A Few Notes From Cheryl
Greetings: Welcome to our latest edition of InSights, and a warm welcome to all of our new readers! I hope you enjoy this edition’s article – I would love to hear your feedback.
Upcoming Public Workshops: Please see “Upcoming Workshops” below, especially for those of you who will be in the Silicon Valley, CA and/or Las Vegas, NV areas over the next couple of months. I’d love to see you at one of these events.
Feature Article: From Project Stress to Success: An Insider’s Perspective on Work-Life Balance. I hope you enjoy this article containing ideas on how to successfully navigate the work-life balance challenges of a project, especially when you’re traveling or just trying to find a balance that works for you. I hope you enjoy the feature article. Read on...
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Feature Article: From Project Stress to Success: An Insider’s Perspective on Work-Life Balance
As you know, one area of my work is that I deliver workshops for project managers and leaders on how to improve your team’s dynamics, lead virtual teams, manage project stress, etc. The material comes from my hands-on work with project teams, as well as my own experiences of leading and participating on teams over all the years of my career.
Recently, I had the pleasure of being a contributing member of a project team, which was a great reminder of how integrating the tips and tools that we discuss in workshops. This was a three-month project where I was one of several trainers/facilitators traveling to a new location every week to deliver training for the client organization for anywhere from two to four days each week.
Work-Life Balance Meltdown
While the project itself was great (excellent project manager, executive sponsors very considerate of our schedules, timely communication, etc.), I ran into some unanticipated work-life balance challenges. The impact of traveling every week, working on other projects during evenings, and trying to be present for my family when I was home on the weekends was starting to take its toll.
I was not getting enough rest, I was concerned about making sure that everything / everyone was being taken care of, I was not making exercise a priority, I wasn’t eating food that worked well for my body because I was in a hurry most of the time, and the list went on…sound familiar to you? I hear these challenges often from many project managers (whether or not you are traveling!).
Very quickly, I realized that I was not being as effective as I wanted in ANY area of my life because I was letting myself get run down all the time – I wasn’t as effective on the project as I wanted to be, I wasn’t as effective with my other client work as I wanted to be, and my family certainly was not getting the best of me when I was home. I also wasn’t having as much fun as I was when the project started. Again, sound familiar?
Clearly, something needed to change! So, I contemplated my many options and choices, as we often do.
- Option #1: Keep going at the same pace – after all, the project was only going to last 3 months, and I could just make it happen, right??? NOT!! [Those of you who work on short-term projects know what I’m talking about, because I hear it all the time from project managers – “the project will be over in another month, so I can keep going at this pace until it ends and THEN I’ll get some rest”.
- Option #2: Make a few changes – try to get more sleep, eat a little better food, plan time for exercise, etc.
- Option #3: Make some radical changes – this is what I chose! From that point forward, I chose only hotels with onsite fitness centers that I used at least every other night. I requested that my room have a mini-fridge so that I could bring my favorite breakfast food with me. I allowed enough travel time when I arrived at a new location to shop at a local health food store to pick up other dinner/snack items so that I had the kind of food that I wanted to eat ready to eat. I also made some changes to my schedule to allow more lead time for other client work, so that my deadlines were not as compressed, and requested a couple of changes to my project travel schedule so that I wouldn’t be on the road as much when possible. Last, I made sure that I started getting more sleep every night, so that my body could get healthy again, even if it meant that other things didn’t get handled that particular day.
Results / Lessons Learned
As a result, I started getting healthy again. Were things perfect by the end of the project? No, but I wasn’t aiming for perfection…I was being realistic. I still had an off/on sore throat (but at least I wasn’t sleeping most of the weekend away to get well), I still had a couple of deadlines that I said “yes” to that I probably could have extended a little to give me more time to rest, etc. However, things were SIGNFICANTLY better due to the changes I had made, and I was able to enjoy all of my work so much more. As a result, my clients had a more productive and happy team member, and my family had a much more present family member on the weekends.
I am so grateful for this experience, because I learned so much about myself. I learned that traveling every week for three months is hard on my body, mind and spirit, and while I do love to travel, that particular schedule turned out to be a bit much for me. I was also reminded that I am the happiest and most productive contributor in all areas of my life when I am well nourished, well exercised, and well rested. What great reminders!
What Do You See For Yourself?
I’m sharing my personal experience because I see so many team members, especially on projects, who experience similar challenges, and I’m hopeful that this will be a reminder that we ALWAYS have choices. We may not always be able to change all the circumstances around us, but we always have choices as to how we choose to maintain a work-life balance that works for us.
Whether you are a leader, team member or individual contributor, we all can make a difference in the lives and work of others when we are at our best. What is one thing that you will do differently as a result of reading this article, to be YOUR best?
Your success is our priority, so if you’d like some help along the way, I would be happy to talk with you about how we might support you and/or your team. You are always welcome to call me at (510) 482-8987 – it would be a pleasure to talk about your needs!
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"Take Back Your Life: Become a More Effective Project Leader by Achieving Your Ultimate Work-Life Balance"
Project Management Institute – Silicon Valley
(Note: event is open to non-members)
Wednesday, May 2 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm
Sunnyvale Community Center – Sunnyvale, CA
Many project management professionals are burned out from the pressures of their projects, daily organizational life and competing priorities. As a result, PMs are working longer hours and feel like they can’t keep pace.
In this interactive session, attendees will learn simple steps to:
- Measure their current state of balance
- Develop strategies to overcome obstacles standing in the way of that balance
- Say “no” to “shoulds” with confidence, and renegotiate deadlines on their projects
- Begin developing a personalized “balanced life action plan” with specific goals
- Become more effective project leaders by being more balanced
For more details and registration information, please see PMI-Silicon Valley Event Calendar
"Buy-In, Accountability and Metrics: Lead Your Revenue Cycle Team to Success"
Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) – Annual National Institute (ANI) Conference
(Note: event is open to non-members)
Sunday, June 24 from 8:00 am to 11:30 am (pre-conference session)
Mandalay Bay Resort – Las Vegas, NV
Get tools and processes for revenue cycle leadership to enhance cross-functional team results, including team agreements for a common vision and shared accountability, plus methods to leverage positivity and cross-functional diversity of knowledge, perspectives, and process improvements. Use measurement tools to leverage team strengths and identify weaknesses to enhance performance.
After this interactive and experiential session, you will be able to:
- Create and leverage team agreements with shared accountability and an aligned vision to drive revenue cycle team communication and performance
- Optimize cross-functional team results by enhancing relationship dynamics, gaining buy-in, and creating ownership at all levels
- Measure team strengths/weaknesses and integrate key performance indicators into a strategic plan to maximize revenue cycle success
For more details and registration information, please see HFMA ANI Conference
Team Building Events and Off-Site Meetings:
Could your team use some help to be more cohesive?
Is it time to enhance your team's relationships and productivity?
Some teams know that something isn't working, but they don't know exactly what that is or how to improve it. Some organizations hold team building seminars and employee retreats because they know it's time to enhance their teams' productivity and relationships. Do either of those statements describe you/your team? If so, and if you haven't already contacted us to discuss your needs, feel free to give us a call to see if we can help you.
We offer a variety of programs to enhance the performance of your teams as well as improve the ways in which your teams interact, so we invite you to visit our Team Building, Training and Seminar page. This is a great way to show appreciation for your team and enhance their productivity, thereby improving the bottom line for your organization!
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