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Work/Life Balance: Setting Work and Life Goals

Finding work/life balance is an important aspect of maintaining overall health and well-being. Healthy companies are built by healthy people—not at their expense. The core team at SXNM took some time to consider what work/life balance means to them and reflect on their struggles and achievements in finding it in their own lives. The following was written by Alison Anderson, Founder & CEO of SXNM, and is Part 4 of our 4-part series on this topic.

Like some other members of the SXNM team, I think there is a common misconception about what work/life balance is. I think achieving perfect balance by doing the same things each and every day is nearly impossible. For one thing, priorities shift over time as people learn and grow, make mistakes and achieve success. I think finding balance starts by setting SMART goals that you can work towards in different ways over longer periods of time. Like a mountain goat jumping from edge to edge to climb a summit, finding balance is more about forward momentum than standing still.

For example, maybe you got a promotion at work, or you’re not feeling as energetic as you used to. Both of these situations are going to upset the balance you had. You might need to spend some extra time learning the responsibilities of your new position, or getting into an exercise routine in your off hours. It’s important to be well-rounded as we go through these changes and priority shifts, but that doesn’t mean always working the same number of hours or sticking to the same routine. If you want the new position, and you want to be healthier, you’ll need to make changes.

There have been several times in my life where my priorities shifted a lot and I wasn’t sure how to stay balanced. One that comes to mind was my husband Mike’s first year of residency which saw him working 80 hour weeks in Houston, Texas. It meant I had to commute from Canada to Houston to see him and arrange my schedule differently to continue growing our relationship. Priorities changed, and the balance I had previously achieved had to be readjusted. I discovered how important communication, sleep, and having support from family/friends was during those times. But finding balance again also meant doing something new: volunteering at Rotaries Camp Enterprise.

By the time you read this, I will be on one of two buses filled with 75 students and a number of coaches to teach the best and brightest high school students in the Houston area how to run a business. It is one of my favourite weekends of the year because I love getting to know the students and having the chance to mentor them.

Leading up to it I always struggle with daily balance and break many of my rules, including prioritizing sleep. Nevertheless, volunteering actually helps me recharge my batteries and moves me toward one of my SMART goals. So balance for me is being able to make time for the things that I enjoy and that are important to me as well as having a career that is stimulating and satisfying. It doesn’t mean I do both of these for equal amounts every day, or that I remain rigid when circumstances around me change. It means being creative and flexible in finding ways to work towards my work and life goals.