Project Management

Seeking work-life balance

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Female Element blog is about experience and current trends in project management, digitalization and agile organizational transformation seen by eyes of a woman. Why to distinguish such view? Female and male brain operates differently and we may have various interpretations for the same situation. Female leadership is a thing and should be recognised. But mostly because more inclusivity for women is good for all aspects of business and we still have way to go.

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Categories: Agile, Leadership, Leadership

Thank you for your comments on my last post about interviewing for a new job and relocation to Europe! I

have joined my new team and became fairly busy for the last couple of months. Starting a new job can be easily overwhelming, it involves not only the new processes and organization to learn, but also to build your network, dive into the company culture and keeping up with existing teams. How to restore the work-life balance then?

My assignments can be characterized as management of large organizational changes and as such is never done. My to do list is always full and I could easily stay occupied from early morning till late hours every day. But that is not what is happening. As mother of three kids, I see reaching a work life balance as a must.

I also realize a lot of pressure on women, particularly mothers, who want to provide their care to their families and at the same time to keep up with their career and develop professionally. Unfortunately they are often facing unwanted judgmental comments whether they are dedicated either enough to their families or to their jobs. I’ve been there. But after all that does not matter as long as you’re able to find the balance that makes YOU happy!

I would like to share few tricks that may help.

Set boundaries to manage your time

My experience is that once I mentally admit to myself that I can work long hours, evenings or weekend, it happens in a second. Any free space in my time that I’m willing to dedicate to work is immediately filled up. How to get out of this? Set yourself boundaries and keep your spare time for urgent matters only. Treat them as exception, not a standard. It is hard, requires a lot of self-discipline, but it is definitely helping.

Delegate and orchestrate rather than manage and control

Centralized decision making creates bottlenecks. Is it easier to save discussions and just do it by yourself? In certain situations for sure. Does coaching and mentoring your team consume time and energy? Yes indeed. But from a long term perspective, empowered teams not only foster intrinsic motivation of the team members and deliver better results, it also helps people to grow professionally and increase their skill maturity. All these aspects then ultimately helps to manage the workload.

Prioritize and minimize number of your work in progress items

When it comes to prioritizing and delivering items on the to-do list, I use approach borrowed from agile practices – focus on the necessary things to avoid gold-plating, create the outputs when they are needed and gather early and often feedback from your stakeholders to adjust quickly and prevent rework.

It is necessary to admit that certain things will never get done. Not because you skip them due to the lack of time. The reason often is that priorities change over time, stakeholder requirements are altered after seeing a first draft or certain discussed concepts are later abandoned after digging in more detail. Keeping you to-do list verified with your stakeholders helps to spending time on items that are really critical for success and overall helps you to deliver the right outcomes.


What is your experience with seeking work-life balance? Looking forward to hear your tips!

Posted on: April 26, 2019 05:13 AM | Permalink

Comments (14)

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It means focus what is high priority of life requirements and balance all of them it's like part of scope management!!!!

Hi Lenka: Seeking a work-life balance is a wonderful goal. For me, there have been times in my life when I've been better at this than other times. Beyond the items you shared, taking time to manage my health (exercising, making healthy food choices, getting a good night of sleep and keeping stress under control) has been the best foundation for keeping my work life and my home life balanced.

Hi Lenka,
Very relevent article and great tips you've shared. Thanks for the same. Considering our working life style in 24×7 connectivity with your team, what is your suggestions.

Hi, great read!
I too have 3 kids and understand the importance of work life balance. Setting boundaries is very critical in this effort. I have even set a "time to leave work" alarm. I go to bed early and rise at 4 am each morning to maximize my day. Limiting social media helps as well.

Hi Lori! Thanks for adding the aspect of the healthy life style. My stress level definitely require some attention :)

Hi Alok! Do I understand it right that by 24/7 connectivity you mean working in global environment with teams spreading over different time zones? Or 24/7 operations? Either of this is very hard to manage with communication coming all the time. I would consider having seniors in my team to handle part of the 24/7 and then setting up information sharing meetings or other platforms.

Tamer, yes, we need to manage scope of our activities, that’s spot on

Hi Talisha! Great to hear your situation is similar, we’re not alone at this:) good luck!!! Thanks for sharing the tip about limiting social media.

Thank you Lenka for your valuable feedback.

Lenka, great advice! We definitely need to maximize value delivered out of our time spent and it becomes quickly obvious there are diminishing returns on time spent on some tasks.

I understand the to do list wll never be crossed out completely, but there's always tomorrow to finish what the team couldn't complete today.

Hi Lenka, great article. 

Thank you Lenka for the advice. Indeed, prioritizing and rationalizing tasks are vital to balance work and life. Building mental and physical resilience can help to sustain work-life balance too by conditioning and regulating.

What can be a better blog than this one on a day when I returned home from work after 10PM; started at the work at 7 AM. What a day and then saw this article. Great suggestions!!!! Thank you.

Very interesting thanks for sharing

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