, marketing, finance, and regulatory affairs.
Prior to his employment with Capital Health, Alexander Gladney served as a litigation and policy attorney for the New Jersey Department of Public Advocate in Trenton, New Jersey. During this time, he negotiated an MOU with the NJ Attorney General and Motor Vehicle Commission for NVRA compliance, litigated on eminent domain cases, removing the designation of “economic blight” in New Jersey, and drafted briefs and litigation materials for voting rights, homeland security, and healthcare cases.
A graduate of Georgetown University, Alexander Gladney holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics and Fine Arts. Following his undergraduate education, Alexander attended Temple University School of Law, earning his Juris Doctorate with a focus on Corporate Law.
Capital Health is committed to providing comprehensive, quality healthcare services which improve and sustain the health status of the residents primarily in Central New Jersey and Lower Bucks County. Capital Health assures accessible, compassionate healthcare services that honor the dignity of every person. Capital Health will be a leader in defining the community’s healthcare needs, in providing appropriate solutions, and developing a comprehensive continuum of care including education, prevention, disease management and restorative programs.