Monday, September 7, 2009

Workshifting for Life Balance

I thought I had this personal life vs. work life balance thing in check. When I worked for another company, it was easy to leave the office early to attend one of my son's sporting events or go serve cupcakes at a class party and not think twice about it. Those e-mails could be answered tomorrow. Those phone calls could wait a few hours to be returned. I had my priorities perfectly aligned. My son always came first.

But, now that I am working for myself, I am having a harder time segregating my two lives. Technology has provided us with some wonderfully life-enhancing tools: the internet, the iPhone, the laptop computer... it makes it wonderfully easy to work on the go.

My husband is a fabulous father who not only goes to all of our son's sports games, but the practices as well. He wants to be there to see what my son needs to work on so he is the best player he can be. It's how they bond - through sports. But my son always jokes about how "Dad's on his Crackberry" checking e-mails and taking phone calls while he's throwing the ball to my son with the other hand. So, how truly engaged and in the moment is he?

Now that I am working for myself, as a partner in Gangway Advertising agency, I find that the lines between my personal and work life are blurred more than ever. I have more to accomplish than ever before and I feel the heated breathe of time right on my heels, chasing me every minute of the day.

In the old days (you know, like two years ago) an agency would develop a campaign for a client, develop ads, negotiate a media buy and then we were off to the races. The ads would run in various publications or messages would play over the radio or TV and our job was to sit back and evaluate response and return on investment (ROI).

Social media is revolutionizing the world of advertising and it's such an exciting time to be in this field. At the same time, twitter never turns off. In social media content is everything. If you don't have engaging content that people will forward (or re-tweet) and comment on - you have nothing. In today's marketing world our clients have social media strategies that call for me to find, create and post content not only on a daily basis - but multiple times throughout the day. And then there's the research and the tracking involved in growing their base of followers.

With more to do than ever before and only so many hours in the day to do it - the struggle then becomes, how to fit it all in?! If you are doing multiple tasks at the same time, are you really able to give 100% to any one thing? I used to joke that "I worked my day job from 9 to 5, then went home to do my other full-time job - Motherhood." Now, I have to figure out a way to do both jobs at 100% at the same time. Oh yeah, and find time for my friends and personal interests. (Hi friends! Remember me!)

I envy the Gen Y'ers. This is the only life they've ever known and for them the integration between their work and personal life is seamless. But I'm an old dog trying to learn some new tricks. Let's hear it for the old dogs! Woot!

Is this new life better than the old way of life. In some ways, yes. in some ways, no. But there's no turning back. How do you balance between your personal and work life? Feel free to share your tips and tricks.