Work/Life Balance

On a recent morning, I arrived at work to a flurry of panicked emails and voicemail messages from a client who needed to book a talent for a last minute revision.  Before I had the chance to fully listen to even one of her voicemail messages, she called in breathlessly asking, “did you get my emails?!?!”  I took a deep breath and explained to her that I had just arrived at work and had not received her messages because they were all sent outside of business hours (her first email was time stamped 11:30pm).  I explained that we work 9am-5pm and unless we have a reason to be “on-call”, we do not check our emails or voicemails outside of business hours.  Her response?  “That’s ridiculous.” 

Hmmm….  Ridiculous…  for whom?  While it may be ridiculous by her life balance standards, it’s not so very ridiculous for mine.

Now, never fear, we booked the talent necessary to complete the client’s job.  All’s well that ends well.  But it prompted a discussion here at the NUTS office.

In an era where mobile devices and computers make around-the-clock communication possible, isn’t there still a need to establish some kind of separation between our work lives and the rest of our lives?  Is that really so ridiculous? 

A recent study by the Pew research center showed that 90% of 18-29 year olds sleep with their cell phones. Is that ridiculous? 

I guess it depends upon the individual.  We truly believe that in order to be good agents and co-workers, we need to be good human beings with lives that are in balance. 

Don’t get me wrong — we often work into the evening and take work home on the weekend.  Sometimes it just has to be done.  However, we try to limit that whenever possible! Time is a critical and non-renewable resource.  It is a precious commodity.  As such, it needs to be managed wisely.  It would make no sense if I allowed one client’s project to occupy all of my time on any given work day. In the same way, it would not benefit those I work with if my entire life was committed to work.  We all need to do things that nourish the social, physical, emotional, and spiritual facets of life as well.  As for me, making sure these other parts of my life are in balance, I’m able to commit more fully to the tasks at hand when I’m at work.  

I know that some of you right now are thinking, “But I LOVE my job.  I LOVE to work.”  To those of you who feel that way, terrific.  I love my job too.  However, to borrow the words of Bruce Weinstein from his article on Businessweek.com, “It’s a blessing to be able to say (you love to work), but all passions should have limits.  A fully human life is a life in balance, and that means giving due time to all of the things that enrich us, fulfill us, and make our lives worth living.”

May we all find our own balance.  Here’s to a healthy and balanced New Year!

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