May 23, 2012 at 4:34 pm #162134
Grown Men Go Ape
Every year for the past 10 years I have participated in an annual event called Sports Day, in which a group of middle aged men get together for a day of sporting activities. The tradition typically involves: 9 holes of golf, at least one other event , followed by an outing to a baseball game.
This year the activities began as usual with 9 holes of golf. We then participated in an outdoor activity called Go Ape, a tree-top adventure containing an outdoor zip-line ropes activity course. We then ventured indoors to see the new movie ‘The Dictator’ and ended the day at the Nationals Ballpark. The only downside to the day was seeing the Nationals lose to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
People have different strategies for rejuvenating and, as an extrovert, being around people I enjoy and respect always does the trick. This annual event is a day I try to keep sacred because is a great opportunity to be with guys I really like, do something fun and be outdoors, all of which should be done as often possible. It does leave me wondering:
How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?
Just a Few Things I Love About Sports Day
- Being Outdoors: A breath of fresh air to revitalize and re-energize.
- Being with People I Enjoy: Enjoyment is multiplied when it is shared.
- Laughing: A joyous activity that prolongs life and makes each day more entertaining.
- Engaging in Intimate Conversation: Little compares to having friends with whom you are completely comfortable.
- Exercising: A healthy body aids a healthy mind.
- Creating Memories: It is the memories of great experiences that we get to look back on with fondness as we grow older.
- Investing in Myself: Creating a healthy work-life balance and embracing a day away from the office is a worthwhile investment.
- Doing Something Different: It just may be possible to teach old dogs new tricks.
May 23, 2012 at 5:26 pm #162170
Right now, I don’t know if I do! Certainly not because of GovLoop, just other things going on pertaining to my future. Exercise definitely keeps me sane, though. It’s always the best to be able to get outside and go on a run or something with good friends.
May 23, 2012 at 6:59 pm #162168
Personally, I have been easily able to maintain it by studiously avoiding the management track. I also eschew any and all manner of mobile communication devices, personal or work-provided. We generated timeless works of art, music, and literature, discovered the double helix, and sent people to the moon and back in the complete absence of such implements, so I’m not that concerned about missing anything really important by not having them. If I’m not by my desk, you’ll just have to wait, I’m afraid. That, and following my wife’s advice to “just let go of the caring” (insert exhale here). I’ll leave the cardiac issues to those I report to, thank you very much.
May 23, 2012 at 7:30 pm #162166
I like your list Ken, although your “Sports Day” sounds kind of sexist/macho. I am a big believer in working from the comfort of my home because all my goodies (i.e., technology, music, dog, wife, food, outdoors) are all right here. I also have to agree with Mark that I have given up on pursuing the management/executive track, which has relieved a lot of pressure. I am working on doing more travel and exploring new hobbies or interests. I can’t do any of these things without being healthy, which is often the cause of a lot of distress and disease.
Here is a great model from WorldatWork of Work-Life Effectiveness:
May 24, 2012 at 5:16 am #162164
For the first time in a long time, I don’t have work email on my iPhone or BlackBerry. I know this luxury won’t last for long, but I have to admit I don’t miss the ping and pangs of multiple devices all beckoning for me to read their updates or accept their calendar invites. Can you envision a backlash against smartphones? I actually can.
May 24, 2012 at 12:23 pm #162162
What is a life and how do I get one?
May 24, 2012 at 1:38 pm #162160
They’re on Amazon, and maybe Thinkgeek too, but shipping costs are an absolute beyotch. Whatever you do, STAY AWAY from the 2nd hand ones on craigslist! Trust me, you don’t want someone else’s life. 😀
May 25, 2012 at 3:19 pm #162158
The biggest problem I have is convincing some that my idea of work/life balance is NOT the same as everyone else’s
Having said that I try to invest some amount of time enjoying a great meal in a restaurant with people I enjoy being with on a rather regular basis
May 25, 2012 at 5:06 pm #162156
I too have avoided the management path and am much happier for it…I would like the money but not the politics/stress/towing the line that go with it. I love my job and feel my talents are better used in doing what I enjoy. I balance my work/life by having a “craft room” at home that I can get away from it all and do things with my hands (which is totally unlike my job). I knit, crochet, make jewelry, paper craft and sew. It’s so wonderfully creative and relaxing and something I don’t have to “think” about like my job. Not being an “outdoor” person and having problems with sun exposure (due to migraines and meds) I have found ways to make a wonderful relaxing niche for myself in my home.
May 25, 2012 at 11:35 pm #162154
As I telecommute I find the lines between work and “home” life often blur. I have taken to leisurely enjoying a cup of coffee prior to “arriving” at work. I also take an hour at lunch to work out – usually outdoors as I find the fresh air to be exactly what I need. Finally I set an alarm when work is supposed to be done. It is reminiscent of the school bell when I was little. I work furiously until the bell and then it’s play time. From hiking and swimming, to snuggling up on the couch with a good book and a glass of wine, after that bell rings I simply choose to leave the work at work – It will always be there tomorrow.
May 25, 2012 at 11:37 pm #162152
If there were “like” buttons, I would have clicked it. Your comment made me giggle.
May 26, 2012 at 5:46 pm #162150
I can highly recommend this book: http://www.amazon.ca/Beyond-Work-Family-Balance-Advancing-Performance/dp/0787957305 Written from a slightly feminist perspective (but not just for feminists), one of the main contentions of the book is that challenges to work-life balance withn organizations occur in the form of symbols. Specifically, the primary obstacles to a desirable balance (and the personal choice to immerse oneself in work that you feel merits you time can be part of a desirable balance…provided it doesn’t distract you from the rest of your life) occur in the form of how competence and commitment are signified within your organization, and how you may have internalized them.
As essentially social cooperative entities, organizations compel us to signify ourselves to others. We certainly signify our status within the organization via a great many visual symbols embedded into our self-presentation and how we manage it. How do we signify our competence and commitment to others? The authors make the point that all too often, commitment to the organization is signified via the sacrifice of our family and personal time. The tasks and initiatives we do so in service of may well not even demand that time sacrifice, but since this is symbolic connotative behaviour, we are behaving in terms of what we want others to perceive about us, not in terms of what the job/task/mission itself requires. Yu may well be told that it’s okay to take time for yourself and those close to you, but if the social-currency of the organizational culture is that there is not really many other viable ways to let others know you are committed, apart from putting in more hours, odd hours, midnight-oil burning, etc., then all the admonishment and permission in the world won’t really change your situation until the corporate culture dictates that commitment to the organization can be signified other ways.
May 29, 2012 at 12:45 pm #162148
I try not to take any work home, so when I’m home I’m focused on family and household issues… which keep me plenty busy! And I do lot’s of camping and hiking, getting out for a week-end at least once a month.
But I’m really wondering, no matter how much I let work go at the door, if anything can balance the current environment of being expected to do more and more with less and less. I’m taking on more projects, managing more contracts, another grants, and now three agreements. And still trying to do work of substance! And putting more on my staff as well! But we are discovering that there really is only so much we can do – and more and more, things are just not getting done, or getting done, but not well. But still we push, and take more on, and try to do more. How much can we really do? I’m not sure if I really know until things just don’t get done!
May 29, 2012 at 2:21 pm #162146
I totally agree. With the current economy and cut backs, we are expected to do more and more with less and less resources at work. So, it becomes difficult to keep the work environment from blurring into personal life. We spend a lot more hours at work, than we do at home during the waking hours of the day, so it is hard to balance. Especially, when once you are home, there are chores that have to be done there.
To relax, I enjoy watching a good show or movie. Also, my husband and I like to go out to dinner with good friends at least once a week.
May 29, 2012 at 4:12 pm #162144
This advice was shared on GovLoop’s LinkedIN group:
Haresh Patel • I try to manage balance by discipline myself during family time. I dedicate specific time period for family and myself and avoid work related request. However, I still get pull in to work sometime but I try to minimize it.
I have good respect for people who are able to keep work/life balance.
May 29, 2012 at 5:42 pm #162142
Hear! Hear! Setting boundaries & little deadlines helps enormously. I like the end of the task, end of the day bell/alarm idea.
Too many bosses believe the ‘overtime is authorized’ axiom, and lean on it like a crutch. Same ones are convinced their people are not getting their work done promptly if they are NOT working OT. Like you, some people work hard, then shut it down and go home (or are home!) without fretting. Must be an acquired skill 😉
May 29, 2012 at 6:05 pm #162140
Ditto for “studiously avoiding the management track.” But I like my mobile devices; I just don’t let any work stuff on there. No email, no calendar, no nothing. If work wants me on a mobile device, they can give me one.
May 29, 2012 at 7:45 pm #162138
Regarding your feeling that Ken’s list is sexist/macho, although he did say middle-aged men, all the listed activities sounded fabulous to me, a middle-aged woman. Remember he said “Engaging in intimate Conversation”; I would find it difficult to accomplish that particular item outside of a group of female friends.
May 29, 2012 at 9:26 pm #162136
I found a life by adopting an fursonal trainer in the guise of a Siberian Husky named Tater. He only look soft and wooly, inside he has the heart of a Jillian Michaels! He wakes me at 5 am daily to demand a vigorous walk or it’s the carpet! We get to see the foxes, and sometimes even the vixen! After work its play fetch in the house, and then another vigorous walk. If we are lucky we get to see the fox again along with possums, and bats. On weekends at the dog park, we play fetch for another two hours. I throw the ball, and he brings in half way back. I walk over, bend over and pick it up and throw it again. Tater knows I’m the real one that needs the exercise. If I don’t play vigorously enough its bark, bark, bark! My friends have taken compassion on me and throw the ball for him too. As a result of my fursonal training program I have fabulous biceps and delts. When I showed them to my doctor, he asked if I were going to beat him up. I told him that “I only use my powers for good.”
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