You CAN Have It All

You CAN Have It All  Guest blogger Stephanie Bowen leads communications and marketing for Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA).

Howdy y’all! Just back from Austin and this year’s NTEN Conference (#15NTC), and I’m buzzing with energy from all I learned and  those I met.

But about halfway through the conference, I felt totally depleted…

I was stressed by balancing my work responsibilities, things back home and the many choices I had before me in Austin. As yet another work email came in, I turned to fellow marketer Kerala Taylor (Oregon Entrepreneurs Network), and declared: I need to take our own advice, and do my best to be present here and now.

The advice I’m talking about came from the panel discussion Paradox but Possible: Hardcore on Work AND Life (#15NTCparadox) that Kerala and I co-presented with Kivi Leroux Miller and Leili Khalessi of Red Rover.

For the entirety of my professional life, colleagues of all ages have lamented that work is all-consuming, leaving little time for what we’re all working for: personal life, with family and friends. When I moved to the nonprofit sector, those grievances came laden with guilt for fear of letting down whatever cause was at stake. Some burnout and leave the sector, others miss out on family events or having a family at all.

That’s what motivated us to deliver the session, hoping to share recommendations and  tools to balance work and life. Our conversation centered around four must-dos for personal and professional satisfaction:

  1. Know your strengths (Leili recommends StrengthsFinder 2.0)
  2. Own your schedule
  3. Ask for what you need
  4. Learn how to say no.

But there’s so much more that we learned from the folks in the room. Here are a few standout recommendations:

  • Go on vacation where there isn’t internet access (or just say there isn’t and leave your phone and laptop at home!)
  • Let go of the guilt! Oh yeah, and don’t be a martyr because it doesn’t help anyone.
  • It’s important to recharge your creative batteries, so look at time away from work as a necessity
  • If you’re a supervisor, set the tone of work/life balance for your team. Also, remember that , your actions impact those around you.
  • Prioritize your tasks. Be willing to say no to things that don’t rise to the top
  • Communicate those priorities to your boss and others and be clear why certain things can’t get done. Make it an implicit campaign for cutting to-dos from the list or getting extra resources…or both! .
  • Be disciplined in budgeting your time. Block time in your calendar for ALL that you need to do (even a lunch date w/your hubby).
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need, and make sure to share the impact of your work so your boss and colleagues get your value.
  • Help others grow by delegating. and mentoring junior staff.

It’s hard to capture all I learned in this short post. You’ll get even more ideas and inspiration from the shared notes on the session. and the #15NTCparadox stream of tweets.

Now get outside and smell the roses, okay?

How do you do it all, or what’s in your way? Please share your experience here, and we’ll ask Stephanie to respond to your comments. Thanks!

Here’s how I try to manage it all—Definitely a work in progress!
Back at Nonprofit Marketing: Rejuvenated & Recalibrating
Adventure In Progress—Will Report Back 
Smell the Roses—To Creativity, Passion & Joy

Another take on work-life balance (or inbalance)—Warning: Will make you laugh, and cry.
How WE Do It! The Best Video Ever

Nancy Schwartz in Professional Development | 3 comments
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