It’s rare that I don’t write to you about customer service issues. But I want to talk about balance, not just because it’s so important to me, but because I know achieving peace and balance will help you be a better manager, leader, or customer service professional.
Over the years I’ve found five practices that have helped me find peace and balance between my business and my personal life.
1. Stop compulsively checking emails. Trust me; it can wait.
I’ve just started a practice of pausing my inbox every weekday from 6:00 pm to 8:00 am. I noticed that most of the time I grabbed my iPhone, it was to habitually check email for matters that were neither urgent nor important. Being untethered at night is liberating.
2. Don’t email staff after business hours.
If I follow my first practice, it’s easy not to email colleagues after hours. Here’s why I urge you to hold off on evening emails. When you email an employee at say, 7:30 pm, the late hour implies a sense of urgency and your employee may feel she has to respond to you right away. Taking the time to read and reply to your email is taking time away from whatever she’s doing (drinking wine, enjoying time with bae, watching Netflix)
Help your employees and colleagues enjoy peace after work by not interrupting their evenings, unless the matter is crucial.
3. Make business travel pleasurable.
For years business travel for me was just that – traveling to do business. I loathe airports, airport parking, and un-inspiring hotels. But a few years ago I started traveling differently. Instead of just going from the airport to the hotel to my speaking venue and back to the airport, I began to venture out and enjoy the beautiful cities I was blessed to visit.
Last week in Austin I found the vegan restaurant with the best reviews (Mother’s Cafe) and I went there immediately after landing. Last month in Carpinteria I went to the beach every evening. I took my daughter with me on two business trips in New York this year, and my 15-year old son saw Las Vegas for the first time when he joined me for a conference in July. Venturing out and taking my family with me from time-to-time has made business travel fun.
4. Make time for friends.
A lot of us are so passionate about our work (or we’re just flat-out overwhelmed by work) that we neglect our friends and some family. I knew I was guilty of neglect. Recently I’ve started adding reminders to my task list to go see Christine’s progress on her home remodel, call (don’t text) Sylvia, take my parents to dad’s favorite Ethiopian restaurant, etc.
On some level, it’s pathetic that I have to remind myself to nurture relationships, but setting little goals helps me to follow through.
5. Completely unplug from work for 30 minutes during the day.
Don’t eat lunch at your desk over a spreadsheet while checking emails. Your lunch break is not for catching up. It’s intended to be a full break away from all things work related.
My favorite way to spend my lunch is to have a light meal while I read a few chapters of a novel or listen to an audiobook. Sometimes I’ll eat in my car in a park in front of a pond. A refreshing lunch for me is also using the time to have a quick conversation with my daughter or mother or to write in my Gratitude Journal.
Balance will look and feel different for everyone. The idea is to get to a place where you stress less and feel far more peaceful.
Myra is a favorite training partner to Fortune 500 companies with her customized, engaging, behavior-changing (and fun) customer service workshops, working with McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Frito-Lay, Michelin, Vera Bradley, and other brands.