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Tag Archives: workload management

Work-life balance is a myth, seek work-life blend instead

For years, nay decades, there’s been talk of work-life balance – that delicate equilibrium between the time you spend at work and that which you dedicate to family, social and leisure activities, and personal interests.  In fact, I too have often penned posts (such as this one) that seek to achieve just that.  But work-life balance is a myth, a non-achievable nirvana that few (if any) have realized. So it’s long past the time to let this obsolete idea go. Instead, it’s time to embrace work-life blend.

In my latest column in The Globe and Mail, I explain how the word “balance” implies that a negative – work – needs to be offset by a positive – life. But there shouldn’t be anything negative about earning a living.  Work-life blend acknowledges that trying to isolate work from life is not only impossible, but also places immense amounts of anxiety and tension on those trying to do so.

Work-life balance is a myth

work-life blend

Shifting to work-life blend doesn’t happen overnight

So what will it take to reposition from balance to blend?  That’s exactly what I address in this column which published in yesterday’s print edition of The Globe.  If you get the print version, you would have seen it on page B10.

Note: if you are a subscriber to The Globe and Mail, you can also read the column directly at their website at this link: https://tgam.ca/2zIvkMH

So I’ve already heard from several readers on The Globe‘s site who are not impressed with my point of view.  They believe that my suggestion of work-life blend is just another way to further reduce “life” time.  But I’d love to hear what you think as well.  Do you agree or disagree with my perspective?  Please add your thoughts below.

A Moratorium on Office E-mail?

Imagine a world in which you don’t receive any work-related e-mail except during working hours. That’s right: no beeps, bells or buzzes on your smartphone announcing the arrival of e-mail either overnight or during the weekend. None, nothing, nil, nada.

A moratorium on office e-mail?This is exactly the subject of my latest column in The Globe & Mail‘s weekend Management series which was published over the weekend. It’s titled Should Canadian businesses consider a moratorium on e-mail?, and the topic is well … self-explanatory.  In it, I outline how the Germans approach e-mail (and work-life balance in general), and pose the provocative question as to what would happen if Canadian companies adopted a similar attitude.

A favour please?

As always, I have a big favour to ask of you. Once you’ve read it, please forward a link on to others in your departments and organizations who may find it of interest.  You can do directly from The Globe‘s site using their easy links, or you can forward it here from the blog.  Continue reading

Procrastination: why it happens and how to conquer it!

Back in September 2015, in one of my regular columns for ProfitGuide, the online portal for Profit Magazine, I wrote about how leaders can overcome the endless cycle of procrastination.  You know … procrastination … the situation where you put off doing stuff until it becomes critical, vow that you’ll never put yourself in those circumstances again, but of course, finding yourself exhausted from the last sprint to the finish line find yourself in exactly the same condition yet another time!

Published in The Downtown Victoria Magazine

Overcoming procrastinationWell, I was pretty thrilled when The Downtown Victoria Magazine chose to reprint my article in their special insert in Victoria’s Times Colonist on November 23.  I realize that we’re already in February, but I just recently got my hands on a hard copy of the publication so I had to share!  Yes, I know that the print is too tiny in the photo for you to be able to read the article, but you can read the original version at ProfitGuide.com – A 9-Point Plan for Overcoming Procrastination.

Big shout out to the DVBA!

As many of you who regularly read the blog know, I only just last year opened a new office on the west coast Continue reading

Build a stronger working relationship with your boss by jointly setting priorities

Business Meeting: Professional Successful Team; Managing DirectoFor the last couple of posts, I’ve been talking about actions you can take to strengthen your working relationship with your boss.  Earlier this week, it was about building trust through consistency in behaviour and action.  Today I want to cover one final topic in this series – how to address conflicting priorities with the full support of your manager or supervisor.

Conflicting priorities are a reality in every single client organization I work with.  Whether they are originating directly from your boss, or from a variety of senior people with whom you have working relationships, it’s not unusual to find yourself in a situation where you’ve got too much to do, not enough time to get it done, and all expected to be done at the same time.  In such situations, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.  But there is a solution that can not only ease the pressure but also allow you to strengthen your relationship with your boss at the same time.  Set your priorities jointly with your manager.  This is a lot easier that you might realize.

Boss [insert your manager’s name here], Roger has requested the sales forecast by tomorrow, and we’ve also got the Board presentation and your legal team briefing document that need to be finished right away.  I’m thinking of prioritizing the Board presentation and getting that completed first since it may require additional review.  What do you think?

Did you see what I just did?  I just accomplished several things.  First, I let the boss know that I have conflicting priorities, so he is now part of the solution.  Second, I started a dialogue about how to rank several important tasks and the ensuing conversation will give me greater insight into what my boss considers to have the greatest urgency.  Third, whatever approach I now take, my boss is on board and supportive of it, which means that even if things don’t turn out exactly the way we expected, I can still count on the boss to have my back.  Bottom line: jointly setting priorities makes this a team effort, and if you can do that, you’ve strengthened your relationship with your boss.

Comments?  Please share your thoughts below.

Stop working on the weekend!

Businessman using modern smartphone or mobile phone. New technolBack in 2011, we conducted a fun informal poll at our website that asked the question: What is your single biggest time waster at work? And the top two answers were Other people and Email. I had that poll in my mind when I also realized that we (in Canada and the United States at least) are heading into a long weekend, so today’s blog post seems particularly timely – how not to get caught in the trap of working on the weekend.  Now many of you are from countries other than Canada and the United States, and others of you work unusual shifts, so translate the topic to be “how not to get caught in the trap of working on your days off”.

The problem is that in today’s highly-connected tech world, so many of us can’t seem to shut work down when we’re supposed to be off. In fact, some of the leaders in my client organizations have sheepishly admitted to regularly saying out loud “I’ll get that done over the weekend.” I say it’s gotta stop!

But how? Continue reading

Procrastination: why do today what you can put off till tomorrow?

My latest column for ProfitGuide.com is up this morning. Today’s column is part of Productivity Week and is about how leaders (or anybody) can overcome the endless cycle of procrastination. You know … the one where you put off doing stuff until it becomes critical, vow that you’ll never put yourself in that situation again, but of course, finding yourself exhausted from the last sprint to the finish line find yourself in exactly the same condition yet another time!

A 9-Point Plan for Overcoming Procrastination

ProfitGuide090815

So these are my top five ideas for ways to overcome procrastination – what are yours? Please share what has worked (or not) for you and let’s learn from one another.

P.S. In case you didn’t know, I am a regular member of ProfitGuide.com’s panel of business experts. You can find links to my previous columns on their site. For your information, Profit Magazine is a sister publication to Canadian business magazine giants Canadian Business, MoneySense and Macleans, so I’m pretty chuffed to be in such esteemed company.

Help your people get better at managing their workloads

Balance and productivity strategist Patricia Katz helps leaders reduce the impact of overload in their lives and workplaces.  As my professional colleague and friend, she agreed to guest-author today, and by doing so, she allowed me to reduce MY overload.  Thanks Pat!

As a conscious, committed, caring leader, the chances are pretty good that you’ve noticed how overwhelmed people become by life’s ongoing demands. You see how exhaustion affects them and recognize the problems it causes in your organization.  The worst thing you can do in a situation like this is to focus just on speed and efficiency. Simply pushing harder is never a long-term solution. In fact, it makes things worse

Here are three positive strategies you can use to help those you lead get a better handle on their loads.

  1. Get real about timelines and expectations. Too much planning goes on in a fact-free environment. Deadlines for new projects and initiatives are announced without input from those who actually know what it’s going to take to deliver. Consult those on the frontlines who will be charged with actually executing these plans before you set expectations and deadlines that drive them to the brink. Continue reading