Are there ever enough hours in the day? It seldom feels like it.
However, the busier your professional life, the more important your personal time becomes. So, while it may seem counterproductive to hit the gym when you are pressed for a deadline, studies show that you actually think with more clarity and creativity when you are on the move.
During our Fall CMO Club Innovation and Inspiration Summit, Lisa Woodard, CMO, Independent Distribution of Transamerica Life Insurance Company and Judy Hackett, CMO, Emerging Businesses of Dun & Bradstreet led a lively, interactive session that helped CMOs establish best practices for that coveted work-life balance.
Members broke out into equal groups to brainstorm tactical, applicable ideas relating to travel, technology, separation of duties in the home and making more time for themselves.
1. Travel Tips
Members focused on minimizing the drama of travel and maintaining their routine while on the road. This means having your bases covered before you even leave home:
- Write down important information – like your parking spot, flight number and hotel address – and do advance flight check-in online.
- Invest in a TSA Pre-check and express Global Entry pass.
- Simplify packing by purchasing wrinkle-resistant items and deciding on a color theme, so individual items can be interchanged and worn more than once.
- Only bring a carry-on in case flight plans change.
- Bring a pack of small wipes in your bag to clean your seat before you sit down.
- Avoid the bathrooms by not drinking on the plane, but remember to rehydrate when you land.
Once you arrive, it’s important to stay focused, healthy and in a routine. Members mentioned goals to avoid late nights on the road and to hit the hotel gym daily. And, most importantly – to talk to the kids via regular phone calls or nightly Skype sessions.
2. Technology Game Changers
Make the latest tech work overtime, so you don’t have to. Members came up with a plethora of apps and websites that help the modern business person manage a busy life. Here were some of the ones mentioned:
To help with dinner:
- Amazon Fresh – offers same-day delivery on groceries.
- BlueApron – delivers ready-to-cook meals right to your home or office.
- Seamless – allows you to order delivery from local restaurants.
To help while you’re traveling:
- Seat Guru – uses user ratings to help you shop for flights and map seats in advance.
- Flight Aware – tracks flights in live-time with an open discussion forum for travelers.
- Expensify and Smart Receipts – helps you create and keep track of expense reports.
- Uber and Lyft – gets you where you need to go, faster and cheaper.
- The Skimm – sends you a daily email of all the news in a scannable format.
- Team Snap and Slack – simplifies communication with your professional team.
- Cozi – an organizer and calendar for busy families.
- iBaby Monitor – lets you capture your baby’s activity with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
- Fitbit – a wearable device that tracks your movement and fitness goals.
3. Separation of Duties (dual working household CMOs)
When it comes to separating duties at home, make a pact with your partner or spouse to have each other’s backs. Divide and conquer by focusing on each person’s strengths. There’s no such thing as true 50/50, so setting clear expectations now will reduce stress later.
- Review the family calendar weekly, and note who will be doing what.
- Build a support network of friends, family and hired help to lend a hand during busy times.
- Establish your own system of organization, delegation and communication that keeps your household running smoothly.
- Remember to talk regularly and make sure each person contributes to the partnership.
4. Making More Time for Me
Woodard and Hackett explained that it’s vital to have hobbies and interests outside of your career that define who you are and not what you do.
Don’t think you have the time? Comb through your routine and rethink your errands, to-do list and commitments to see what can be changed or eliminated completely. Members shared several tactics for creating and safe-guarding that sacred ‘me time:’
- Focus on working smart to refine your schedule and free up more time – this includes increasing team members’ accountability and ownership of tasks while at work.
- Find items on your to-do list that can be delegated to a third party.
- Block off personal and family time on your calendar, treating it the same as any other important meeting.
- Say ‘no’ to commitments that don’t add value to your life – and don’t apologize!
- Have lunch out of the office and leave your laptop at work 4 times a week to fully unplug.
- Keep a journal to get those busy thoughts out of your head and down on paper, so you can be fully present in each moment.
“Balancing work and life…is never easy. I think there came a moment in my life when I realized that the only person who could make those choices was me…no matter what choice I made, someone was going to be unhappy. Somebody was going to wish they had more of me.”
*Feature photo source: Learning Fundamentals.