Brief summary of show:
This week, we’re exploring the age-old question: how can we improve work life balance?
Between busy households, jobs, busy schedules for the kids, there often isn’t enough time left for us at the end of the day.
The last time I polled my audience, it was abundantly clear that the area parents are needing more help with is finding that balance between work and personal life.
With that said, we’re diving deep into my best tips for you to develop better boundaries, and ultimately better relationships with your family, boss and coworkers.
Listen in as we talk about:
[00:02:01] Statistics around employee burnout and satisfaction
[00:03:39] What the work/life balance looks like in a perfect world and why it isn’t necessarily attainable
[00:04:46] The health effects of a demanding job
[00:06:59] How to effectively communicate your needs to your boss
[00:11:21] Tips to find realistic balance in your life
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View Transcript for this Episode
[00:00:00] Natalie: Hi, everyone. I hope you're doing well personally and professionally. And that being said, I often find myself overwhelmed. Sometimes it's the needs of my family. And often it's a big work project. I know, you know what it feels like because for me, It's like the weight of the world is on my shoulders.
[00:00:20] And of course I know it's not really the weight of the world on my shoulders, but in the moment, that's exactly what it feels like. And it's overwhelming. It's a lot of pressure. I have a lot of people who ask me to talk more about this, the topic of work, life balance. And a lot of you tell me, you struggle with this too.
[00:00:40] When I last pulled my audience, this was one of the topics that you asked for help with. So we're going to dive right in and we're going to talk about. In depth, because this certainly was the case for a lot of people before the pandemic. I think in many ways, working from home, well, it changed all of that in a really good way to [00:01:00] begin with.
[00:01:00] And then, well, maybe the expectations changed and our focus changed and the lines were blurred a little bit as here I am working at home. And many of you were working at home while trying to do everything else at the same time, trying to do it all. Under your roof? Well, working from home, it did make things easier to begin with.
[00:01:22] Things were more flexible for me. I was broadcasting the morning news early, very early in the morning from my basement. I could hug my kids when they woke up during commercial breaks, I could go make breakfast during a weather segment. I was able to just run it up and down the stairs to do what I needed to do.
[00:01:39] I didn't have to drive all the way downtown. So save me. Gas money is saved me at least an hour on the road every day. So there's five hours in that week that I got back to put into my family. But now what many of us are finding after we've worked from home is that we were forced back into the. And then for some [00:02:00] people back home again.
[00:02:01] So I'm going to give you some statistics that might actually be surprising around half of the American workforce feels that it needs help with stress, man. Half 50% of you say you need help managing your stress. 25% of the American workforce reports that they are reaching burnout. A quarter of us reaching burnout.
[00:02:25] That's what happened to me. So that's in America. We seem here in the U S to be obsessed with work, or maybe we look at this differently. Maybe we're forced to be obsessed or maybe we're pressure. Into working so hard that we have to prove something or risk not getting that promotion, or maybe not getting that job that we wanted.
[00:02:49] I think that was the case for me for many years. So any idea where people in the world are less stressed, maybe finding more balance? Maybe we can learn from them. [00:03:00] Well, places like the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, and France, they're reported levels of. Are much lower than ours in America, and they seem to have more balance.
[00:03:13] So what causes all of this? Well, according to Forbes, 56% of employee burnout is caused by a negative work culture. We are bringing that home with us. All of that work home with us, 70% of American employees report reading their emails while watching television at home. For some reason, we just can't seem to disconnect from work.
[00:03:39] And again, maybe that's because we're for. To connect all the time. Does your boss expect that you're reading that email before you get in the next day? Or can you put it on hold until you get back into the office? Is there a perfect balance? If you split your day up? The perfect work-life balance would include eight hours of work, [00:04:00] eight hours of sleep.
[00:04:01] And then eight hours of time to relax. Well, I don't know about you, but I don't spend eight hours a day. Relaxing sounds nice. But I don't. I also have found that I like working at least now in my current situation. I really love my work. And that perhaps is one of the keys to balance work. You enjoy and work that you're okay doing throughout the day and you don't dread it.
[00:04:26] I will add if you think that you're not leaving time for yourself and that that's okay, you will reach burnout no matter how much you love your work, you simply have to make that time to get outside and to do this. Outside of work. So let's add the complexity of family. Then we're going to find some solutions and don't worry.
[00:04:46] I'm not just going to leave you with the whole list of problems. First. Let's talk about. The health effects of a demanding job, though, when you're always working, it's hard to take care of yourself, both mentally and physically, you might feel [00:05:00] like you're constantly running on empty, going to grab that cup of coffee or maybe eating to get more energy.
[00:05:06] I did that when I worked the really early morning hours, I had to eat sugar or just eat something, even protein, just to find the energy and you know, all of that. Takes a toll on your body. According to the American psychological association, work-life conflict can lead to physical health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and it most certainly can lead to mental health problems like depression and anxiety.
[00:05:35] We have seen so much of that in. Decade. And especially in the last two years during the pandemic, of course, moms, you tend to put everyone else first, right. Rather than taking the time to care for your needs, be sure you're paying attention to things like your diet on a regular basis, getting some form of exercise and also taking supplements.
[00:05:57] We all need that little bit of extra [00:06:00] in the form of even a multivitamin and don't just buy the gum. You know, the ones, your kids like don't think that taking a couple of those is giving you what you need. another thing that I want to recommend for you is to take breaks, schedule your breaks, put a reminder on your phone to take breaks throughout the day.
[00:06:19] Lunchtime can actually help improve your productivity and morale at work. If you take that as a break and you don't work through it, remember. What you're doing is trying to find a healthy balance. And for that, you have to get out of your normal environment. You have to walk outside, you have to get fresh air and see nature.
[00:06:37] So getting away from your regular job, getting away from your desk, see it as an opportunity to call a friend, maybe call your mom. My mom would love that whatever you need to do and whatever you can truly do to get away from the normal. Every day, sitting at your desk, looking at a computer or talking on your phone.
[00:06:59] Okay. [00:07:00] So next I want you to communicate with your employer, let them know what you're struggling with. See if they have some solutions for you. Often, the boss is happy to help their employees as long as they understand the situation. And if you have a. That you absolutely feel like you can't talk to about your work-life balance issues?
[00:07:21] Well, there you go. That's a big red flag. Having open communication is essential to balance and ultimately to happiness. I want to add a story here. When I was in the news business, which was a majority of my working career. I had a rotating door of bosses. Some had a greater understanding of my family needs, but more often than not, I found myself hiding what I did at home.
[00:07:48] From my employer, that's not healthy. I didn't always want them to know when I had family events going on because I was afraid that they would think that I wasn't working hard enough. [00:08:00] Talk about job burnout. Anybody relate to that? Trying to hide your home life from your job. Now, newsrooms, I will add are not very family friendly work environments.
[00:08:10] There was actually a newsroom rule in my newsroom that you had to work either Thanksgiving or Christmas, choose, and then work it out with. your fellow employees, if one works Thanksgiving, the other one had to work Christmas and I had little kids, you know, Christmas morning was everything to us. So needless to say, leaving that environment was one of the best decisions I ever made and I see more and more people doing it than ever before, as they want more flexibility and family balance.
[00:08:39] Yeah. Ask yourself. This question, does my employer really care about me as an individual or do they care more about the bottom line of the company? And here's what I want to emphasize with that. They need to do both. They need to care about both obviously to have a successful business, but [00:09:00] they need to be able to balance that and care for you as an individual and an employee of that business.
[00:09:07] Okay. So you decided that you need to talk with your boss, right? How do you go about it in an effective way? Well, the best way that I have found, and I want to encourage you to communicate with your employer or your boss is first by email. It's a written form of communication and it gives both sides time to think about their response to just take it in a little bit.
[00:09:29] Plus if there are records of the conversation. In an email form that can be helpful for future reference. So when sending that email, I want you to be concise and be to the point don't ask for forgiveness. Like, I'm sorry. I have to ask you this. Just be concise to the point. You don't want to waste your boss's time by writing this long-winded message that could have been said quickly in person, but instead start off just by.
[00:09:56] Saying that you want to give a brief overview [00:10:00] of what you'd like to discuss and then just outline it, then get straight to the point. Explain just what you're struggling with. Is it coming in really early in the morning, or maybe having to stay later than your agreed upon time? Is it your overall number of hours that are not in your agreed upon time for your job, but also have some solutions.
[00:10:22] Be ready with a suggestion on how you can find that balance and how you'd like to propose that because more often than not what your boss wants is a solution. They want to know that you've thought through this and that you have a solution and they don't have to come up with that solution. Also make sure to follow up after sending that email, especially if they don't respond right away, we all get busy.
[00:10:43] And sometimes those emails get lower down in the box, but show in a kind way, a gentle nudge. You might say that you sent the email and you are just wondering if they had time to read it. It shows that you're really serious about this and that you're not afraid to communicate [00:11:00] with them about the issue.
[00:11:01] Then if all goes well, hopefully they're going to be willing to work with you on finding that solution. And if an email just doesn't feel right to you, well, schedule a time to talk to your boss in person, then set up a meeting, bring your list of questions. This is going to help keep the conversation organized and make sure that you don't forget to ask something really important.
[00:11:21] That's been on your mind. Okay. So let's get to the good stuff. Now let's get to tips for balance. First of all, we know that parenting. Is a full-time job in and of itself. So make sure you set aside some time, each day for your kids and your family. It can be anything from reading that bedtime story, taking a 10 minute walk around the block, take the dog out in play, whatever that is.
[00:11:46] Come up with a regular thing that you can count on and that your kids, your husband, that the whole family can count on. And maybe it's individualized. Maybe you do one thing with your husband and maybe you just take one kid out on a walk. [00:12:00] One-on-one I also want to talk about asking for help. Why is it that we have so much trouble asking for help as women?
[00:12:07] I found more often now, when you just ask somebody for something kind of. They're willing to help. So learning to ask, and also being willing to reciprocate when someone asks you for help, I promise it will benefit you. And you'll be glad that you asked. And by the way, I talk a lot about modeling behavior for our kids.
[00:12:28] They need to see that. As parents, busy parents are willing to ask for help because everything you do is being watched by them. And we want to model that to them so that when they have trouble in their own lives, they're not afraid to go to that teacher or that coach. And just ask for help, ask for suggestions.
[00:12:47] And think about this as your kids go about their own school, life balance, this is going to help them feel more comfortable calling that teacher, writing that email when they've seen you do the [00:13:00] same with your superiors. So don't be afraid to do that. And I challenge you to do that right away when you're struggling, just stop and say, where do I need help?
[00:13:09] Who could I ask? And then nicely just ask for a little bit. Finding balance really is all about small decisions that add up over time parenting and working will, of course, they're both essential parts of our lives, but it doesn't mean that they have to consume us completely and exhaust us by taking just a step back and evaluating what's most important.
[00:13:34] You can start making changes that are going to help you lead a more balanced life. I want to talk about stating your priorities. I'm guessing for most of you like me, family use your priority. That's first, no matter what, right. Well, for some reason, this is something that we have a hard time saying out loud.
[00:13:54] Almost like our employer would be disappointed if they heard us say. Well, I want you to say it [00:14:00] out loud. I want you to say it with conviction, and I want you to remind your employer that your family is your priority, but that doesn't mean that you can go in late every day to work because you had to take your kids to school.
[00:14:12] of course not. But when your child has a special performance, well, your boss should understand. And maybe let you leave early that day or come in a little bit late if they have something going on in the morning on occasion, not all of the time, the key is staying organized and giving your employer heads up.
[00:14:31] No one likes to be surprised by these things, especially not the day of if you need to leave early. Of course, if someone's sick, that's different, but find that solution. To not being available again, like maybe someone to fill in for you. So you can go to your boss with the solution. I need to leave early, but so-and-so is going to cover for me.
[00:14:51] I just wanted you to okay. It before. This is what we do. So no matter what, I want to remind you. To not beat [00:15:00] yourself up about this. Things will work out. Your kids need to know you're not perfect. Your boss needs to know you're not perfect. They're human and you're human. And we're just not going to have a perfect balance, but we certainly can have a better balance if we have open communication, more communication, and we plan.
[00:15:22] So I hope all of this helps. I would love to hear from you drop me a message on Instagram or on Facebook. I'm here for you, and I'm always looking for topics and ways that I can help you out with your family, your health and your mindset, finding balance with these three things, family health, and mindset that is going to put you in a much better position each and every day to feel more balanced.
[00:15:47] That's all for now. I'll talk to you again.