5 Tips to Stop Glorifying “Busy” and Help Your Team Balance

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Work / life balance. Everyone talks about it but few have really experienced it, much less achieved it. We have become a society that glorifies busyness. How many times when asked “how are you” is your answer “busy?” And then the commiserating head nodding begins.

I have to confess, I used to be the queen of busy. I unconsciously took pride in being busy. As a nonprofit executive, I justified it by saying I was helping others and supporting my team. I never had time to do anything socially because I was (you guessed it) busy. The success I experienced in my career only reinforced that the crazy hours were what it took to climb the ladder.

But one day I was called to the carpet on that mindset. One of my program directors told me, in no uncertain terms, that she had no interest in being an executive director because she didn’t want to sacrifice her family and work all the time. In her mind, I was successful and good at my job because of the hours I logged. Ouch. A huge part of my role was to help develop my team and their career path. But I was actually turning them off of the very career I hoped to encourage. Luckily, she helped me shift my mindset and become a (slightly) better example.

  1. So what example you are setting? Here are some things that helped me shift myself and my team… Be mindful of hours. In many professions, there is a good chance you are on call 24/7. Very few companies keep 9 – 5, Monday through Friday hours any more. There are weekends, evening, holiday hours. Yes, all of that does need to be covered but it amazing what can happen with a little creativity and teamwork. Challenge your team to find the solution that helps everyone have time to re-charge and still run a great organization.
  2. Break the cycle of glorifying busyness. Is your team glorifying busyness? Try a week of not using the word busy! If you unconsciously encourage busyness, instead focus on promoting efficiency, a job done well, excellent service, being financially responsible, and going home to re-charge.
  3. Get crystal clear on goals. Knowing exactly what you and your team are working towards will help to ensure everyone is working on worthwhile tasks that are focused on specific results.
  4. Communicate. Have honest conversations regarding expectations for hours and help each other set boundaries.
  5. Schedule and honor down time. If your company has non-traditional hours, that can be a great place for some flex time. Again, work as a team to determine how that may work for you.

Keeping the brightest and best at their brightest and best means your organization has to figure out this life balance thing. Staff that are healthy in spirit, mind and body will produce much better results than the alternative. Whatever your position, how can you help lead or start this process with your team? What conversation do you need to start? To be able to make the biggest difference in your community you first have to make sure you take care of you and your team.