Can You Achieve Work/Life Balance as an Agency Leader?

By | October 17, 2012
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Work/life balance has always been a challenge for busy professionals—often torn between work, family, friends and other responsibilities. But, today’s hyper-connected, always–on environment presents new challenges and opportunities for those trying to find a happy medium.

  • Cloud offerings make it possible for employees to fully connect outside the office, opening the door for new agency structures and more flexible work environments. (For an example, read our case study on 341 Studies.)
  • Online conversations don’t stop when somebody packs up for the day, and more brands are seeking monitoring and engagement support off hours. Consider Brian Mandelbaum (@BrianMandelbaum) who launched a 24/7 firm in response. 
  • Smartphones leave little escape from emails, social updates and calls. It’s easier then ever for someone to get a hold of you—even when away from the desk. 

So, how are marketing pros managing their time both in and out of the office? The Marketing Agency Insider community chimed in on the topic, offering their experiences and tips.

The Trials and Triumphs of Seeking Equilibrium — From Those in the Trenches

Accept Yourself

BallerinaBalance is really only for ballerinas. I have no balance. I’m just a human. When I’m at work, I always feel guilty because I think that I should be with my kids more. Or, today, I have to go and pick up my kids in one hour, and it’s only half a day here and I’m frustrated because I have a lot of work to do. To be honest: the whole secret is just to accept yourself. We are who we are; we do the best we can.

Yes, I really try to separate my work and my time with my kids, and give them a lot of attention when I’m with them. However, the reality of my day is that I can be calling my kids school at 10 and at 10:30 have a call with a client. That’s the life of a mother. — Catherine Daar (@catherinedaar), founder, CommNation

Balance is an Evolution

Work / life balance has evolved for me as I (and my life!) have aged. As a parent it meant limiting my travel and learning to use virtual communications tools, taking a role in my kids' sports activity that was clearly different from my agency management role. Now, it means being able to work from where I choose to be and using social technologies to stay on top of what is happening in my work world.

My best tip? Challenge yourself away from work to perform in roles that are different, and use the fresh perspective and personal growth to be better in your professional life! — Peter Fieger (@WSIMarketingCA), digital marketing consultant, WSI

Focus on the People or Task at Hand

I read somewhere that when it comes to work/life, your behind can only sit in one chair at a time, and the pursuit of balance is unrealistic. When you're working, be there 100%, and do what you can to secure a better future for your career and family. When you're not working, unplug when possible, and make the kind of memories that will get you through the tough times.

And most of all, don't beat yourself up at times of great imbalance. Just keep moving forward toward your ideal job, where it's not as big of a deal when the work/personal lines cross! — Christina Schmitz (@christinacs), vice president, PR 20/20

Take Time for Yourself

How do I do it? I walk my dog 2-3 miles a day. With the iPhone, I can make my to-do lists, use Dropbox and Basecamp, and even do conference calls when I am walking the dog. If I don't have any calls, I download NPR podcasts and catch up on current events. My dog is happy, and I get some exercise and time to clear my head.

Also, I usually get up at 5 a.m. to answer my emails, and get organized before everybody else wakes up. In the early morning, I also try to clean my office and computer, and get my to-do list set for the day.

At 6:30 a.m., I get my son off to school. By 7 a.m., I can walk my dog with a friend or talk to a colleague on the phone, and then go to the gym. By 9:15 a.m., my head is cleared, and I am ready to start the workday. — Felicia Rubenstein (@341Studios), founder, 341 Studios

Be Present in the Moment

Work/life balance is a myth. Work is part of life, and vice versa. Instead, I do my best to be present in the moment. In meetings. Playing hide and seek. Whatever. And if I can't give my full attention, I do my best to excuse myself accordingly.

I've found that if I try to put work and life in these separate—but equal—buckets, everything suffers. Because it's just not possible. My view isn't perfect, and I could use less meetings (and more hide and seek), but it allows me to give my best. — Dominic Litten (@DJLitten), Social Media Manager, Rosetta

How Do You Achieve Balance?

What are your thoughts and experiences regarding work/life balance? How do you manage personal and professional responsibilities, while still maintaining time for yourself? The comments are open.

Image Credit: thejester100