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May 28, 2014

Do you have a healthy balance in your personal and professional life-or do you need to "work at work" toward a healthy balance?

A year-end staff survey on employee engagement was sent out to our staff in 2013. Approximately 33 percent of our participating employees indicated they struggle with balancing their work and life needs—for the benefit of their families as well as for themselves. As a result, HR and Staff Development with our corporate senior leadership have been focusing a number of our efforts in 2014 on helping staff members address their work-life balance.

Part of our renewed efforts in staff wellness and engagement included inviting Maura Thomas, founder and chief trainer of Regain Your Time, to attend our Global Leadership conference earlier this month. Maura presented to our leadership staff specific actions we can all incorporate to ease the toll that less-effective work habits can take on work-life balance.

The feedback we received after Maura’s particular training session demonstrates that our staff is embracing control over chaos. Here are five of the top takeaways our branch directors and senior leadership have incorporated:

1.    Simplify your tools. Many people duplicate their work while managing paper and electronic files and calendars. Start fresh—purge your files and the drawers in your workspace, keeping an “action” drawer.

2.    Learn to be more proactive rather than reactive. Set aside productive time by scheduling specific times during your work week to respond to emails, follow-up on action items, and plan ahead.

3.    Send yourself a note. Are you juggling spinning plates? Send yourself a quick email, schedule a task on your mobile phone calendar, or use your smartphone to send yourself a voice memo.  Then, at the start of each new day you can use a variety of apps and tools to keep on track of your priorities and "to-do" list - even as they change and grow. 

4.    Don’t hesitate to allow for focused time. Some staff are fearful of being inaccessible, yet their responsiveness can lead to becoming distracted by a growing task list and the sheer amount of daily communication they may receive via e-mail. Silence your phone while in a meeting or during times you’ve set aside—someone will always be able to find you if they need to track you down! 

5.    Use a calendar to its maximum potential. Use a team calendar for staff leave, meetings, and so on, that everyone on your staff can overlay on their own calendars. Also use your calendar to prioritize tasks based on their due dates and the time it will take you to complete each task. 

Implementing ideas like this not only helps us but our families as well. Spouses, children—the loved ones in our lives benefit when we have the time and energy to give them what they need from us. How can you work toward more balance in your life that, in turn, will enhance your family life?

Listen to Bethany Christian Services’ Every Child podcast for more on issues relative to vulnerable children. From adoption and foster care to the introduction of sustainable social services in developing countries, Every Child features an informative discussion, led by Bethany’s President/CEO Bill Blacquiere, with leading voices from ministries and nonprofit organizations, as well as Christian authors and artists.

Bill Blacquiere is president and CEO of Bethany Christian Services, a leading global family preservation and child welfare agency.