It’s a quick post this week as I’m in a five-day training seminar for our new web-based enterprise solution for my other business – Outdoorplay, Inc. (http://www.outdoorplay.com). And on a related note, it’s amazing how far web-based enterprise solutions have come! We went with NetSuite and I’m overwhelmed with the level of sophistication and detail we are learning about this platform. Very excited and somewhat daunted by what we’ve bit off! However, I’m always up for a challenge and this system will replace at least four of our current systems while also being much more efficient.
Now, on with the matter at hand. Whenever, I get near the work/life balance issue, I have to check my Baby Boomer, Type A, Yuppie attitudes at the door and review my own career path and lifestyle choices. To get off that very low soapbox, I remind myself that how we feel – successful, happy, disappointed, stressed-out, etc. – is the real measure of our work/life balance. If we love what we do during our professional time and during our personal time, then our work/life balance is in sync.
Previous posts and articles have focused on how to be more engaged in our professional career and what perspectives can provide us a higher likelihood of success in those endeavors. This post addresses some things we can do on the “life” side of the work/life balance equation to feel more success in those endeavors.
The fundamental proposition here is that there are a number of small but very easy things we can all do to make a difference. Most of these suggestions require changes of behavior, which are always difficult, but the amount of change is small. Some might even say nascent. The point is that doing even one or two them will make a difference over time.
What’s in it for You?
There are two benefits we each derive from doing one or more of the things listed below, one is long-term and one is immediate. The long-term benefit is that we are shifting course every so slightly, which, over the course, of months, years and decades results in a significant departure from our current trajectory. The golfers reading this know what I mean: A millimeter of difference in the angle of contact between club and ball results in yards of directional difference during the flight of the ball.
However, the immediate benefit is even more rewarding: We get to FEEL good right now about what we’re doing. If life’s success can be measure by how good we feel about ourself and those around us, then these actions directly result in success. Thus, small changes in every day actions drive better work/life balance.
Acts of Green Living
Here are 10 things we each can do right now to improve our work/life balance. They are all pretty self-explanatory, so I’ll let you decide the merit of the points and, of course, whether they’re worth your time.
- Buy Durable Goods Used (Cars, Washer/Dryers, etc.). All the resources necessary for their construction have already been used. No further depletion results from buying them used and their lifespans are usually very long.
- Water-Saving Shower Heads. They’re annoying at first, but you get used to it.
- Use BPA-Free Reusable Water Bottles. Water from every tap in the United States is safe to drink. Stop supporting irrational, fear-driven behaviors to the contrary and save our landfills a little strain.
- Electronic File Storage. Stop printing hard copies of things you have electronically. For long-term storage, use cloud computing solutions.
- Switch to Fluorescent Light Bulbs. They’re more expensive but last longer and use much less energy. Swap them out one at a time as you go.
- Use Rechargeable Batteries. Again, an investment up front that pays dividends on many levels downstream.
- Opt to Receive Alternative Energy Solutions. We elected to have Outdoorplay, the business mentioned above, receive 100% of its electricity from alternative energy sources. Our provider recently sent a report that stated our choice had resulted in emissions reductions equal to 12,000 cars during the last year. 12,000!
- Turn Monitors Off. Whenever you walk away from your desktop or laptop, turn off the monitor as they’re the largest energy drain on computers. Better yet, set your monitor to turn off automatically after 10 minutes of inactivity.
- Adjust Thermostats by Two Degrees. Whether it’s the heat or air conditioning, change it by two degrees. You’ll adjust quite quickly, save yourself some money, and reduce your footprint dramatically.
- Wrap the Water Heater. Give it a coat! It’ll stay warmer, saving you money again. Oh, and when you go on vacation, set it on Vacation which will further reduce your footprint while helping to pay for the vacation.
Taken separately, each of these items is easy to implement and then live with over the long term. Whether each of us does one or a few of us do several, the overall impact can be quiet significant.
Small Steps, Reduced Footprints, Better Feelings, Greater Balance
Increasing work/life balance can be effected on each end of the equation. See if some of the suggestions above make you feel more successful in the knowledge that you’re making a difference. It’s good for you and for everyone else too!