Posts Tagged work life balance
Now, after I heard the other day that my blog is boring, and that blogging is boring, I don’t really know what to say. I admit that I used to blog more about work related topics or topics of cb consulting. However, to be honest, I haven’t had much time.
My latest project, mexad, is going well. I launched the company in the UK (HQ is in Germany, and it is not my company ) in January and we started recruiting now, continue recruiting, getting our own office and making a huge progress. I am careful about what to write here, as the technology is so new, advanced and amazing, that too many people want to know too many details Nevertheless, it is an amazing start-up to be involved in with a steep learning curve. All that comes of course with lots of work, long hours etc. But I enjoy that, particularly as I sometimes manage to go home early-ish, see the boy off to bed, and then finish what I have to finish from home later. Flexibility is key.
So overall I believe that my work-life balance has been good. Of course it has been better, but it has also been worse. Getting used to not being at home, not seeing your son during the week is one thing. I also need to get used of not working – for my main job or cb consulting – at the weekend, and being 100% daddy and husband. All of which still takes time to get used to. Mainly, so I believe, because I never stand still, always think, and like to get things done instantly, rather than write them down and get a reminder. Although the latter works well too
Brings me to the topic of productivity. You must have seen my first presentation on that, and I am currently working on more of the same/similar. So over time I want to bring out more information about productivity, work-life balance, Buddhism and management, and time management. Prioritising is something you learn quickly in a start up when you never have enough time to do everything. Fast pace environment – and I am loving it.
This week has passed quickly because of the above. I had very serious thoughts too. A friend of mine lost his wife after long illness, and I have been emailing with a close friend about “home, fatherland and being lost in the big city”. Both serious topics that make you stop thinking about your routine, long hours, long commutes and the idea of “becoming a Shepard in Australia“. The latter is an idea of mine going back over 10 years to just live the wild life….
Anyway, I believe we don’t stop often enough to relax, stop thinking and reflect. We seem to always be in a hurry and not to look back. I am in the process of learning that too, with the help of Tai Chi, meditation and relaxation techniques.
One last word about Colin. He loves crawling, and climbing. He seems to find lots of joy at the crèche in the local Spa, playing with the slide and toys. Hence I might take him there tomorrow. He is so much fun, if you take the time for him. He laughs and giggles, speaks “mum”, speaks “dad”, and you can almost get whole conversation with him.
Also, we went to a good friend’s wedding this weekend in Germany. That was amazing, as they are a very lovely couple. I was reunited with a lot of university fraternity friends again, and had some great conversation – a really good time. We never get that young together again (German proverb, “so jung sehen wir uns nicht wieder”). Shame time seems to pass that quickly. It has been 10 years since I left university in Germany. Pictures to follow or on Facebook.
Enough for today, have a great bank holiday tomorrow, a good week and always look ahead.
Never stop to look at the ground……only those who look at the horizon will find the right path….
Love and Happiness,
Wow, what a week. Hardly saw the office this week, or home. But absolutely loved this week too…
Dear work diary,
I spent all Monday in meetings and late into the evening to do work in the office, whilst on Tuesday it didn’t look much better. However, I made it home for Colin’s bath. Wednesday, whilst my boss was over from Germany, we spend most of the day in meetings, decided on a new office and I made it to Manchester and back before having a great time with clients in a Thai restaurant and club called Bam Bou. After a short night we had more meetings, and the week was finished with a day in the office.
Dear life diary,
I had a fabulous week, seeing my son grow up, clapping his hands. He also almost walks and is very cute to watch in the bath. At the weekend we met a lot of his friends. Friday night my wife convinced me to go for an Indian which was a fantastic idea. I was met at the train and we took Colin along. On Saturday we actually managed to spend the day away at the sea. We went to Whistable.
What shall I say. This week really flew past. Whilst writing part of this our Saturday diner is in the oven. An experiment of cheese crusty chicken with asparagus and tatties. Cigar maybe Movie maybe. I am exhausted and think that all the ideas I had to do alongside work just don’t get enough attention.
By the way attention. I now get poked by my wife more often through facebook as she got herself an i-phone. I know, I am the old geek now with a blackberry whilst she is the cool lady with the white i-phone. Not much to add, lol.
That should be all for today. Apologies for another short post, but I try to improve next week….
Love & Kindness to you all,
A week that starts with a Monday off cannot be a bad week. Only problem, if you work in sales/marketing, you cannot call people the first day after Easter. Or you can, but with little success.
So this week, just work wise, was both slow and successful. We are moving big time!
My private life is focusing around work-life balance. Or life-life balance. After last week’s post about “what the future holds” in terms of where we would like to live, my wife and I started discussing where and what is the right way forward. Don’t worry, we haven’t come to any conclusion, and nothing will happen for a while. Again, there are reasons for that
However, at the moment I am struggeling to find the motivation to get up in the morning other than for work, e.g. my motivation to go to the gym before work seems gone. I am tired and worn out. It seems I need, according to my wife, a big kick up the ass. That is fine. I am known for pulling myself up and giving myself a kick in the ass, so I don’t consider that a problem. However, I still cancelled the gym
I am open here, although in public, but my life has been focused around work for most of its life / part (interesting analogy). Anyway, whilst work is the center of my life, I am thinking that maybe that has to change. And, by all means, this is not because I don’t like my job. Just the opposite, I enjoy my work very much, enjoy what I do and don’t want to miss it.
Then, watching Masterchef this week made me think that people like Dhruv, Tim or Alex have something everyone has: passion for something. In their case it is cooking and food. My passion is dealing with people, developing, training and making people great: coaching people. Managing people or dealing with people in my job is enjoyable for me. I am at the right job where I am.
However, I believe I need to look into a passion outside work. I hear people saying “you have your wife and kid, a great family”, and they are right. My family and their development is my passion, I just need to realise it more often. I love being with them, doing things.
An example is this weekend. We managed to spring clean the house, tidy the garden and got so much things done. Colin was enjoying being outside discovering many things. And I didn’t even manage to bid on the Grand National. It was all family, home and enjoying time off. And it was great. A very relaxing and enjoyable weekend.
I am very positive and looking forward to achieving lots of things. In my work, but also in my private life.
Anyway, enough of a blether, enough thoughts and views inside my head. Hope I didn’t bore you too much.
Have a great week, full of energy. The weather is surely helping!
This week must have been the best in years. It is almost like I found my life and found a way how to achieve it. Really, I spend a lot of time with the family and noticed how important that is for me. Just on Saturday I got myself, I mean I got Colin, a hippo for the bath:
On Wednesday I met with good friends from my old work and realised how much I enjoyed the job. Working with the people you like and working as a great team towards a common goal. It was so good to catch up over a few glasses of wine, pizza and great chat. Thanks people.
And, I heard this story about life, work and work life balance – still not sure what to make of it:
A farmer once got some land and thought it was on the sunny side and has a fruitful and great soil. So he was full of enthusiasm to have the responsibility to dig up the land and grow his crops.
He knew that it would take until the next year for him to harvest the fruits, and that it would be a long way to get there. But he wanted to make sure that the soil was perfect, the seeds were perfect and that things would grow in it came out perfect too. So he worked together with some friends who helped him choosing the seeds, and helped him choosing the water, and helped him choosing the right time to put things in place. Some lend him machinery and some helped him to understand how he got the best crops in the world.
Times weren’t easy, times were hard. He had to chase people to get the water for the field before the few shoots dried up. He had to chase people to get some of the machinery in time to get the seeds in the ground. Whilst sometimes it happened in time, sometimes it didn’t. At the same time he started looking around.
On the left was a field his predecessor had worked on and he noticed that it was drying up and didn’t really produce any profit from the crops. It seemed as if they had tried to put more and more effort into the field, just to see that they couldn’t harvest enough to make a profit. However, on his right was a big field. That belonged to a farmer who had done what he was planning to do. But look, he had all the equipment, a few full time helpers and has started a few years earlier than him. He had been harvesting for long, made more profit and ultimately could afford more machinery. Really, a field how it should be.
The farmer got really sad. He knew what he was doing was right, but he thought that he was a few years too late. It seemed that no matter how much effort he put into his field, and however much help he might get, his field would never meet the expectations he had for himself, nor would it be able to compete with the older, flourishing fields. It just wouldn’t work out.
The morale of this story is simple. Sometimes you get into situations in life where you never harvest what you sow. Even in the best playing field with the best players in any game, you never get the best result if they don’t all play towards the same goal. And the same was true for the person who told me this story. He eventually gave up his field and moved on to a new pat, with new friends.
Enough of a story telling for today. Have a great week.
Love and Happiness to you all,
Yes, you read correctly. There is a new approach David Allen, the GTD guy, wrote in his book “Making it all work“. Or maybe it is not a new approach but a different thinking I personally like.
He says pretty much to forget about a work life balance. David argues that people put too much emphasis and pressure trying to separate the two: work & life. He further says that the concept of balance is irrelevant as you only seem to focus on it when you don’t have it.
By just focusing on what you are doing that moment, trying not to count the minutes you play with your dog as supposed to type your article for the press, it gives you more energy. It is about living in the now and thinking about “What am I doing”, “What is next”. David says that the key element is to eliminate the distraction, whatever its source, and to have focused alignment in whatever you’re doing.
I find this approach quite right. If I worked for myself or at home and let’s say I have to go shopping, then I go shopping. In return, I work late at night catching up with my emails. Of course, some companies already offer that, and it is a common approach for some. And, I would not differentiate between my work and my private life.
By desperately trying to separate the two, e.g. working 9-5 in an office, then going home and not looking at any work related things at all, would put more pressure on me. Naturally I try to not think about work when home and not thinking about home when at work. Maybe the way I demonstrate it exaggerates things, but generally speaking, I agree to not separate the two.
Personally, I don’t mind having a day off but checking and in urgent cases responding to my emails, or even make a phone call. When I get home after work, I surely want to spend as much time as possible with my boy, then put him to bed. And, if there is important work, I might just work for another hour or so. In return, I would (and can) expect my employer to give me time if my child is ill and I have to work from home, or come in late as I need to go and see the doctor with him.
But, and that is the way I understand David Allen, people in general worry too much and think too much about the “what if” rather than “what’s next”. It is about productivity and about making the most of your time. If you are officially at work or at home or if you just in “your time”. And that is what counts.
Of course for blue collar workers that have more of a regulated, maybe even machine driven work pace, things are different as they cannot really do anything else whilst supervising a production line. And, whilst being at home, there might less work to be done. Work might not be as flexible.
Bottom line: Stop Worrying, and Start Living. Dale Carnegie wrote about that more than 60 years ago.
Stop being desperate about a balance between work and life. Treat all as life and organise yourself. From there, you will be productive: for work, for life, for yourself.
Hope that makes sense.
Wow. Time seems to be flying. Is it really Sunday again?
I need to re-cap my week. Monday was just a big catch up on things and sorting out schedules. Really, that was my whole day. Tuesday was an eye opening trip that made me think a lot about what to come. And, Wednesday and Thursday just flew past. Friday was great. A very enjoyable and productive day at work and my usual take away pizza – falling asleep on the sofa.
I feel like I am progressing in Tai Chi a lot and that my work life balance improves too. Why? Several reasons really. Firstly I started using a direct train from Beckenham to Farringdon. Saves me no time but the hassle of changing from tube to train which in the rush hour are heavily packed. However, it also means I leave the office 10 minutes earlier and have the feeling that I have a better cut between work and life. I don’t mind being on demand via blackberry all night anyway but with the nice weather it is great to get this flexibility, particularly since I start at 8 am anyway. So that is all good.
Secondly, my ipod gets me a lot of awesome podcasts, including innovative and managerial topics from top industry leaders. I really enjoy that. A really clever invention.
Also, which I think is the major part of my “new life” is the re-discovery of sports. Ever since I have been back to the gym on a regular 2x a week basis I feel much better. It not only gives me a “healthier” feel but also a good way of relaxing, de-stressing and calming down. That in combination with the podcasts which I listen to whilst exercising really help.
Now, on top of that we have met a lot of friends this week. Just yesterday we met with our neighbours and their almost 1 year old daughter and had a fab BBQ, a great time and lots to talk about. Today we had lunch with a great friend and had great chats. All that contributes to an almost perfect life.
I think these are my real thoughts at the moment. I am very happy. The summer is coming and all signs show that it seems to be a good year. How blessed am I?
Love and Kindness to you out there,
I want to complete the story about managing stress which I started on Wednesday.
How do we cope and manage stress so it does not affect our health nor our life style?
I guess one thing is the perception and your internal attitude towards things.
E.g. researchers still speak about negative and positive stress and some say that the latter should actually help us, similar to exercise. But the majority of articles say that it does not matter how you perceive stress, as in general it cannot be good for you.
However, if you think positive, you will be able to generate less stress. E.g. you cramp up less and you have less physical tension. That will help you to think clearly and get less wound up.
Exercise and hobbies – you remember in my last post I was writing about them. Yes, you need this all important time for yourself. You need that time and ideally combine it with a relaxing hobby, e.g. walking the dog or exercising. The latter combination would be best as e.g. exercising reduces your blood pressure combating heart diseases and if it helps you to reduce stress, it is a powerful healthy combination. Wow, we should all do it. I have done it but get too lazy doing it. Really, we just need to keep up the good work, don’t we? Ideally do it in a group. The group exercises I joined are more fun and you are more motivated staying with it than doing any exercise by yourself.
So looking after yourself, taking a break from work, not working through lunch and relaxing whilst you work will help you. Healthy food definitely contributes to that. Stay away from greasy, fatty stuff.
Also, if you were in a situation that causes stress, confront it. This could be anything from work to your relationship. Don’t ignore the problem. Make sure if you travel to sort things out in advance and not to leave it until it is too late, e.g. be organised to get your passport, visa and immunisations sorted!
And, that is really it. Doesn’t sound that hard, does it?
I believe that in order to successfully manage stress you need to be aware of the problem, discuss and tackle it and get on with it. You need to create a healthy work life balance. With the right balance you will even be better at what you are doing, e.g. your work or studies.
So get on with it. Live it!
I think the last time I wrote about work life balance was regarding the entrepreneur and intrepreneur.
A thought I had was when I have been working from home, which happens occasionally, whether I have a better or worse work-life-balance.
And, the answer is difficult. I remember that studying for my MBA we discussed that if you work from home, you should get your own room/desk and area in the house. This way you could “go home” after work and relax, e.g. getting your life.
However, for me as an occasional “working from home” person, it is not that easy. A small house with only one proper desk, it is like you are in your living room all day.
Often, when I discuss that with clients, I get the answer of “I would get too distracted at home” – I agree, some people can. For me it is usually the other way around:
I get up my usual time and sit on the laptop about one hour earlier than I usually do. Then, from a lunch point of view, I eat whatever is around and never really feel hungry, ergo do not have a proper break until the late afternoon. Which is, when I go back to my desk and deal with some work over in the US and end up shutting down the laptop around 7 or 8 pm.
Wow, that makes it a full 11 hour day (only noticed that now). And, my way home is quick. I just sit on the other side of the table and end up being home
Now, there are two sides to that:
I personally get more distracted by work than by home, e.g. I enjoy working and what I do, so end up working more at home but cannot really escape work physically. But, I have enough confidence to turn things off if it is getting too much.
Finding the right balance is important. And, as long as you enjoy the work you are doing, working from home occassionally is fine. However, I actually enjoy being in the office too – even if I am alone in the office. Just to get away from home Is that double minded?
I read “big brother’s” comment about life-life balance. There are so many discussions about what is right or wrong and I believe nothing is right or wrong as long as it works for you (and ultimately for the person you work for). If you cannot turn off the laptop when it’s time and you cannot turn off your blackberry when needed, then you do need to work on your priorities. You need to enjoy what you are doing, that is really the key.
Some more Buddhist thoughst on life-life balance can be found at balamadana.
Enjoy a relaxing weekend.
People always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them. – George Bernard Shaw
This morning I finished GETTING THINGS DONE by David Allen. The above is a quote from his book. I must say, this book should be compulsory for everyone working. Full stop. Not only Managers, MDs – no everyone. Buy it directly at Amazon!
It shows the right way and attitude on how to be organised, efficient and effective. No more time wasting unless you have too much spare time on you hands And, you will – compared to your current status. You will love this book and the techniques shown.
Also, there are Seminars in London:
Two different seminars are being presented.
The first, GTD Mastering Work Flow, presented on October 23, offers greater focus on actual implementation of the GTD methodology. This seminar is very tactically oriented – how to get quick control using the fundamental thinking process and the five phases of work flow mastery. Led by senior David Allen company consultants, this seminar will provide insights and guidelines for implementation of tools and techniques in your daily workflow. Learn more about this seminar series here.
The second seminar, GTD The Roadmap, is a one day event led by David Allen, on October 24, to introduce you to Getting Things Done concepts and principles. GTD The RoadMap offers a higher level, more theoretical overview of the GTD concepts. The seminar will focus on the whole picture of the self-consulting process, including prioritizing from multiple horizons, applying the core productivity principles, and making change stick, also offering the opportunity to see David Allen live. You can learn more about the GTD The Roadmap seminar series here.
Some Friday reading I picked up:
Very interesting stuff. Does that mean I am better off and healthier if I work as an intrapreneur?
Have a good weekend