Tag Archives: life

Tragic death shows why work life balance is important

As a beer lover, my attention was immediately drawn to the recent headline in The Miami Herald:

Founding brewer for MIA Beer Company killed in car crash

I continued on to read the article:

A well-known brewer in Miami’s craft beer scene was killed in a car crash over the weekend.

Piero Rodriguez, one of MIA Beer Company’s founding brewers, was killed in an accident early Sunday, owner Eddie Leon confirmed. He was 34.

“We are completely devastated,” Leon said.

And then, there it was, the paragraph that stood out to me as a warning for anyone who thinks excessive work can't kill you:
 
Rodriguez had been working double shifts, Leon said, brewing in the morning and often tending bar at the brewery at night to make extra money. Friends feared it might have been exhaustion that forced him to lose control of his late-model Acura on Northwest 33rd Street at the tight curve in the 8900 block, just minutes down the street from the brewery. He struck a light pole, wasn’t wearing his seat belt and was ejected, according to police. He was pronounced dead at Kendall Regional Medical Center at 2 a.m. Sunday.

 

Clearly, the ironic part is that Piero was doing a job he loved – he was just doing it too much.

His friends and peers told The Miami Herald It was common to find him at the brewery doing the laborious, scrubbing tanks with punk rock blaring in the background while his son tagged along.

He was living the life he always wanted, his brother Ruy said, albeit cut far too short.

“People should be more positive,” Ruy said, “and pursue their dreams like he did.”

And there, right there, lies the fine line. While it is admirable to pursue your dream and do a job you love, everyone needs balance. Death by overwork is real and it can take your life in different ways. There are health reasons why work life balance is important and repercussions for thinking you can work a little longer or harder before taking time off. Over the years, I've written about people who have dropped dead of exhaustion right at their desks.

According to the Herald, the last thing Piero Rodriguez said as he left work late Saturday night was how much he was looking forward to spending Father’s Day with his young son.

He would never make it home.

That's a cautionary lesson for all of us. Sending my prayers to Piero's family….
 
 
 
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The Work/Life Balancing Act

Father’s Day: A working dad’s perspective on work life balance

For Father's Day, I wanted to hear a dad's perspective on work life balance. I know firsthand that work life balance is a struggle for working mothers. But what about for working fathers? Are their challenges the same?

A friend calls Mason Williams a "super dad."  So, I asked Williams to share his thoughts on being a father and finding work life balance.  IMG_0161

What exactly does being a super dad mean these days? Williams explains:

Although he is the Chief Investment Officer/Managing Director for Coral Gables Trust Company, the 38-year-old Williams takes his parenting job equally as seriously. He says his children are his life – two sons, a 6-year-old named Jake and a 3-year-old named Luke. Williams, has been married for nine years to his wife, Ana Lucia, who is a stay at home mom. Ana Lucia makes most of the household decisions, but Williams says he's equally involved in the decisions regarding their children, so much so that he recently listed his son getting into a magnet program at the elementary school as a personal accomplishment on a recent awards nomination. 

While Williams' job is set up to be 9 to 5, it extends well beyond those hours. Often, he works 10-hour days. "We're small and entrepreneurial so it comes with the territory," Williams explains. "You have to make an impact all the time for the business to grow. It can wear on you at times, trying to find balance between work and being there for your kids. I struggle but I think it's important to find ways to be with them."

Like most professionals, Williams can't help but check email on the weekends. It's the best time to trade ideas with his colleagues, he says. "With the iphone, email is at your at fingertips and it's hard to put it down."

As the sole provider for his family, Williams says he puts expectations on himself that fathers of prior generations may not have experienced. Professionally, there is pressure on him to "do what I need to do at the office." At the same time, he also feels pressure to help at home. "When I'm not at the office I feel like I have an obligation to help with the children so my wife can take a break."

Williams realizes his generation of fathers are raising children in an era when technology has made parenting easier and more challenging. On one hand, parenting advice is at their fingertips. On the other, work is always in your pocket.  "I think it's far more stressful," he says. "My parents did not have a Blackberry or iPhone. They could shut down. It's harder for us to concentrate on our home lives when we're home, so that's added stress."

Of course, that's not Williams' only stressor. He says like any parent, his challenge is learning to stop, take a breath and spend time with his family. "I have to tell myself that project at work, or that email can wait. Prioritizing is huge challenge and I have had to learn when to put family ahead of work. I know if I help out at home, I have a happy wife and I have learned happy wife equals happy life."

Williams says as a parent, he gets involved with the time management of his children and the activities they take on. "I'm teaching my son why he should do homework first, so he has free time afterward."  Both the Williams boys are involved in sports, something Williams encourages. "We want them to be active. Our oldest is doing swimming and golf. Our youngest is doing soccer and swimming." One day, Williams even envisions an athletic scholarship for college for his sons like the one their mother, an avid golfer, received years ago.

With all the challenges dads take on today, Williams admits their children's accomplishments become that much more of their own personal achievements. Williams proudly tells me his son Jake has just been accepted to the Sunset Elementary magnet program for Spanish. 

Yes, fathers today are pulling the double duty that mothers did for decades — and while it's a tough, they are reaping the rewards in the close relationships they are forming with their children.

Keep up the good work fathers, and enjoy your special day. Happy Father's Day to all the super dads out there!

 

 

The Work/Life Balancing Act

How to make your own work life balance rules

Lifework
A few nights ago, I reached on my nightstand for my iPad to shoot off an email before I went to sleep. By doing that, I completely broke my own rule about using mobile devices into my bedroom. I made the rule because I want my bedroom to be a sanctuary, a place I go to wind down, de-stress and restore my strength. When I think about work in my bedroom, I feel like I have nowhere to escape, no sense of work life balance.

Have you ever made a work life balance rule for yourself? Was it something like…. I'm not going to stay at the office past 6 p.m.! I'm not going to work on Saturdays! I'm not going to talk about work during dinner!

If you haven't, maybe it's time. What change big or small would make a difference in your life?

What do you feel you need more of in your life — time with your family, a good night sleep, weekend down time?

Now, make a rule that will improve that aspect of your life. Put it in positive terms such as….I am going to leave my office by 6 to enjoy more evening time with my kids.

Enforcing your rule is the crucial piece. So, how are you going to go about making work life balance changes that stick?

First, you need to have your rule visible. Put a reminder somewhere where you are going to see it at the time you most need it.  In my example, I should have a sticky note on the cover of my iPad that reminds me not to bring it into my bedroom. For you, that reminder may be an alarm on your phone that alerts you to leave the office at 6, or maybe a sticky note near the dinner table reminding you to discuss uplifting, non-work topics during your meal.

Next, enlist help. Encourage a co-worker or your spouse to remind you of your new rule. I told my husband to remind me of my no tech use in the bedroom rule in case I slip up.

Use technology to your advantage. There are ways to turn off your alerts outside of work hours or auto-responders that say "I may not respond to this email prior to Monday."

Lastly, don't give up. Things happen that could cause you to break your rule every now and then. If you break your rule, like I did, tell yourself it's a temporary setback and you are going to do better. You want to aim for big-picture, long-term improvement to your work life balance.

Having some set rules for balancing your life can help you prioritize and prepare for curveballs that come your way. Try your best to limit the exceptions and follow the work-life balance rules you have set for yourself. Once you find this happy balance of work and personal time you will be more fulfilled in your career and a much more happier friend and family member.

 

The Work/Life Balancing Act

How to Spring Clean Your Life

Spring clean your life

Exciting news! I was interviewed by Nicole Blades on BlogHer for a piece on How to Spring Clean Your Life (For Real)

Below is the piece that ran as a Blog Her Original Post:

Even if the weather in your region isn't acting like it, this is legit spring! One of the things that goes along with the season is cleaning, like, major, deep-rooted cleaning. But that clean-up plan extends beyond the kitchen cabinets and your underwear drawer.

That's why Cindy Goodman is here to help you spring clean your life.

Cindy’s nationally syndicated column, "Work Life Balancing Act" helps her readers with the daily work life balance struggle to find career and personal fulfillment — from tips on productivity to flexibility in the workplace. The column appears weekly in the Miami Herald, Star-Telegram, The Charlotte Observer and dozens of McClatchy newspapers. She is also a member of Hilton Garden Inn’s Bright Minds team, a group of influential women who offer time-saving tips and inspiration to empower the on-the-go business woman.

As a mother of three and also a veteran journalist, Cindy brings her personal experience to the work/life balancing act. She's here to help, folks. Take notes!

BlogHer: When we talk about "spring cleaning" our lives, it may seem a little daunting. Where do we start? What’s the best way to approach de-cluttering one's life? Is it about breaking things down into categories? Do we approach it similar to how we clean our closets: Keep, Donate, Discard?

Cindy Goodman: When it's time for spring cleaning a good place to start is your calendar. What is on your calendar that zaps your time and energy and creates stress? Is it too many networking events, too many kids’ activities, too many late nights at the office? What can you do to make your calendar look different? What can you delegate or where can you scale back to create more time for travel, or a new hobby, or hanging out with friends, those things that will put a smile on your face? De-cluttering your calendar and your to-do list will make a big difference in your stress level.

BlogHer: How might we go about "spring cleaning" our relationships? Is that even a thing? Can we detox our friendships/relationships?

CG: Look at the people in your life who are innovative, creative, inspiring, talented, supportive, and spend more time with them. When you give them more of your time, you will have less time for people who dwell on the negative. This might be one of the most important things we do to better balance our lives.

BlogHer: If we only have time and mind energy to tackle one thing in a Life De-Clutter Project, what should it be?

CG: Declutter the one thing you encounter every day that makes you feel disorganized. For example, every day I would park in my driveway and walk through my cluttered garage. It puts me in a bad mood walking into my home. Last spring, I decided to focus on straightening it out and tossing what I hadn’t used in a long time. By decluttering that one place, it changed my entire outlook every single day.

Most of us have one messy place we encounter daily and it makes us feel guilty and disorganized — it may be our underwear drawer, the backseat of our car, our desk drawer, our utensils drawer. Find your "one place" and tackle it. It will change your outlook!

BlogHer: Specifically talking to mothers, who are already juggling far too many things, what are some practical, actionable tips they can use to de-clutter their busy lives and move closer toward guilt-free work-life balance?

CG: There are three tips I try to follow:

1) Find your workplace soulmate, a superwoman you can count on to help you prioritize or rescue you in a pinch. One thing that I found interesting was on a recent survey Hilton Garden Inn put out that revealed 85 percent of employed women would be more likely to ask a fellow woman for help to get something done quickly at work. We need to continue to support each other!

2) Toss the gadgets that you never use and consider those that would be helpful. I have an electric rice cooker I will NEVER use. For a busy mom like me, it just doesn’t make my life any easier. We all have those kinds of things in our homes. But there are simple, inexpensive gadgets that would make our lives easier (most of them are invented by other moms). The Hilton Garden Inn survey I referenced earlier said that self-cleaning carpets (34 percent), self-folding laundry (34 percent ) and 3-D printers for meals (18 percent) are the top three gadgets busy women wish they would have. Someone should get on that!

3) Lastly, refuse to feel guilty. Clear out those things in your home that make you feel bad about what you haven’t gotten around to doing. I just tossed an unused photo album. I will never take the time to print photos and fill the album. If I really want to make an album I can create a digital one online. If you will never make muffins, toss the muffin pan. It’s okay. I give you permission to do it.

BlogHer: Once we’re done with the "life spring clean,” how can we keep it all organized and maintain the progress? How do we avoid slipping back into the life clutter all over again?

CG: Focus on that "one place" you want to keep organized and how great it feels to see it decluttered. That should be motivation to avoid slipping back into disorganization!

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Nicole Blades is a novelist and freelance journalist who writes about family, identity and culture. 

The Work/Life Balancing Act

Yes, you can volunteer and have work life balance

 

Like most working parents, I run around most of the time like a chicken with my head cut off. I want to do so much but I always feel like I could do more, especially for my community. Well, it's National Volunteer Month so it's a great time to take inventory of your life and see how you might be able to give back. 

When I think of role models who give back, Tere Blanca immediately comes to mind. Tere is one of the few women in commercial real estate who has a proven track record and is well respected by men and women in her field. She is founder, president, and CEO of Blanca Commercial Real Estate, the leading independent full-service commercial real estate brokerage in South Florida. She's a working mother AND she has held prestigious positions as past chair of The Beacon Council and member of the Board of Governors of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce among all kinds of other positions in the community. Tere's company encourages volunteerism among its employees by underwriting the costs of charitable work, donating money to organizations her employees are involved with, and providing paid time off to volunteer.

Today, Tere is my guest blogger and I'm thrilled to have her weigh in on how she balances work, life, and volunteering. She can be reached at tere.blanca@blancacre.com

 

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Tere's Motto: Volunteerism Drives Business Success

At my company, our passion for social causes has proved one of our most important business differentiators and drivers, helping establish our business in the midst of the 2009 economic downturn and propelling our sustained growth.

The game-changing volunteering I’m referring to goes beyond writing checks, sitting on boards, and occasionally attending galas and events. It involves identifying causes near to our hearts that we are personally passionate about, rolling up our sleeves, and generously donating our time and talents to meaningfully advance the organizations' missions.

I founded the firm on a non-negotiable pillar of giving back, encouraging volunteerism among all brokers and employees by underwriting charitable work, donating financial resources to the organizations we support, and providing paid time off to volunteer. This linked us with our community, giving us a close feel for its pulse, and enabling us to forge strong partnerships and networks while engaging on deep, human levels.

I did this simply because I wanted to give; I later realized it would drive incredible success, with some major national clients selecting us in part for our deep local community ties, having witnessed first-hand our abilities while involved in volunteer work or leading the charge to positively impact our community.

Another essential driver of business success is the ability to attract and retain talent, which also is enhanced through corporate social responsibility. Research shows most employees consider “contributing to society” indispensable for an ideal job. Millennials who participate in workplace volunteer activities are more satisfied and loyal.

Despite running a demanding business and raising a family, I have been able to find ample time to pour my heart into causes that deeply resonate with me. Often, I am asked, “How do you do it?”

Here is some of my best advice:

First, take a deep look within yourself and identify causes that you are truly passionate about. Identify the best organizations and opportunities that allow you to engage at a meaningful level in supporting those causes. Before committing, get to know the organizations and their boards well upfront to confirm there is a fit. As part of that process, develop an accurate understanding of the time commitment and expectations involved.

Next, understand how much time you can reasonably contribute every month and week. For first-timers, it is best to start small and build on your success. It is better to make meaningful contributions to one or two organizations than to join six boards and do a minimal amount of non-impactful work for each. This also avoids over-committing and letting folks down when you realize you cannot attend all the board meetings or have to withdraw from the organization.

Then, when you have decided what organizations you want to join, develop a written plan for your involvement. If you have marketing or public relations support at your company, it is helpful to engage their expertise in this process. Obtain a list of board meetings and key activities upfront and bake them into your calendar.

Most importantly,  make sure your team at work and your family at home are well aware of these commitments and ready to support you when needed. Proper planning also can help you identify non-essential activities that may be delegated or cut from your schedule. Something as simple as ordering in dinner rather than preparing a meal can free up your evening. Also, do not be shy to ask for support from your family and co-workers; after all, community is a fabric woven of individual lives and efforts. When we all do our part, no matter how seemingly small or trivial, the whole is strengthened and bettered.

I find it inexcusable that South Florida ranks last among 51 major metros for its volunteer rate. It also is bad business. For example, when we support City Year Miami’s mission to help keep students in school and on track to graduate, ready for college and careers, we’re building a better tomorrow for everyone: one with a broader talent pool, lower crime rates that result in lower insurance costs, and a society that is better equipped to attract business investment, fuel economic growth and enjoy a higher quality of life.

To paraphrase Horace Mann, “Doing nothing for our community is the undoing of business.”

Photos below are Tere in action!

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The Work/Life Balancing Act

Mompreneur? How to launch a product and pull off work life balance

Today my guest blogger is a Latina mother, Priska Diaz, who came to America at 17 from Peru, not knowing a word of English. She worked three jobs to put herself through college, and then earned a  master’s degree in packaging design from Pratt. 

When she had her first child, Priska attempted to breastfeed and after a week was told to supplement with bottle feeding. From there, an idea grew!  Priska walked the floors and streets (and eyed the ceiling) while her newborn son screamed with gas after bottle-feeding. Her infant so became colicky, she spent years redesigning the baby bottle, using the principle of a syringe so there is not a drop of air inside, and a patented nipple to avoid breast confusion. The result? A million sold, and they are just hitting Babies R Us this month.

I asked Priska to tell us what it's like to secure funding, launch a product, raise children, and keep your sanity. Here is her story:

 

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After waiting together for the bus at the corner with my son Carlton, now 8, and Adriana, 7, and reviewing in my head the schedule for getting two kids to and from school/doctors appointments/playdates, I run to Home Depot to prepare for the afternoon.

My chaotic life: Grabbing liquid nails, screws, six-inch planks of MDF, I run home to use my tiny electric handheld saw to turn the lot into a radiator shelf, painted white to match the kitchen. I also make a pit stop at the Stop N Shop to buy frozen pizza dough and corn starch.

Today’s after school activities: making pizza dough, and homemade Play Doh using corn starch, and of course, making a big mess on the kitchen table. I assign the kids tasks while I run to my laptop to communicate with the Babies R Us buyer, do my invoicing and process orders. I love arts and crafts. I came to New York from Peru when I was 17 and spoke no English, worked three jobs to put myself through college and got a masters in packaging design from Pratt, spending six years on assorted “craft” projects.

The idea: At 32, when I had my son Carlton, I got out the Krazy Glue, rubber bands, and plastic bits and created my first Bare Baby Bottle prototype, giving birth to Bittylab shortly after. Unmedicated childbirth was easier than balancing work and children.  But my business life would not work without the chaos nearby, without being able to wear my workout clothes all day and nap on the sofa between craft projects and dinner.

Carlton’s colic inspired the business. The pediatrician told me he was dehydrated and undernourished and I’d have to supplement breastfeeding with a bottle. Then he cried, and cried as colic became a daily (and nightly) norm. I thought about how syringes don’t let in any air, and used that as my guiding principle to create the Bare Bottle, which lets a baby draw in milk in the only completely airless suction process on the market. Then I redesigned the nipple so that a baby has to latch on like he does on the breast. Because having suffered through his nipple confusion, and preference for a bottle, I wanted to find a solution.

The first step: I showed up at the biggest retailer in the baby category and met with the senior buyer who, after seeing how Bare worked, raved about the bottle’s uniqueness and innovation. She encouraged us (my husband and I) to get it into production. ASAP. It took three and a half years to develop a working prototype. Molders in the US turned us down. In 2010, when Carlton was three and my daughter Adriana was two, Bittylab became my full-time job. I filed patents and did the ABC trade show. The prototype attracted a lot of attention. Between 2011 and 2016, we had 15 meetings with Babies “R” Us who understood the bottle and loved it.

Funding: A small business loan from Community Capital allowed us to place the order so Bare bottles made it to 185 Babies “R” Us stores in February 2016, meeting the deadline. 

 

Fastforward: Now I ship to 200 Babies R Us stores (hence the weekly conversations with the buyer), but am still on the corner at 3 p.m. waiting for that school bus. Launching a product took seven years of perseverance and belief in myself when a lot of male product engineers scoffed.

Learn as you go: We wanted to keep the warehouse in NY, and tried DIY distribution. When the first 20-foot container showed up in our Elmsford office we realized we didn’t have the necessary tools and equipment for a fast unload and I ended up climbing into the truck tossing boxes to my husband, which he put away one at a time inside “The Lab,” as I call our office. It was overwhelming and literally backbreaking. That’s when we found a California warehouse equipped to palletize and shrink-wrap and ship the boxes wholesale.

Work life balance:  I schedule all my business appointments from 9 to 3 as much as possible. We’ve just sold $ 1 million in retail sales. The goal is one million units.  As Bittylab grows, I plan to hire talent that can take the business to the next level, at the same time it will give me more time to spend with my kids and family.  

 

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The Work/Life Balancing Act

Shh….This is the secret to work life balance!

                                           Walking

 

 

Stressed? Overwhelmed? Feeling like you want to improve your work life balance?

I'm going to share a secret that will help. The key to balancing work and life is…..take a walk!

Walking can fuel creative thought. It can provide bonding time with your spouse, child or friend. It can introduce exercise into your life at no cost. It can help you wind down for a better night's sleep. It can be a much needed relief from stress.

Today is National Walking Day, and many cities are participating. The American Heart Association introduced the annual event about 10 years ago because it felt people spend too much time sitting in front of screens at work and home.

Walking briskly for 30 minutes a day can offset inactivity and reduce the risk of heart disease. And, here is some really good news: The New York Times points out that research show walkers are most likely burning more calories than they think. 

It doesn't matter if you're walking outside or on a treadmill, a study by the American Psychological Association found walking improves the generation of novel ideas. The brain boost from walking even extends to when people sit down to do their creative work shortly after they finish walking. So, during the workday, if you hit a creative block or simple can't figure out how to resolve a problem you're facing, take a walk out to your car and around the building. The answer just may come to you.

Even the most time-pressed among us can squeeze a short walk into his or her day. Walk around the block before you head to work or get out and walk through your lunch break. At your next business meeting,instead of sitting in a stuffy meeting room, suggest walking around the office instead. Chances are it will probably be a more productive meeting. 

A few nights a week, my husband and I take a walk around the neighborhood with our dog. We leave our phones at home. It's become our alone time to plan our weekends, discuss our daily challenges and share our life goals. I really think it's been a big boost to our marriage. 

Lots of my friends love their fitbits or other activity trackers. But I am resisting getting caught up in counting my steps or making walking a chore. To me, it's all about decompressing or bonding. 

So, I'm suggesting you walk your way to a better work life balance. It's possible and today is a great day to start!

The Work/Life Balancing Act

How I overcame fear and improved my work life balance

As a young girl, every time the mention of skiing came up, my mother told me about how my father and my aunt both had broken a leg while learning the sport. So, while I found the idea of learning how to ski intriguing, I was too fearful to try it. I had convinced myself I had no interest in skiing.

This spring break, friends invited my family to join them on a ski vacation. Learning to ski is something that has always been on my husband's bucket list. So, I convinced my husband it was time for us to "go for  it." Off we went on a ski vacation with our youngest son.

Now, I won't go so far as to claim I mastered the sport. But I tried it, and I didn't break any bones. As small children whizzed effortlessly past me, I stayed calm and focused. I even discovered I liked skiing. To me that's a victory!

Typically, I am the reluctant one who wants to do something safe on vacation, or stay close to home. When my husband proposes adventures, I hesitate, even though I know in the back of my mind that breaking out of my comfort zone will be a good reprieve from life's daily stressors. Now, I am more willing to try something new.

Conquering fear is crucial for work life balance. Fear — particularly fear that we won't be able to maintain a work life balance – often holds us back from taking promotions, accepting new jobs, having children and taking vacations. 

This morning, I happened upon a blog post about overcoming fear by Neil Pasricha, the director of the Institute for Global Happiness and author of The Book of Awesome and The Happiness Equation.

I particularly liked this tip he provided: Before you do anything, you have to feel like you can do it first—and then you have to actually want to do it second. You place action in front of capability and motivation. You put do it before can do it and want to do itTurns out, it’s easier to act yourself into a new way of thinking than it is to think yourself into a new way of acting.

Pasricha suggests we apply the "action leads to motivation" approach to a personal or career goal such as running a marathon, giving a big presentation or writing a novel.

I have a entirely differently outlook since I returned from skiing. I won't let the fear of what can go wrong give me stress or stop me from tackling activities on my bucket list. I know I won't be winning any Olympic medals for my skiing prowess, but gliding down a mountain slowly has its reward, too.

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The Work/Life Balancing Act

5 Ways to Overcome Work Life Balance Obstacles

Some professions are more demanding than others. Law is one of those demanding professions. It can be particularly challenging for young attorneys who want to prove themselves, but also want a life outside the practice of law.

In a new Florida Bar survey of young women lawyers, one female attorney complained her partners had no understanding of work life balance or her need to pick up a sick child from school. "Too many male partners  have stay at home wives who don't understand that I have to do the same things their wives do while also working."

Another female attorney suggested firms entirely reinvent their culture to respect singles who want a personal life. Both are valid reasons why work life balance concerns need addressing.

Today, my guest bloggers are  Leslie R. Pollack and Christina M. Himmel, associates at Kluger Kaplan in Miami. The two women have some great suggestions for lawyers or anyone struggling to overcome work life balance challenges:

 

 

Leslie Pollack

(Leslie Pollack)          

This is 2016. It is a year where we could witness Hillary Clinton become the first female President of the United States. It is a time where women have ostensibly shattered whatever glass ceiling may have existed in the past. Yet, despite the perceived progress for women, there are still obstacles to overcome, including work-life balance.

For young women lawyers, navigating through the ever-changing legal world can be challenging for a multitude of reasons. Inequality in pay, respect, and advancement are among the issues confronting young women lawyers. According to a recent survey conducted by the Young Lawyers Division of the Florida Bar, 43% of young women attorneys have experienced gender bias.

One of the survey participants said that she left a job because she “was told by the managing partner that [she] did not have to worry about making money and moving ahead because [she] would get married one day and will not have to worry about living expenses."

 

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(Christina Himmel)

 

More than a quarter of the female lawyers surveyed reported that they resigned from a position due to lack of advancement, employer insensitivity, and lack of work-life balance.

Perhaps one of the biggest obstacles for a young woman lawyer—and young lawyers generally—is the expectation of being accessible and “on call” 24/7. When the partners were our age and they left for the day, they left. Because of the ease of technology, we're never really away from office as long as we have our phones. 

While 24/7 access may seem overwhelming, here are a few tips to keep everything in perspective and help maintain that sought after work-life balance:

1.     Establish boundaries. For example, when you get home from work you may decide not to check your emails for the first hour so you can spend uninterrupted quality time with your family. On the weekends, you might look at your phone and address an issue with a quick email saying you will handle the matter first thing Monday. That way, you are appeasing your employer but still maintaining a level of balance

2.     Stick to your plan. Don’t get discouraged if you have a week where work completely infringes on your personal life.  Work-life balance is a process and work demands often are cyclical. Ride the cycle and keep your eye on the big picture rather than becoming frustrated by the work life balance challenge going on in the moment.

3.     Take time for yourself. Whether you like exercising or traveling, be sure you make time to pursue your interests outside the practice of law. It's always easy when work for a partner who is understanding and takes family life seriously. Make an effort to convey that personal time is important to you and that if if one suffers, the other will too. 

4.     Create your own definition of success. Success looks different to everyone so it is important to establish your own personal career goals and pursue them. For one person, success might be billing 2,500 hours and taking the quickest track to partner. For another person, success might mean doing well at their job and being someone who the client comes to for advice, but not necessarily being the first one in and last one out.

5. Have a work life conversation. Don't be afraid to discuss flexible work options with a law partner or manager. One of the great advantages of technology is the ability to leave the office at a reasonable time, go meet friends or family for dinner, and then finish a pending assignment later in the evening from the comfort of your own home.

While modern technology has certainly changed the way we work, it has also opened the door to benefits like flexible schedules and the ability to work from any location. For young  lawyers, navigating through the ever-changing legal world can be challenging, but also quite doable.

The Work/Life Balancing Act

My Birthday Work Life Balance Lesson

 

 

                                                Cake2

 

Today is my 51st birthday and I'm officially in the "Over 50" age bracket. That could be a little depressing but instead of looking at what's behind me, I'm looking at what's ahead. 

Fortunately, I read something this morning that inspired me in my quest for work life balance in a stage of life that depends less on taking care of my children (two who are now in college) and more about finding the right fulfillment from work and life. 

Life coach Martina E. Faulkner says two little words can make a big difference in how we live our lives. Do you want to know those two words?

Get ready because they are simple and complicated at the same time….

“What if..?”

For example, you can ask yourself, "What if I could…" or What if I did…"

Instead of feeling frantic, overwhelmed or unfulfilled …What if we ask ourselves "What if?"

What if I wrote the book? What if I published it? or What if I took on a new position at work? What if I asked my boss for flexibility?

Martina says “What if..?” is a simple little phrase that belies its greatness. It is an incredibly powerful tool that can be used to manifest the greatest joys or undermine even the most assured confidence. It all depends on how you use it. 

What if I let go of the sad feeling I have that I don't have toddlers to tuck in bed at night and embrace the fact that I can talk to my kids about my work challenges or hear their thoughts about who should be President?

What if I allow myself to feel less stressed about the constant stream of information coming at me from every direction and make more effort to work productively and pursue new outside interests?

There are so many ways to strike a better balance if we ask ourselves "What if.."

I look forward to all the possibilities that those two words bring. Happy Birthday to Me!

The Work/Life Balancing Act