As a manager, I have to balance a lot of things in a given day at work. But to me, the most important thing I need to balance in my life is a healthy home and work balance. So many people nowadays attach themselves to their work in all facets of their lives and hold no separation. Personally, I don’t think this is always healthy. At least not when your work is not your perfect calling and true purpose of living, which it should be, but unfortunately we are not all that fortunate or brave enough to make it so. That is an article for another day.
I wanted to write this since I was triggered by an article on Slacker Manager today by David Zinger asking about how you manage your life/work balance and switch between them. I’ll probably elaborate on some of the methods I’ve learned for this in future articles but this was my response and I think the other comments on Slacker Manager will be useful as well.
As for me, keeping work at work and home at home is the most important thing for me in my career/life. I find it easy but I’ve also avoided all the tie you down technology that keeps you connected where you really ought not to be. No cell phone, no carry with me laptop, no personal email at work, vise versa, etc. Its all separated.
Managers shouldn’t need to be on call, that is something to delegate. What kind of crisis is really needing a manager (someone to help make their team more effective) in the evening? That is another discussion though.
I find the way to keep work separated is to focus on relationships in work and home, and to keep them personal, face to face. Don’t hide behind a closed door, email, or blackberry. Talk to people as a manager and do your best work through those you talk to. That way, when you go home, its again all about the people. And ONLY those face to face people. Give 100% of your attention to those you interface with directly, at home or work. Ignore that phone call interruption, stop the email notifiers and turn off that damn cell phone at the office. Put 100% of your attention to your face to face audience, make it a habit and you can develop a sense of focus on helping people no matter where you are. The separation is invisible if that is simply how you do things, always with those in direct contact. Talk about what matters to them, and nothing else.
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