The first question is, what is work life balance?
There’s a false perception that a work life balance is where you balance work equally to life. I think that’s completely unrealistic. Life is so big, you can’t just say work, and then life.
Work life balance is one, unique to the individual, and two, depends on a range of different factors. For example, your career, what your values are, your personality type, if you have kids.
Also, it’s important to acknowledge there are different aspects to life. We follow a program developed by Dr John Demartini, acknowledging 7 areas of life. Listen to the show to find out more.
Here’s an overview of what we cover:
- Tamara’s definition of work life balance, and how it’s different to Joel: (3:07)
- The 7 areas of life: (5:47)
- Some of the signs you’re not living to your purpose: (18:04)
- 5 steps to achieve a work life balance: (20:58)
- How couples can achieve a work life balance together: (27:13)
- Defining what quality time is, and how it’s different for each person: (28:49)
- The perception it’s not acceptable for men to leave work early to pick up their kids, and how to change it: (31:14)
- How organisations can help their employees achieve a better work life balance: (36:05)
- And so much more!
- Dr John Demartini, 7 Areas of Life
- The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts
- Joel Norton
- View a full transcript of the podcast at the bottom of the page, or download a PDF version here.
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Tamara: This is episode number two, on work life balance. Welcome to the females in tech show where we help women in tech to live a balanced and purposeful life through a career in information technology. My name is Tamara and I am the founder of FIIT Collective. In this podcast I’ll explore the challenges females face working in a corporate environment and how to overcome them. Beyond technology, I will also dive deep into self-care practices, how they can improve your physical and mental wellbeing and the importance of balancing work and relationships for sustainable and rewarding career.
Joining me in today’s episode is my loving partner Joel Norton. Joel Is an entrepreneurial executive with 30 years’ experience in data driven marketing, and in empowering businesses to achieve customer centric digital transformation. He is the founder and CEO of a conversion rate optimization consultancy helping established entrepreneurs to increase sales and sustainably grow their influence to serve more people.
Joel is also a great supporter and advocate for women in tech, which is why he’ll be joining me in the first season of the females in tech show to share his perspective as a male.
In today’s episode we cover my definition of a work life balance and how it’s different to Joel’s, what the seven areas are, what the signs are when you’re not living to your purpose. The five steps to achieve a work life balance, how couples can achieve a work life balance, what quality time is and how it’s different for each individual. We talk about the perception of it not being okay for men to leave work early to pick up their kids, and what we can do to change that perception, and what organizations can do to help employees achieve a work life balance and so much more.
Joel: Hello Beautiful.
Tamara: Hey handsome.
Joel: How are you?
Tamara: I’m good, thank you. How are you?
Joel: I’m great. You look amazing.
Tamara: Uh, in my uggies and exercise gear?
Joel: Yeah. Well what are we doing this morning?
Tamara: After the podcast or right now?
Joel: After the podcast.
Tamara: We’re going to meet my cousin who is visiting from the Netherlands, and we’re going to do the Bronte to Bondi walk, or Bondi Bronte and back. And also, with my good friend Nat.
Joel: Awesome. Looking forward to it. It’s beautiful day outside. It is winter, but I think it’s 20 degrees and sunny this morning. So, I’m looking forward to getting outside.
Tamara: Yeah, I can’t wait.
Joel: But we’ve got something really important to do first. What are we talking about this week?
Tamara: We are going to be talking about work life balance. So, this is a topic that I am extremely passionate about and constantly trying to figure out. So, I’m excited to be talking about it with you today.
Joel: Me Too. It should be fun.
So, the first question really is what is work life balance, how do you define work life balance?
Tamara: Hmm. That’s a really interesting question. And I think there is this false perception that a work life balance is where you balance work equally to life. And I just think that’s completely unrealistic.
Joel: Well firstly, what’s life? Life is so big, you can’t just say work and then life, you know. It’s a lot.
Tamara: Exactly. So, I personally think that work life balance is one, unique to the individual, and two, depends on what your career is, what your values are, what your personality type is, if you have kids. So, I think I might start off with what that looks like for me personally.
I’m going to address it in a little bit of a different way and acknowledge the seven areas of life. So, there’s different industry experts that may have five, but you and I personally work to the seven. And those seven are spiritual, mental, financial, vocational, familial, social and physical.
For me personally, at the moment, 30% is focused on spiritual, which is working on this podcast and working on FIIT Collective and working on my purpose. So that’s really inspiring and educating females in tech to have a more purposeful career in life. 40% is really in the vocational area. So that’s my career at Salesforce. I am constantly go, go, go, wanting to accelerate my career. And then the rest of the areas is equally 6%. And that’s okay at this stage of my life.
I am 26 and that’s a big focus for me at the moment. My values are one, career growth, two, education, and three, relationships. And that’s reflective of what my work life balance is at the moment. But if I were to transition into a new area of my life or a new season, like if I were to have kids for example, that would change. And that’s completely okay. So yeah, at the moment my work life balance is more heavily in the work area than it is towards life. And I do sacrifice things like going out and partying or seeing girlfriends. But that’s okay and I’m completely okay with that.
Joel: Let’s just touch a little bit more on the seven areas for this because you talk about spiritual, we use these definitions from Dr John Demartini and he talks about the seven areas of life. When we talk about spiritual, we’re not talking about going to church or some form of religion. It’s more about, it’s very personal, which is about your life purpose. So, you’re living to your life purpose or what your truth is. So that’s what we’re referring to when we talk about spiritual.
For you that is about inspiring women in tech. So, when you’re doing the podcast and you’re working on your business called FIIT Collective, that’s work. But it’s very much about what your purpose is in life, so that’s extremely rewarding for you. Whereas some people would say, she’s working all the time.
Tamara: Yeah. And that’s not the case because I don’t feel like I’m working. Like right now when I’m recording this podcast, it doesn’t feel like work. I am so full of energy.
Joel: You’re energized and pumped up and smiling from ear to ear.
Tamara: Yeah. Then I guess mental is really about education. So, I do this every single day. When I catch the bus to work, I listen to an audio book or read a book. And then I educate myself every single day at work. The platform that I specialise in is constantly changing. We have five new releases every single year, so it’s upskilling in those areas and making sure that I am on top of what the industry standards are.
And then financial. So, I probably do this monthly. And that’s just according to my pay cycle. It’s a big area for me and I am focused and very strict on it, but I don’t think about it every single day. I do that when I need to pay all my bills, like my rent, put away money for savings or pay off my very big uni debt.
Vocational like I said, that’s all about your career, familial, that’s relationships. At the moment that’s you, and my parents, and my step sister. Probably not as much as some people, but I’m okay with that at the moment, and my family is really understanding in how career driven I am. So that’s an extra bonus.
Social is all about, your friends outside or they can be inside of work as well. And that’s probably not a big area focus for me at the moment. Although I do love being social, and I do go to work events, and I do go to events outside of work that are focused on females in tech. It is something that I’ve learned to sacrifice a bit and prioritise my career at the moment. So that’s been a bit of a struggle for me, but I’m learning to accept that.
And then physical of course is moving your body.
Joel: One of the things you’re talking about here is, the more aligned you are to your purpose, the more these things actually start to blend. So, they stop being separate areas, and effectively your life starts to mirror what your purpose is, and they’re all blending.
So, for argument’s sake around social, and it’s an interesting one because obviously you’ve moved from Melbourne to Sydney, so it’s been a big thing for you around, moving cities and then finding new friends. You knew people in Sydney but they weren’t as close as the people you had in in Melbourne. And that’s something you’ve really struggled with, and we’ve had a few conversations around it, which is probably worth talking about.
Like we talk about work life balance and we’ve talked about the fact that you don’t have those close friends in Sydney. I said, if you’re spending all this time at work, plus working on your business and doing these other areas, you’re not leaving much time for having those friends. But you do go to those industry events and things. So, whether that’s with work or whether that’s outside of work, you are going out or going to the gym. You are being social in other ways. But you’re not, as you say, going out partying and doing whatever else. So, you’ve got an element of social, but it’s more linked to your purpose.
Tamara: Yeah, exactly. And I think that social perception, we were speaking about it yesterday, is that I was not complaining, but just talking about not having as close girlfriends here. Nat’s probably my closest girlfriend in Sydney.
But what has shifted is my mentors. So, I have built really strong connections with my mentors and that is an aspect of social. So again, those areas can be defined by what’s unique to the individual. So, for me at the moment, it’s mentorship.
Joel: Yeah. And I think it’s more about social influence as well. So, I think you’ve got social influence with your business around FIIT Collective and the work that you’re doing there. So that’s where it starts to blend a little bit.
Tamara: I’d like to ask you a question though. Because you know, I’m a 26-year-old and I’m focusing on my career, might be a bit of a luxury for someone with kids. So, someone who does have two beautiful kids, what’s your definition of a work life balance at the moment?
Joel: Obviously it’s a little bit different, but before I answer, I suppose if I give some context. I think one of the important points here is that recognizing and accepting that you go through different life stages, or you might call it seasons.
So I’ve been working a little longer. I was doing some numbers before we sat down to do the podcast. And I would say probably for two thirds of my working life, I have, some people would call it, workaholic or whatever, but you know, I was working 12, 14, 16 hours a day. And that was for a whole bunch of different reasons, but I was very driven around my career and so I’d be at sitting at my desk at work from six o’clock in the morning and I’d work till eight o’clock at night, 10 o’clock at night, five days a week. And there were periods where I’d also be working on Saturdays, and there were periods when I’d also work on Sundays.
Now as a result of that I was totally ignoring a lot of those areas. And one of the big areas was around relationships. And so, I think one of the things is about becoming more aware about those. If you’re more aware, you may not be able to do all of those things all the time, but at least you’ve got a presence about it. And being conscious around, I need to look at some of those things, but we’ll touch on that a little bit later. So, there was definitely a season rather than a life stage. There was a season where I was very focused on that.
My season at the moment is very different. I’ve got two wonderful kids and they’re different ages as well. I’ve got a daughter who is 18, and a son who is 11, so they want and need different types of attention as well.
My daughter is doing her HSC and she’s got her head in the books. She’s 100% focused on that, so I don’t get as much time with her. Whereas my son is still in primary school. So, I can’t do those ridiculous hours for work, and nor do I want to. For me work life balance is about, I’ve set up my own business as you know, so I am busy and there’s a very long list of things that I need to do all across the place, as far as work with my clients, but also in how I grow that business. But I am being much more intentional around the type of clients and the type of work that I get because I don’t want to be doing those ridiculous hours and I want to be able to have that balance.
For me, that balance at the moment is, having the flexibility to spend time with, particularly with my son, who’s in primary school. So being able to leave, or go and pick him up, one maybe two days a week, spending time with him in the afternoon, as well as obviously spending time with you, when we can as well as, working on this business with you and doing my own business stuff.
So that changes a little bit throughout the week. So, day to day it looks a bit different depending on what days I’ve got my son, and week to week, and also month to month. It is really around understanding and being conscious of that, but also accepting that’s the season that I’m in. And it’s OK.
It’s not comparing yourself to other people.
Tamara: Yeah, that’s a big one. Comparison. It’s so easy to do, particularly on social media. You are flicking through all of these beautiful Instagram accounts and as much as they can be inspiring, it’s very easy to get stuck in a trap where you are comparing and getting yourself into a little hole.
Instagram is so unrealistic. I mean, I try and share my authentic self, but ultimately you do share more happy experiences than you do challenges that you have. And there’s idols that I look up to on Instagram and I see them at the beach and they’re working and I think, wow, you have the life, you can go to the beach every single day and I am stuck in an office, and if I do get the opportunity to work from home, I have to be at my desk. I need two screens and I don’t have the flexibility to be working on the beach, and I can’t even see my screen on the beach. I need to be talking to customers every single day. So comparing is a very steep downhill trap.
Joel: Well you need to just focus on yourself, not trying to be somebody else.
You know I love numbers, so I did some rough numbers and stats, which I think hopefully highlights the fact that it is unachievable to try and get that perfect balance, every day, every week, every month. It’s not possible.
To highlight this, if we talk about those seven areas, and divide your day 24 hours, between seven things, technically 14% of every 24 hours you should be focusing on one of those seven areas. Now, obviously you can’t do that cause you’re sleeping right?
Let’s assume you sleep for eight hours a day, and I know some people don’t, but if you’re sleeping for eight hours a day, that leaves you 16 hours, divide 16 hours by seven and that means you would be spending two hours and 20 minutes on each of those seven areas. That’s unachievable.
Let’s assume you sleep eight hours, you work for eight hours and you travel for two hours all up, that leaves you with six hours. Now a large chunk of that is the work piece taken out. So, you’ve got six hours left divided by the other six areas. You’re meant to be spending one hour on each of those six areas every day. That’s unachievable. There’s no way you can do that, right?
Accepting that and saying, well, I’m not going to go to the gym every day. I’m going to do that three days a week, or I may not, you can do that, read the books and do that sort of stuff because you’re traveling to work. So that’s about using, that time well. But some people may be driving and they can’t read a book or whatever it might be on calls. So you might only be doing that, reading a book, once a week, putting aside an hour a week. So it’s just accepting that you can’t do all of those things equally every day and every week, and that’s okay.
Tamara: Yeah, absolutely and just be okay with what’s unique to you as an individual of what that work life balance looks like. Define what that is. And rock it!
Joel: I think another big area, and this is a much deeper subject, about having clarity around your purpose in life. Because ultimately when people talk about work life balance, it’s generally because they feel overworked. So yeah, inverted commas, they’re overworked, they’re stressed, and they’re overworked.
That level of overwork is going to be different for everybody. For some people that’s eight hours a day, for somebody else that might be 16 or whatever it is. Everyone’s going to be a little bit different. But it’s overworked, and I would put in brackets, unfulfilled, because ultimately if you’re unfulfilled, that’s when you feel like you’re overworked.
You’re not fulfilled because you’re not living to your purpose. And I think the symptoms of being overworked is, I’d say, sort of excessive, but excessive is different for everybody. Whether that’s drinking, so that’s going out and having a massive Friday night, Saturday night, to basically blow off steam and have a rant and let loose as a lot of people do. So, excessive drinking. And that could be two drinks. It could be ten drinks, it could be whatever. So that’s going to be a little bit different for everybody.
It could be just watching TV. So, coming home and watching two hours of TV every night because you just want to zone out and veg out and just do that. And you could be doing that every day for five days a week, plus doing a whole stack of watching sport all weekend and whatever else.
Another one which is more popular for the females is obviously the retail therapy.
Tamara: I thought you were going to say binge eating because that is me to a T.
Joel: No, it was retail therapy. So yeah, going to the malls and buying stuff you don’t need, or you think that you need, but you buy it and then you might feel good for an hour, or a day or two and then, a week or two passes, or a month and it doesn’t feel as good after that.
So, you’re trying to fill your life up in other areas because you’re not fulfilled. So, I think one of the areas where you can have that balance is by trying to work out what’s true for you. And again, that’s a very personal thing.
Tamara: Mm. Yeah. I think it’s important to note that you need to, as much as you can’t have a perfect balance, you need to be looking at all seven areas or if you’re following someone else, it could be five areas. You need to be addressing each area a little bit, whether that’s every single day or every single fortnight, week, month, quarter you need to be addressing all areas because if you don’t you know, your life in other areas are going to suffer as a consequence.
Joel: So, I’ve written down a few things here. I’ve worked out probably five steps to try and get that work life balance.
Tamara: Oh, is there, look at you. What’s the five steps Joel?
Joel: Well, I think the first thing is being conscious and aware of those seven areas. So being aware those areas exist so that you’re not ignoring it.
The second thing is then accepting that you have those different seasons in life and that you’re going to have different focuses at different times. So obviously we’ve talked about how that’s naturally going to influence your focus, whether that’s for the week or the month or for a few years. So, whether that’s your career, and with the career that could be obviously your career in general, but you might also have a project, and that project could be going for a week or the project could be going for three months. So, in my career history, because I’ve come from marketing and spent a bit of time in advertising, it’s very campaign driven. So, there’s quite often campaign launches and you’re often working on those projects, which could be from 8 weeks to 16 weeks and they’d be really, really super intensive. So that would dictate and influence very much around what time you had to work in other areas. So, you have these massive peaks and troughs.
Then obviously there’s the kids and the kids go through different stages, whether that’s a newborn to toddlers, to preteens to teens, that also becomes very different, or you might be athletic and sporting, you could be training for a triathlon or Oxfam as we did last year. So that meant we were training for that for three or four months, which meant a lot of walking. Or you might be in a new relationship, which we’ve been for the last few years, so we’ve invested quite heavily in cementing that, building that relationship. So, you’re going to have different things happening in your life. And it’s just accepting that, that’s just a season you’re going through.
The third thing I’d think is having some awareness about what recharges you the most. So, if you’re trying to get that balance, so for you what’s your self-care routine?
Tamara: Oh, there’s lots of things. I think the one big thing for me, which I’ve slowly learned over the years is having those eight hours of sleep. If I don’t have eight hours, I struggled to function. You are grinning so much right now.
Joel: That’s one word for it, struggling to function.
Tamara: And the second thing is meditating. I do that every single day at 11. I try and do it twice a day, but I’ve been struggling to fit that in. But meditating really helps me recharge. Other things are like exercise. If I don’t exercise, I feel sluggish the whole week, but also acknowledging where I am in my cycle. So, I don’t really exercise at all when I do have my period. So, acknowledging where I am in that cycle and exercising according to that.
Joel: And that’s another podcast episode we’re going to be doing, isn’t it? About understanding your moon cycle and different energies at different times.
So, whether that’s for you, whether that’s going to the gym, or I work with a guy and he surfs quite regularly. So, for him that’s a recharge piece, or for me it’s in the time that we spend together about having that quality time together. So, I think having an understanding of what fills up your love bucket, or what recharges you and makes you more fulfilled also goes a long way to helping. You’re not spending time just binge-watching TV, Game of Thrones or whatever else it might be. You’re doing something that’s actually going to help recharge you.
And then the fourth area is then being really intentional, and planning and prioritizing your time around those seven areas. So, I mean, ideally, your day, your week, your month and your year. And as we said, understanding and accepting that you’re not going to cover each of those seven areas every single day, but just mapping out. So for physical, for all different reasons, I might not have time to do that every day, but I’m going to go for a one hour walk on the weekend. Or it might also be doing things like taking the stairs. We live in an apartment here, and we very rarely catch the lift up. Nine times out of ten we walk from the garage up to the second floor. So, just look at with how can you incorporate some other things like that.
So fourth is being intentional, planning and prioritizing your time around those seven areas.
And then the fifth area is doing a regular review, both on a weekly basis, on a quarterly basis. By doing that regularly, you’re again being conscious and aware about each of the seven areas and where can I focus my time?
Tamara: I agree with all of that. I had a few of those notes. I had making sure you schedule in that self-care time, put it in your diary and be really strict about it as well.
Everything else you had, I had goal setting in there as well. So, we’re very good at that. And the goal setting addresses all seven areas once again. So, we have our annual goals, we have our quarterly goals, which we just recently went through. And then we have our weekly and daily goals, and we have a weekly plan and a monthly planer, and it really helps you visualize, where you are addressing those seven areas at what point, at what day, but also being flexible because sometimes you wake up and you honestly do not feel like it.
Being flexible with your work life balance and don’t be so hard on yourself if you can’t achieve it that week. That is okay. And it’s normal.
So, I have a question for you with regards to relationships. Do you think it is possible for, people in a relationship, whether that’s two men, two women, a male and a female, for them both to have a work life balance?
Joel: Yeah. I mean not withstanding what we’ve just been talking about but yeah, I think you need to work on it and you need to be intentional. But I think there are ways you can hack the system if you like. That’s very IT, hacking the system.
What I mean by that is, having some awareness, self-awareness about yourself, but also your partner and what is quality time for you individually, but also as a couple. And that’s something we’ve been working out.
If I come back to that example, just sitting down and watching TV or movies, whatever it might be. You might be sitting together on the couch and watching TV and technically you’re spending time together but the reality is for most people, that’s not quality time. For some people that might be quality time and it gives them a chance to bond and do whatever else, they might be having discussions, and that’s awesome. But for a lot of people, it’s just veg out time.
It’s working out what does recharge you? So, for you and I, that’s very different, so I’m going to throw that back to you. What’s quality time look like for you Beautiful?
Tamara: We’re doing it right now, handsome. It’s working on FIIT Collective together. I absolutely love doing that. And that’s reflective of my values too. I love brainstorming with you. I love working with you. Yes, it can be challenging, but it’s an area where we both excel and really grow in.
So that’s what it looks like for me but what does it look like for you?
Joel: Well for me, I love getting intimate, going deep. For me it’s really around the quality and depth of relationships. I have a small number of friends, but I like to have a really deep level of intimacy with them. We do that in different ways. So if you’re getting something out of this and we are working together, I get a lot out of that as well.
I think having that understanding but then also talking about it and saying in that weekly planning, when are we going to be doing the podcast? When are we going to be spending that time together. So, you are scheduling that time and again, some weeks you can’t do it. You’re going to Brisbane, you’re traveling interstate this week for a couple of days. We’ve got busy lives. When you come back, Lee will be with us. There’s other stuff going on as well. So sometimes you can’t fit it in. But again, if we’ve only got half an hour, it’s making sure that that half hour is actually the quality time that both works for us.
Tamara: Yeah. So, I think it’s also understanding what your love language is. [Full Disclaimer: We receive compensation as an affiliate, at no extra cost to you, if you purchase through this link.]
So, for me, my first one is quality time. So, I hate it if Joel and I are spending time together and one of his clients call him and we’re not having quality time. Or if he’s on his phone checking emails, I don’t like that. Quality time is a big one for me.
For you it’s a little bit different. And then for Lee it’s different, and Maisie we haven’t quite worked out yet, although we might know it already. But understanding what that love language is. [Full Disclaimer: We receive compensation as an affiliate, at no extra cost to you, if you purchase through this link.]
With regards to that, I’ve been talking to a lot of men, obviously I work in a very male dominated industry and it’s a perception that they have. And I’m not sure if it’s true or not. I definitely don’t have that perception but what they struggle with is that there is this perception that if women have to leave early from work to pick up their kids, it’s completely okay. But for men, on the other hand, if they had to leave early, it’s looked down upon.
Have you experienced anything like that before? And do you think that affects the ability for men to have a work life balance?
Joel: Yes. I have experienced that in a few different forms. Both directly and indirectly.
For example, one of the things we’ve talked about for instance at my daughter’s school where they have, like a lot of schools, they’ll have Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, they’ll do a breakfast for whether it’s the parents or the grandparents or special people in the life. So, it’s usually on a Friday morning before Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. At my daughter’s high school, it was only something I noticed last year, so Father’s Day is coming up in a couple of weeks, and Father’s Day breakfast is from 7:30 to 8:30 on a Friday morning. Last year, or early this year, Mother’s Day breakfast was actually at 10 o’clock. So, there’s an assumption that the Mums aren’t working and that they can obviously just rock up a little bit later, and probably have a more casual time. Whereas for the men, they’re off to work, so it’s done early in the day but that’s the first time I’d experienced that.
I suppose more directly in my work life, I definitely witnessed it. And also experienced that myself in terms of the sort of expectations. Where I wanted to have some time off specifically to be with my son, it would’ve been the equivalent of paternity leave, and my boss or my manager at the time, was really not comfortable with that, but I said, well I’m having it off anyways. Where I felt that if it was a female being maternity leave it probably would have been more accepted.
Tamara: My gosh, that’s really devastating and really hard to hear, and completely unfair. You know, there is this really big movement to achieve equality for females, but I think we’re also forgetting that there are males in this situation too where they also want to take paternity leave and they also want to be able to leave work early to be able to pick up their kids. And that’s the equality balance, it isn’t just about the females, it’s also about the males. So, what do you think we can do to change that?
Joel: It depends on the industry, first and foremost and what those businesses are like. Some industries are better than others. With IT and technology, that’s probably one of the better industries where there is a bit more of that balance. For arguments sake I’ve worked with clients in that space for a long time and they’ve probably been at the forefront, more around people being able to work from home and do that remote working, etc.
There’s a manager level and there’s also an organizational level. It’s partly what comes from the top down as what’s acceptable and how they help employees to have that sort of balance. Where you work, that’s a lot easier. And I suppose things like Skype or Hangout or video conferencing now it’s a lot more achievable to be able to do those sorts of things, and organizations putting practices and policies in place that allow that.
A big part of that is also just around having trust that people are going to do their jobs. That goes back to having outcome-based objectives. If people are more focused on what are the outcomes they need to deliver, and people are working together and have a process in place that you’re working together to deliver those outcomes, as opposed to, I have to work eight hours a day and punch in, and punch out. If you’re working together to actually deliver something, that’s outcome-based then that’s also a lot more achievable.
Tamara: Yeah. So, I think there’s a shift in perception that society has, that we need to go through. Through education, with regards to men and women picking up their children. But there’s, like you said, a lot of things that organizations can do within their own organization. Things like having time in lieu, so if people are working overtime, give them the option to have extra time in lieu or extra pay. If you have to work on the weekend or longer hours, and if that’s ongoing or on for a regular basis, like with projects, you mentioned in the advertising industry, giving the opportunity for those employees to have that time in lieu.
Also really important for managers to understand what a work life balance looks like to the individual, and how they can help them achieve that work life balance. So, for example, at one of the clients you’re currently working there is a female who gets to leave early every second Friday, so she can travel to the snow. So, things like that, having the flexibility for parents, both men and women, to be able to pick up their children from school, and changing that perception that it’s only okay for women.
Leading by example too, so making sure that the leaders of the organization are having their own definition of work, life balance. So, for someone like me, when I look up to a leader, whether that’s a female or male and I can see that they’re doing it all, and it’s OK to do it all. It’s okay to leave early sometimes to pick up your kids, that’s really inspiring and that’s, walking the talk essentially.
Also education is a big one. Having events, like having a yoga instructor come into the organization and doing yoga all together, or a meditation expert to teach employees about the benefits of meditation because that’s going to rapidly accelerate your productivity at work and give you a clearer vision and focus. Planning projects better. Having those contingency hours is so important because things essentially do go wrong in projects and you don’t want your employees to be working overtime to meet a ridiculous deadline.
Also planning it around women’s cycles. So, when are they going to be having their period, make sure we don’t have a deadline during that time. And it’s most likely that all the women in the project have synced up already.
Joel: I was going to say that can be challenging if everyone is on different cycles.
Tamara: Well all of my female colleagues are all in sync. So, that’s not really an issue us at the moment.
Joel: Well like I said, I think there’s an organization level. I think there’s also a manager level and you’re fortunate that you’ve got a great manager, which has been fantastic to give you that. But it comes back to trust.
My approach has always been, if I trust that they’re going to do the work, there’s not going to be any issues, then I’m fine. Like I don’t care, have as much time off as you need, as long as you’re going to deliver what you need to deliver. That’s what I’m most worried about at the end of the day.
I’ve been in a more service-based industry, so as long as we can deliver X project or whatever by this time, then that’s cool. If you need to take a couple of hours out or it might be a day, that’s fine.
Tamara: Yeah, great. What are the big takeaways the listeners should jot down right now?
Joel: Firstly, it’s unrealistic to expect you’re going to have the perfect work life balance every day of every week of every year. So just accept that you’re going through a particular season in life and that season could be for a couple of weeks, or a couple of months, or it could be for a couple of years, but understand and accept that you are going through a particular season and you can’t get it all done, that’s the first thing, probably the big one for me.
The second big one for me is, with that understanding, it’s just being conscious. So just being conscious of, and aware of those areas, so whether that’s five or seven, but what are those other areas in life, so that whilst you may not be able to spend a lot of time in all of those areas, at least you’re still addressing it, say once a week or once a month or once a quarter, so you’re not ignoring it and you are putting some energy into that.
And then the third thing would be understanding what quality time is for you. What’s going to recharge you, or the time you spend with your partner.
They’re probably the three things. So that’s the hacking the system piece, so that if you do have limited time together, the time you do spend together, or the time that you’re giving yourself, you are spending this quality time, and you’re not going out and getting blind drunk, or going shopping every weekend and buying whole lot of stuff.
So just work out what’s the right thing for you. That’d be my three things. What about you Beautiful?
Tamara: Mine would be the same. And the fourth thing would be is communicate.
Whether that’s with your partner, whether that’s with your friends, your family, your manager, communicate what that balance looks like for you and be vulnerable in those positions. I’m very lucky that my family understands that very, very well. And if they didn’t, that would make my life a lot harder, and a lot more stressful, and I would have to sacrifice areas that I ultimately at the moment want to be really driven in. So communicate would probably be the last one.
Joel: Yeah. Which you’re awesome at.
Well done. I really enjoyed today, it was a great topic and fun to talk about.
Tamara: Yeah, I have absolutely loved it and I can’t wait to record the next episode with you Handsome.
Tamara: Thank you for joining me today. If you’d like more information about today’s show, you can read my show notes and any relevant links at FIITCollective.com/2 that’s F, I, I, T, collective.com forward slash two.
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