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It’s Time to Declare YOUR Work-Life Independence

As someone with ties to both Canada and the United States the July 1st – July 4th date range which marks the independence of both North American nations is an awesome time for me. Awesome because I have double the reason to celebrate: double the treats, double the barbecues (I always do something for Canada day on July 1st, even if I am alone), and of course the fireworks….which can be endless thanks to Facebook live.

Although we celebrate the independence of our respective nations, I started to think: at what point will you declare your work-life independence?

Continue reading “It’s Time to Declare YOUR Work-Life Independence”

3 Simple Work-Life Lessons I Was Reminded of While on Vacation

My family and I just finished a lovely vacation in Traverse City, Michigan. It was a much needed break from the grind and for us marked a commitment to taking more vacation/family time. Over the course of our vacation, I was reminded of 3 work-life lessons that are an essential practice if we want to avoid burnout and enhance our overall life-satisfaction. They are:

1) It’s ok to put work away. For the better part of a week I turned everything off and focused on the family. I had intended to finish writing my first book The Two Year Old’s Guide to Work-Life Balance” but quickly opted to just enjoy the moments with the family, Continue reading “3 Simple Work-Life Lessons I Was Reminded of While on Vacation”

4 LEADERSHIP LESSONS FROM HASAN MINHAJ’S “HOMECOMING KING”

The other night I sat down and watched Hasan Minhaj’s stand-up special Homecomingon Netflix.  The special had come highly recommended from my colleagues and I was definitely in the mood for a laugh that day. What I ended up watching was as much as a lesson in leadership as it was a comedy routine.

After reflecting, here are 4 Leadership lessons I learned by watching Hasan Minhaj.

1)    Storytelling has power. Hasan’s entire act took us on a journey of identity,

Continue reading “4 LEADERSHIP LESSONS FROM HASAN MINHAJ’S “HOMECOMING KING””

3 Benefits to Receiving Strengths-Based Leadership Coaching

There are countless personality/leadership assessments out there. Among the more famous ones are DiSC, True Colors and Myers-Briggs. Of course there are a lot more out there with fun gimmicks and terms. I remember taking the “which band instrument” are you assessment. I’m a drum apparently.

Among these assessments there is one that strikes a fine balance between being too simplistic and being overly complicated. That assessment is the Strengthsfinder. Strengthsfinder is a robust self-assessment tool that exposes you to your leadership strengths and helps you understand how to use them to your advantage. Continue reading “3 Benefits to Receiving Strengths-Based Leadership Coaching”

Leading in 3-D: Looking at 3 Levels of Delegation

Assigning tasks can be one of the more difficult issues leaders face.  The choices you make as a leader will determine the quality of the task’s outcome and will have an impact on the amount of stress (positive and negative) an employee/teammate faces. When it comes to the issue of task assignment I want us to think about it in terms of the 3D hierarchy. At some point we utilize all 3 of these D’s. That being said, the D’s are not equal. As we go up the pyramid we become more focused and thoughtful in our task assignments which in turns lead to better results.

Dump: This is the least desirable and least effective of task assignment strategies. Dumping duties on people requires little to no thought. Dumping asks the

Continue reading “Leading in 3-D: Looking at 3 Levels of Delegation”

How Do You Want Work and Vacation to Interact?

Taking a vacation from work is something we all need to do more often.  The American worker does not take enough of their given vacation time at any given point. A recent study done by GfK Knowledge Panel found that 55% of Americans had unused vacation days in 2015. Beyond whether or not workers are taking vacation comes the issue of how work and personal life interact with each other when vacation time is taken. Listed below are five scenarios that are common to us all. Don’t look at any scenario as the “right way.”  Instead, think of which scenario best suits your personal tastes. How you choose to navigate vacation is perfectly fine as long as it is your choice.

Scenario 1: No (or little) Vacation. Vacation? Who needs that when you got work to do and money to make. If your company will pay you for unused vacation days when you leave then you have even less reason to take days off.   Work hard and cash those days out when you move on.

Scenario 2: Vacation Taken/Time Donated.  Vacation sounds great so you decide to take it. You are so happy to visit the parents two states away or visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You’re out of the office physically (you even set up your autoreply telling people that) but you are on your cell phone or laptop every chance you get to deal with work. You’re donating your vacation/personal time to the company and you’re glad to do it (or are you?).

Scenario 3: The Work-cation. You’re with the parents or at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and for a finite amount of time a day you have decided to deal with work so that things are manageable when you get back. You’ve negotiated with your boss that you’re going to claim 6 hours of vacation per day instead of the standard 8. There’s less chance of negative spillover because you are prepared for and agree to the terms.

Scenario 4: The On-call Vacation. . You go on vacation and you tell work to only contact you in an emergency or on an as-needed basis. How you report your time will depend on the scenario. I once had to deal with an incident while on vacation that ate up a day so we didn’t input that as a vacation day. That was rare and most of the time small interruptions were ok as they did not eat up major time.

Scenario 5: True Vacation. Turn off the tech and enjoy the time off. I think this is the concept of vacation most of us expect or at least were raised to expect. For many of us the world of work is far more complex but this is still a great and desirable option. The downside of course is having mounds of email and tasks to do when you get back. You’re willing to deal with that because recharging your batteries here and now is what matters most to you.

Like I said, there is no right or wrong in any of these scenarios and there may be times where one of these options is going to be the most logical. The key is to exercise control over these scenarios.  It is when the scenarios are dictated to us that we begin to feel burned out, undervalued, or insignificant. Being forced to unplug from work can be just as ineffective as having vacation eaten up by office assignments.   Understand and advocate for how you want your work and vacation to interact and increase your work life satisfaction.

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Paul Artale is a work-life and leadership expert. For more information please visit www.paulartale.com

4 Ways to Work with Your Significant Other and Keep Your Sanity

Work-to-family conflict is when events that occur at work bleed into your personal life.  Taking office drama and stressors home with you can have a negative effect on your health (mental and physical) and strain the relationship between you and your loved ones.  Over the past few months I have discussed different factors that can help or hinder work-to-family conflict.

These factors are all legitimate but neglect one extremely challenging situation: working with your significant other. Continue reading “4 Ways to Work with Your Significant Other and Keep Your Sanity”