We will take a break this week from the Fundamentals of Every Great Organization System and resume the series next week.
We recently had a candidate ask how our team members do with work-life balance and it inspired me to write this blog. I must admit I don’t like that question because the term work-life balance is impossible. Think about it, when was the last time in one day you had perfect balance between work and home and everything else? The reality is on any given day the scales are tipping in one direction at the detriment of another. So, we always fail at work-life balance. Years ago, at Studer I heard the term work-life blend and I must admit it is a much better lexicon because that is doable. Blending your work-life and your home life and your everything life together. Some days that blend might be a 60/20/10 split and other days it might be a 30/60/10 split. So, work-life blend is something more achievable and it absolutely takes intention.
On that vein on intentionality, another piece of wisdom to insert on navigating work-life blend is considering the rhythms of life. Everywhere around us are rhythms. You see it in the seasons. Most religions have festivals that mark the rhythm of the passing of the year. The oceans have a rhythm. Life has seasons. On and on it goes.
I learned a great piece of wisdom from Dr. John Morris, our TCN Palliative Care CMO, several years back. At Christmas each year, plan your vacations for the next year. Get them on the calendar. Back then it seemed impossible but I learned if you don’t get them on the calendar they won’t happen.
I then married John’s idea with a rhythm concept I learned. It came from a book called Soul Custody. In the book it talked about rhythms and one thing that jumped out at me is how Mother Theresa had her nuns take Sabbath every week and then they took one week off every 6 weeks. She was tapping into the natural rhythm and flow of life.
Then separately a friend and I were working on a project together. I always take note of someone who is incredibly productive and she was one of the best. She is a mom of 3, a wife, executive with a growing hospice, and she did coaching with me on the side. I felt like a slacker next to her. I asked her secret and I will never forget her answer. She said, “it is Sabbath. Not in a religious legal sort of way but our family always honors Sabbath as a day of rest and feeding our souls no matter what is going on in our lives.” She said, “I know it sounds crazy you probably were looking for some organization system (guess she knew me well) but that honoring of Sabbath enables me to be incredibly productive the rest of the week and many times more so than my peers.”
So I offer both of these pieces of wisdom as tips to you to increase your joy, your purpose, and to tap into a natural rhythm of life.
- Book a vacation every 6 weeks. In my organization, we have exactly the right amount of PTO for that to be possible sometimes it is long weekends and other times it is taking off a full week. Get it on the books. As leaders booking vacations at the last minute is next to impossible and quite often irresponsible but getting them on the books ahead of time in that rhythm is a best practice.
- Take one day as Sabbath every week. For me I turn it off about 5pm on Friday and don’t check email till at least 5pm on Saturday. Figure out what works for you and feed your soul during that downtime. Do what you enjoy with who you enjoy it with.
In the movie Finding Nemo several years ago there was this cool scene where Nemo’s dad hooks up with those old wise sea turtles, some of which could be as old as 200 years old. What did these wise turtles do? They tapped into a natural rhythm and rode the ocean’s currents. You can hang ten like them and tap into life’s natural rhythms riding the currents of life. Once you do, you will notice your productivity and engagement increase and you will also feel it when you get close to the 6-week point. I have discovered a joy and a gear I did not know was possible these past several years, I know you can too.
What would it take for you to adopt the principles in the above into your life?
Why won’t this work?
What barriers could you remove to give it a try?
Chris Comeaux, President / CEO of Teleios Collaborative Network
Teleios University (TU)
Program Launch: January 20-21, 2020
An organizational model that allows not-for-profit hospices (Members) to leverage best practices, achieve economies of scale and collaborate in ways that better prepare each agency to participate in emerging alternative payment models and advance their charitable missions.