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  1. Is Work-Life Balance REALLY Achievable?

    December 2, 2014 by Jenna

    When you look at the term ‘work-life balance’, you may wonder if there really is such a thing. Now while there is no ‘perfect’ way to find work-life balance, we shouldn’t aim to believe that it isn’t achievable. So what’s the solution?

    An article published by Alyssa Gregory discusses three important elements to consider when creating a work-life balance compromise:

    Firstly, when you think of the word balance, you think of weighing scales. Your work life on one side and our personal life on the other. It can add extra pressure to continually be striving to find an even balance between the two on a regular basis. Alyssa challenges you to get rid of the ‘balance’ aspect of the term and instead focus on ‘compromise’. Imagine compromise as a means of aiming for a level of give and take that satisfies all of your needs in the best way possible.

    In order to do this, there are three essential things you need to keep in front of you to make our struggle for acceptable compromise achievable.

    Priorities

    The first essential element involves taking a long, hard and realistic look at your priorities. You will then need to rank the level of importance of all aspects of your life, whether it’s work commitments, family, hobbies etc.

    It’s also important to recognise that your priorities will change, sometimes frequently, and if you’re not clear on what parts of your life need your attention first, achieving an acceptable compromise will be a struggle.

    Flexibility

    Being able to react and adapt to changes and unexpected surprises are vital as nothing is ever set in stone. Regroup and shuffle your priorities, and change directions when necessary. By doing this, you’ll gain the flexibility you need to move with the changes.

    Acceptance

    The reality is that some days are better than others and some priorities will be easier to satisfy than others.

    The key is to remember that with a constant give and take, and the goal of doing the best you can at any given time, you can trust that it will eventually all even out in the end.

    I personally agree that if all three points outlined above are applied, the outcome you want can be achieved.

    If I don’t set out my priorities in order of importance then I won’t be able to balance the time and energy I need to put towards them. If I’m not flexible or adaptable to changes in my work or personal life, then I will find it harder to move forward in the right direction. And if I don’t accept that some days I will kick a goal with my checklist and other days I won’t, then my expectations of perfection may add further pressure on myself and to my workload. So why not apply these methods and see what happens?

    Do you believe that work-life balance is achievable? If so, what do you do to make it work?


  2. Quit Being a Girl!

    June 28, 2011 by Jenna

    This week’s blog post is by guest blogger, Tiffany Whitby, from the Challenge Consulting recruitment team … (this is not Tiffany pictured here …)

    One of my passions is enhancing the role of women in business; specifically, examining and promoting strategies to ensure women have the opportunity to attain senior and management positions. As such I have actively joined a number of websites dedicated to this subject including; sphinxx, Ruby Connection and also Business Chicks.

    Of the 3, I recently attended a Business Chicks seminar titled ‘Nice Girls Don’t get the Corner Office’ based on the book by bestselling author Dr Lois P. Frankel, Ph.D. The 2 hour workshop was full of tips and helpful ideas to assist women get what they want out of their careers, first of which was her statement ‘quit being a girl’.

    Another one of her tips was don’t use preambles; so I will just get straight to the point with the top 10 tactics every woman needs in her skill set:

    Top 10 Tactics Every Woman Needs in her Skill Set:

    #1. Know your playing field

    – Boundaries, strategies and rules

    – What works in one organisation/industry won’t work in another

    – There are different boundaries for men and women

    Do not put statements into the form of questions, be direct and straight, and if needed add a tagline (which can soften the message)

    – Emulate winning women such as Gail Kelly

    #2. Be crystal clear about what you want

    – Know what you want. Until you have clarity about what this is, you are not going to get it

     #3. Identify your boundaries

    – Know where people can come over and in

    – Define your boundaries

     #4. Be willing to walk away

    We stay in situations to long. If everything has been done to turn around a bad situation and nothing has changed then leave!

     #5. Use headlines and taglines

    The most important thing we want people to know should be the first thing out our mouths (headline). Then use 3 supporting facts/data. Tagline at the end eg. ‘did I answer your question?’

    #6. Manage your emotions

    – If you feel as though you are about to cry in the workplace excuse yourself; crying in the workplace makes people feel uncomfortable

    – Put the tears into words and focus in the problem and solution

     #7. Plan in advance for how you will respond to resistance

    – Let people know you are planning on changing your behaviours and enlist their feedback and support

     #8. Understand (and use) the “Quid Pro Quo”

    – Something in exchange for something else

    – Leverage the relationships you have

    – If you give something, you receive a figurative ‘penny’ to use when you need something – make sure you use them!

    #9. Build your brand

    – Use the WALLET acronym:

    Write it down: write down what you want people to say about you when you leave a room

    Apply actionable behaviours: think about what a camera would be able to see

    Look to the edge: of the playing field

    Let others know about your brand

    Elicit feedback (360o feedback)

    Treat others with abundance (give things away eg. assistance on a project)

     #10. Employ contrast

    – Talk about what you do want and what you don’t want

    Dr Frankel then went on to explain the Top 10 Mistakes Women Make:

    #1. Not ‘getting it’: eg. Don’t wait to be invited for a position, pay rise, something you want. Create tactics and strategies

    #2. Working too hard: within everything organisation there is a baseline to which you should work towards, work up to this and set realistic boundaries with people

    #3. Not setting boundaries: work out what your vision is for what you want and ask yourself: “what is important to me?”

    #4. Striving for perfection: women will often put in 150%, when more often than not a job that is 80% there is good enough

    #5. Ignoring the look and sound of success: Credibility is made up by: 50% of how we look, 40% of how we sound, 10% of what we say. An example is the JFK vs Nixon debate. People say Nixon won for what he said, however JFK won based on how he looked.

    #6. Unclear branding/vision: we trust people who are consistent and likeable. Read the book “Brag! Tooting your own Horn without Blowing It” by Peggy Klaus

    #7. Staying too long in a bad situation: sunken costs (keep putting ‘something’ in thinking a situation is going to get better, when in fact it’s not). We need to understand when it’s time to walk away. Ask yourself the question: “What am I getting out of this?”

    #8. Waiting to be given what you want: Read the book “Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide” by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever

    #9. Using too many words: cut communication by 30%. The longer we talk the more the message gets diluted.  Queue answer question and then ask ‘have I answered your question?’ Be careful with body language.

    #10. Trusting your financial security to someone else: know where your finances are and where they are being invested. Stay involved with your money!

    Challenge Consulting’s online poll last week asked the question “What is the #1 mistake women make on their way to the top at work?” The results were:

    #1. Waiting to be “invited” instead of asking for a payrise, promotion, etc – 50%

    #2. An unwillingness to self-promote and “toot their own horn” – 29%

    #3. Staying too long in a bad situation – 14%

    #4. Striving for perfection: putting in 150% when often 80% will do – 7%

    With all of this information I have now taken in it is time to put it into practice. As Dr Frankel said, let people know you are making changes, so, everyone: I am making changes … don’t say I didn’t warn you!




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