We're sharing some of the insights from our internal MD blog, where we are given the opportunity each week to Ask Skipp Anything, posing any budding or burning questions they've got for Partners in Performance's Managing Director. Read on for Skipp's thoughts on work/life balance...
This is an important topic, although I don't acknowledge the framing of the question. To me it implies there is ‘work’ and then this other thing called ‘life’, and that all the good stuff is in the ‘life’ category and ‘work’ is something you do until you can free up time for ‘life’. I don’t see it that way. We spend a lot of our time at work so I want something I can do that is fun. And for me that is a matter of knowing what I love to do and what gives me energy, monitoring when things get too far away from that and then working out how to get them back on track.
It turns out for me that these things are:
- Pushing boundaries. I love the great results engagements deliver, I love it when our Global Services team figures out how to simplify a process, I love it when I learn and when others do as well. I love it when we invent something or try something different – when we improve and innovate what we do at Partners in Performance, bit-by-bit, creating something incredible. One of the best and most rewarding parts of my job is getting to support people in doing things that are extraordinary for them, helping them push their own boundaries.
- Working with others. I enjoy sharing ideas and energy, seeing or creating fun, and the fact that, in combination, we can create something new or better for our clients and our people.
- Having fun. This one is pretty straight-forward – like most of us, I like to laugh and enjoy myself along the way.
- Being engaged with family and friends.
- Exercising and eating well.
I know that if I fill my life up with these things, I'll have huge energy and enthusiasm and won't feel tired. But if these things don't get ticked in a day – or worse, two days in a row – I'll start to feel edgy or irritable. My subconscious knows that things aren't right.
If for example, my work hours get too long in a day and I don’t get to chat with my family, friends and a few people at work, or get to the gym, then I start to feel stressed. I've been doing this for decades now, so I work hard to prevent this from happening. I can also spot the ‘why am I feeling stressed’ a lot earlier and can fix it, because I know what I need to do to get back in balance.
If you haven’t worked out what your list of ‘things that make me happy/give me energy’ are, I’d thoroughly recommend it because in my experience small changes to ‘what is in’ your life make a big difference. Knowing really helps you spot when life is out of balance and allows you to take it back to the root case of what is missing, compared to those things that give you energy.
So, to wrap this up, I'm happy to say that my current life is close to my ideal life (unless someone will give me an eighth day a week, in which case I will happily take it).