One of the lessons that 2020 offered us was how to best use our time to strike a healthier work-life balance. Whether it’s prioritizing daily tasks, stepping away from the desk for an afternoon walk, or getting enough sleep, there are practical steps each of us can take to embrace a well-balanced lifestyle in the new year.
Step 1: Organization (and Sprints)
For CapeSpace member Dale Shadbegian, the CEO of Cape & Plymouth Business Media, the key to achieving balance is all about organization. He schedules his most important tasks for the morning, from 6 to 7 a.m., before his children begin school.
He doesn’t work straight through the day, but in a short series of sprints that demand his attention and focus. Those sprints are typically between 8 and 11 a.m., noon and 2 p.m., and “then it’s a free for all,” he laughs. “With the barriers for me, it’s not off and on, it is off-on, off-on, off-on, all day.”
As part of his approach to work, Shadbegian will never leave a task unfinished. “I can’t end my work day if I have things left undone,” he said. “It’s not in my personality.”
Step 2: Health
CapeSpace member Julia Furtado-Lavoie’s step to a healthier lifestyle can be traced back to 2004. “I used to work all the time. I gained a ton of weight. I wasn’t healthy and I went to my doctor and found out I was pre-diabetic. … I decided I was going to change my life and I did,” she said. “I lost 60 pounds and got really into working out, got inspired by it, and got certified to teach Zumba.”
Seventeen years later, Furtado-Lavoie still has a passion for fitness, only now she teaches spin cycling, roughly four times a week.
Exercise is how she starts each morning – Furtado-Lavoie is the regional sales manager for Complete Payroll Solutions – because of how it energizes her for the remainder of the day.
“I start my morning moving in some way. It doesn’t have to be spin,” she said. “It can be yoga. It can be a walk. We should all start our day by moving our body.”
Since focusing on her personal health, Furtado-Lavoie said, she has witnessed the positive impact it has had on her professional career. “When I started teaching spin, my sales went up 20 percent. Now they’re up 30 to 40 percent,” she said. “I think it [exercise] makes you more efficient.”
Step 3: Freedom (and Sleep)
Two days before the end of the year, Shadbegian took a bicycle ride with his son to Subway for lunch. “I enjoy that freedom,” he said. “I consider that work-life balance. I was able to do that because I got the most important things done the first thing in the day.”
And then there’s the other component of health – a proper night’s sleep. “If you’re not getting a good night sleep and not taking care of yourself, it spills over into your professional life,” Shadbegian said.
“As an employer, I want my employees to turn their personal life off when they’re at work, and when they’re at home to turn their work life off,” he continued. “Part of getting a good night’s sleep is eating well and exercising so you have the energy when at work. … I find taking care of yourself is probably the biggest thing right now.”