In search of work-life balance

By Matter

One of the great things about life at Matter is that we all respect the work-life balance. We live by our motto that the “results matter,” but within that focus we are understanding if a co-worker has to tend to a child’s doctor’s visit or deal with a personal appointment.

This quest for balance is nothing new. When I was a kid, I saw Ann Romano taking things “one day at a time,” but during the past several months, since the arrival of my second child, I’ve been thinking more and more how to achieve that blessed balance.

Clearly, I’m not alone. About a month ago, the federal government held the White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility with President Obama calling the work-life juggle a series of high-wire acts. The Christian Science Monitor summed up the event reporting, “Although many corporations have embraced a degree of workplace flexibility, some human-resource experts say that workers still face a mismatch between family demands and workplace policies – and that better resolving the conflicts could benefit employers as well as employees.”

Regardless of whatever flexible programs your employer may offer, PR by its nature, like today’s news cycles, rarely allows for true time “off the clock.” With that in mind, I offer some of my PR-inspired tips that help keep own juggle in check:

  • Deadlines: Reporters live and breathe by them and so should we. Etch press deadlines in stone on your calendar. But, also try to set some deadlines for home projects, too. (E.g., “I will fold that load of laundry while watching Tori & Dean.”)
  • Inverted pyramid: The sheer volume of all of your professional and personal obligations can be paralyzing. Take 60 seconds to decide what absolutely must get done and what can wait a bit. You’ll feel some instant zen.
  • Network: PR is all about relationships, right? Well, reach out! There are tons of online resources, for parents especially, to share advice and laughs. Some of my favorites stops are to:
    • Examine thought-provoking topics at The Wall Street Journal’s The Juggle blog
    • Trade ideas with other parents at Nickelodeon’s community “We’re not perfect. We’re parents.”
    • Read other working parent stories at Working Mother Magazine
    • Check out coping strategies at iVillage and eHow
    • Laugh along with Country Fried Mama, a blog written by a former co-worker and good friend of mine
  • News announcements: Share great news with your top target – yourself! Remind yourself why you work. Think of a project that turned out well in the office, or of a recent milestone accomplishment by your child (sitting up, riding a bike, graduating) all of which can help keep a smile on your face while you try to make more time in your day.

What works best for you to help balance your life at home and at work? Share your best suggestions!