work life marathon
Work-Life Balance is a Marathon – Not a Sprint

I wake up each morning at 4:30 a.m., often hitting the pavement for a run. It’s early, but these mornings motivate me and are a great time to think. And the other day, I realized that starting my day with a workout is a critical part of achieving the work/life balance that my family and I need.

I also realized this balance is definitely not a sprint, but a daily and personal marathon that takes practice, discipline and thoughtful planning.

Pre-Race

A successful race starts long before hitting that first stride. And that same “pre-prep” knowledge should be applied to achieve a healthy work/life balance.

As a father, husband and full-time social media manager, my day is always full. But centering myself with an early morning run gets my day off to a balanced start, giving me the remainder of the day to work and focus on my family. Setting aside a bit of personal time contributes to my productivity and helps me stay present throughout the day.

 

Warm-Up

My wife is a teacher and sticks to a tight schedule to arrive to work on time every day. And when she leaves, I stay in “dad-mode” until our kids are in their own classrooms. Before picking up my phone for the day or popping open my laptop, I spend time making sure my boys are dressed, fed and off to school. Creating a barrier between my home life and my work life – even a simple one like this – is a huge part of prepping for my day. And it’s even more important since I work from a home office four days a week, with nothing more than a door, to separate my home and work space.

 

Hit Your Stride

After a morning of self-care and family, I usually feel ready to take on the work day. Living almost two hours away from Cisco’s headquarters, I’m very thankful that collaborative technology, like Cisco WebEx and Cisco Spark, allows me to be on-demand. Instead of sitting through rush hour traffic, I have the flexibility to work at my own pace.

Collaborative tools also help me in another area that can challenge remote workers– staying connected. And with Cisco Spark for example, I can connect with my teams and enjoy fairly rapid responses, thanks to “meet anywhere and everywhere” technology features. And if I ever find myself out-and-about during my workday, I just keep in contact with my teams using the Cisco Spark phone app.

 

Cool Down

Enjoying instantaneous connections and experiencing an office atmosphere without setting foot in an office, it’s tempting to respond to every email or to answer every call. But even the work race has a finish line.

At the end of the day, I once again draw the line between work and family time, which is key to having a work/life balance that doesn’t leave you feeling too burned out to enjoy your personal life or feeling disconnected from your job. With my family, dinnertime is the time for us to come together. And I don’t work during this time. So if at all possible, enjoy your own “cool down” that comes after your hopefully productive work day.

When running, I set the pace that works for me. And knowing my daily goals helps determine that pace and the tools I use to finish. Likewise, everyone has to carve out a work/life balance that works for them, accounting for personal and work goals, obligations and freedoms.

Again – it’s a marathon and not a sprint. So set your goals and run the “work/life” balance race that works for you.

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