Finding Work Life Balance
Almost a year into my career at FLVS, I would consider myself a work-life balance guru. That has not always been the case.
When I first came to FLVS in early 2013, I had no idea how important work-life balance would become. Coming from a brick-and-mortar school, I was used to working hard for eight hours a day and then walking away from my work once I left to get my daughter from daycare. Imagine my shock when I transitioned to virtual education where the work followed me everywhere.
The phone rang often, even after hours. My gradebook was never empty. At times, my VSA data and student numbers felt overwhelming. Sometimes I felt like the work was overtaking me and that it was overtaking every aspect of my life. And worse, I felt like I was not able to put the students’ needs first since I was so overwhelmed.
It was then that I decided to heed the advice of my husband and my amazing team leads to get my work life organized so I could better serve my student and enjoy my personal life.
Why you need work-life balance
1. The work will ALWAYS be there.
Some virtual teachers might get heart palpitations on Monday morning when they see the number of monthly calls he or she needs to make. Or maybe it’s the number of assignments that must be graded that day? Keep in mind that in the virtual world (or virtually any job), the work is always going to be there. As my father-in-law always says, “You eat an elephant one bite at a time.”
2. Your health depends on it.
When you overwork and do not balance your work and home life, you can run the risk of health issues such as high stress, depression, sleep deprivation, or exhaustion.
3. You will be more efficient at your job.
When you take care of yourself and allow yourself some free time, you are going to allow your mind and body to recharge. This will give you the energy and focus you need to be the best employee!
How I achieved work-life balance
EVERYTHING I do is on my outlook calendar. I schedule everything (seriously, from my outgoing calls, to DBAs, exercise time…even when I clean my house!) and during that time, that is the task I am accomplishing. For example, I find it best to grade in the early morning hours. During that time, I do not make outgoing calls or take incoming calls so I can devote my full attention to what I am doing. (Keep in mind there are always exceptions to this rule and everyone’s needs are different. Give yourself some grace if you need to make exceptions from time to time).
2. Ask for help.
This part was tough for me. Since my husband travels some for his job, I had to make the difficult decision to ask for outside help. I employed a nanny to work 2-3 times a week. I now can focus on making outgoing calls and complete DBAs while my daughter is lovingly cared for!
3. Become a part of a team.
I’m an independent person by nature, but teaming is an absolutely wonderful initiative at FLVS. By allowing myself to be a part of a team (including our lead teachers), I know I can go to my teammates and ask for help when needed. Being a part of a team also breeds a sense of community and belonging, and makes us all feel more appreciated and supported in the workplace.
Are you struggling with work-life balance? Consider these tips to help you become more balanced in 2014 and feel free to contact me for more information on achieving work-life balance. If you have any work-balance tips that have worked for you, please share in the comment section!
Post by: Carrie Flynn, US History teacher