Martha Zeigler has high expectations for herself at work. So high that she routinely stays late at the office so she can toil uninterrupted by phones and co-workers. Zeigler also has high expectations for herself at home. She wants to spend time with her husband, keep in close touch with her mother, serve her community.
But lately, the director of finance for the Metropolitan Sewerage District in Asheville, North Carolina, is finding it hard to meet all her expectations.
"I am just torn," she says. "I can't focus well. I'm operating out of guilt rather than desire. At home, I think about work; at work, I think I'm neglecting my husband and I haven't called my mother in a week. It's a feeling of being under pressure all the time."
Bosses who show that the demands of work and home can coexist create an attractive workplace for current and prospective staffers
Sound familiar? The age-old struggle to be happy and successful at work and home, complicated by technology's ability to let you straddle both realms simultaneously, is making Zeigler and others like her feel utterly depleted. "How do I determine when enough is enough?" she asks. "What usually gets squeezed out is the replenishment time for myself — including sleep!"
Zeigler wants to attain work/life balance, but this popular goal is an elusive one, in part because "balance" isn't quite the right word. "It's not about 50/50 play/work," says leadership development consultant Deborah Gilburg. "It's really about figuring out how to be sustainable so you can keep your energy flowing, keep yourself healthy in the long term."
Here are some tips to help you become sustainable:
Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.