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Investing in YOU is the best way to invest in your organization. A happier, more balanced person performs better at work, and has a much bigger impact. 

Keeping your mind and spirit healthy enables you to do you job better and increase your impact in your chosen career. But keeping a good balance of preserving the attention and care you need to give yourself can be challenging, especially as we’re entering holiday season, and work demands increase.

So we asked our experts for their tips to share with you. Here’s what they said.

Question:  As a provider working with many hard-working and motivated people, what are some strategies or resources you’d recommend to others to keep a healthy balance year-round?

Deena Englander
Operations Coach, High Impact Alliance

denglander@highimpactalliance.com LinkedIn

www.highimpactalliance.com Calendly

Preventing burnout is MUCH easier than fixing it. As a survivor of burnout myself, I take these steps to prevent it from happening again:

  1. Add in “flex” time. Anticipate the unknown. When you add extra room into your schedule for the unexpected to come up (which it almost always does), you’re not overwhelming yourself by working overtime to meet your deadlines. If nothing comes up? Lucky you – you get to get ahead of all your work or take extra downtime.
  2. Take frequent breaks. Whether you like to work in Pomodoro’s or in “deep work” shifts, schedule movement or creative time throughout your day to keep your brain charged. I personally keep diamond art coasters with me at work so I can recharge.
  3. Protect your time. Say no to asks that might encroach on your personal time. Set alarms to make sure you’re done with work by a specific time. Create those boundaries and stick to them. Some people (like me) also like having a separate work space. That way, your brain learns to be totally “off” when you’re not there. You’re not doing anyone any favors by working extra or overtime (of course, there are exceptions). And ultimately, you’re the only one that can really take care of yourself.
  4. Make lists. When your brain has to remember less, it works less hard, and then you have more energy to draw upon. The more structured your work responsibilities are (think scheduling, grouping similar activities together, task management software etc), the happier your brain will be, and the easier it will be to be fully present in your non-work time.
  5. Listen to your body. If you’re starting to feel tired and rundown, that’s a signal to stop or take a break or switch tasks. We can’t use language to communicate with our internal selves, but we can definitely pay attention to the signals of how we’re feeling. Respect them – they’re looking out for your self-preservation!
  6. Focus. Multitasking is a myth. It’s very draining. Just be present when you’re working, or when you’re with family – but don’t try to do both. Give your full attention to wherever you currently are.

 

Lynette Bye
Productivity Coach

lynettebye@gmail.com LinkedIn
lynettebye.com Calendly

I often hear that “work-life balance” means limiting the hours you work.

That’s waay over simplified. Work-life balance might involve limiting your work hours, but it’s not about only working 40 hours a week or taking a vacation.

A robust balance is making sure that 1. your work environment is healthy, and 2. you are meeting all of your personal needs.

1. Avoiding Burnout

Burnout largely comes from poor work environment – i.e. one where you don’t think your work will accomplish anything meaningful, the social environment is toxic, or you lack the resources or knowledge needed to do your work. (Great posts on burnout here and here.)

To address it, you want to change the work conditions so that you’re able to succeed, your work is meaningful, and you have agency to make decisions that matter.

(Note, you need to change the poor work environment, NOT take a vacation. Taking a vacation is like spending a week away from an abusive spouse – you’ll feel better temporarily, but you’re going right back into the conditions that led to the problems in the first place.)

This post proposes a simple heuristic to check whether you might be headed toward burnout: Do you resent your work? Resentment is a precursor to cynicism and burnout. If you’re feeling resentful, you should probably think about ways to change your work environment or address any unmet personal needs.

2. Meeting your personal needs

Everyone has “nutrients” that, when unmet, make them unhappy. These are highly personal and differ from person to person, but often include time with people you are close to, exercise, sleep, and time doing fun/engaging activities.

The catch here is that it takes some self-exploration to figure out what your nutrients are. Rest activities need to be actually restful.

This seems obvious when I say it, but most people haven’t put thought into which testing which activities make them feel rejuvenated. In other words, a vague description of personal “nutrients” is kinda useless unless you are already good at identifying them.

I found this post on “Effective Rest Days” helpful as an exercise to test leisure activities. What activities actually feel restorative and meaningful after you do them? (For me, the answer is quality time with people I care about, being in touch with my emotions, and accomplishing tangible outcomes.)

In short, if your work environment is positive and your personal needs are met, don’t worry if you’re not hitting exactly 40 hours a week. You’re nailing the true spirit of work-life balance.


 

Dave Cortright
Professional Coach

davecort@pm.me LinkedIn
designingthis.life 

Always use up your allotted vacation time. If you are at an “unlimited” workplace, plan on at least 4 weeks of vacation per year. Staycations count as well. You don’t need to travel anywhere in order to have a day (or week!) off.

Turn off all work notifications on your devices after hours, and only sign into your work apps after hours for exceptional, time-sensitive issues.

No is a complete sentence. Don’t feel obligated to take on additional work if it’s not in your scope of responsibility or if you don’t have the bandwidth. Conversations are not court cases; you don’t need to present evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. (But you should be able to have a workload conversation with your manager.)


 

Jennifer Wynn
HR Strategy Consultant, Wynn Consulting

jen@wynnconsulting.co LinkedIn
wynnconsulting.co Contact

It’s vital to find harmony in the hustle. Maintaining balance not only keeps our minds and spirits healthy but also supports our professional impact. As someone who collaborates with many mission-driven and high-achieving professionals, I’ve seen practical strategies at both the individual and organizational levels that help to sustain a healthy equilibrium throughout the year.

Individual practices for personal resilience:

  • Schedule Sacred Time: Proactively block out time in your calendar not just for tasks and meetings, but for breaks and personal activities too. This practice helps keep me on track and prevents me from falling into bad habits of overscheduling.
  • Nurture Your Nature: Regularly connect with nature and engage in hobbies. Rather than viewing these as mere pastimes, remember they can fuel your creative and professional energies.
  • Take Yourself Seriously: Remember, relentless work often leads to diminishing returns. Listen to your body and mind; when they ask for rest, heed the call.
  • Find Your Outlet: Energy needs a place to go, which is why exercise can be so centering. Whatever your personal preference, get curious and find the thing that helps you burn off frustration and puts things in perspective.

Here are ways I’ve seen organizations multiply the effects of balance for their teams:

  • Meeting-Free Days: Consider implementing weekly meeting-free days to allow employees to delve into focused work without interruptions.
  • Strategic Alignment: Dedicating significant periodic blocks of time for strategic planning helps ensure proactively that everyone’s work is aligned with the organization’s core objectives, which can help reduce spin and wasted time down the road.
  • Modeling the Way: Leaders can model balance through behaviors like communicating during standard working hours.
  • Rewarding Rest: Encourage taking full advantage of vacation time and consider offering sabbaticals. Rested employees are energized, engaged, and innovative contributors.

While easier said than done, individuals and organizations can work in tandem to better balance productivity and well-being during busy seasons and beyond.


 

Katarina Polonska
High Performance Relationship Coach

info@katarinapolonska.com LinkedIn
www.katarinapolonska.com

My biggest tip is to make sure you get some quality time alone in nature to ground, recharge, and have that space to reflect and process all the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Also connecting with a trusted advisor, coach, or accountability partner who has your best interests and is there to help you stay grounded is always a good idea.


 

Rickey Fukazawa
Health Coach, The Health Optimiser

rickey.healthoptimiser@gmail.com LinkedIn
www.thehealthoptimiser.com Calendly

One of the most common recommendations for work-life balance is to prioritise personal health. Making sure you exercise, eat and sleep well. But what does that really look like for the highly motivated and hard working when there already seems to not be enough time?

Choose health practices that focus on:

Consistency

Always schedule for the optimal but know what the reduced effort versions of what moving, eating and resting well are for you. There will be days or weeks when you can’t get that full workout, perfect meal or 8 hours of sleep. Have a second, third, fourth best option you can still commit to regardless.

For example, if not a full 30 minute run, a 15 minute walk,  5 minute stretch, or 3 minutes on your feet.

Frequency 

Rather than carving out large chunks of dedicated time for your health practices intersperse them throughout your day. This is likely more realistic to accomplish and has an added benefit of providing a break between prolonged periods of “stressed state” whether that be focused attention on work or family events.

Future state of mind 

A common cognitive bias we can get trapped into when planning is underestimating the influence our state of mind will have at the time we have set ourselves to do an action. The Sunday state of mind that plans for a healthy meal is likely not the state of mind you will find yourself in on a Wednesday evening.

If you are interested in improving your health to excel in your work and life, get in touch for a free consultation here or email me at rickey.healthoptimiser@gmail.com.

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