By Dana Rogozenski, Customer and Partner Education Manager at SmartBear Software
Always a hard worker, competitive and goal driven, I worked in fast-paced sales roles for 10 years, chasing aggressive quotas month after month. I talked shop continuously; I'm sure boring my friends over dinner more often than I care to admit. Recently, I shifted out of sales where I consistently worked early mornings, late nights and weekends and frequently traveled the country. However, a major family event forced me to reevaluate where I was allocating my time and energy. I wanted to focus more on my life outside of work and enjoy that work/life balance that I'd hear about - all while having that successful career. But, how? I knew it was time to stop and smell the roses - but how does one get off that work roller coaster?
A year ago, I moved to SmartBear Software
, a leader in software quality tools for teams, now working in customer and partner education in the technology space. The position allows me to keep my sales skills honed by selling myself internally, allowing for team collaboration and building relationships with customers. All the parts of sales that I love are there without the daunting number to chase each month. I love the fact that SmartBear is a technology company that is very sales driven along with a startup feel. From the beginning, I set expectations with my team and management that I did not plan to work late nights. I knew and still know that if I do my job and do it well, the number of hours is irrelevant. Learning to work smarter, not harder, is important for successful work/life balance.
In wanting to understand how my female colleagues felt about their work/life balance, I conducted a poll in our Women In Tech Slack
channel with the 40 women in the SmartBear office in Somerville, Massachusetts: I asked - Do you have a positive work-life balance? I received a number of responses, 65% saying they DID have a positive work-life balance and 35% indicating they did not.
For those who responded NO, some said it was because of themselves (a "you" thing) and others responded it was because of work overload.
In my new role at SmartBear, I've learned to have a success with work/life balance that I haven't been able to achieve in the past.
Here are some tips on how I did it. Implement one or all, but defining your work/life balance goals ultimately makes you a more productive employee.
1. Examine your job and determine if it is, in fact, the right fit for the lifestyle you want.
2. Block off your calendar each day for lunch - I do make exceptions for customers or partners in different time zones, and I make adjustments, but I always block off time each day to leave my desk, take a walk and eat.
3. Leave the office on time. Wrap up the day, prepare for the next day and sign off.
4. Really sign off. Don't bring your laptop with you.
5. Do not allow for Push alerts on your phone. This way, you won't get constant pop-ups for new emails.
6. Set deadlines that allow yourself to break from work on weekends.
7. Don't talk about work with family or friends unless someone brings it up. It's great to provide a brief run down on exciting work happenings, but 90 percent of your dinner conversation should not be about work.
8. Figure out what it means to work smarter, not harder - and do it.
I'm happier having goals, a career path and many successes to date all while balancing my life and my work. A healthy work/life balance is a win-win for both employee and employer. A happy employee makes for a happy person and more productive employee.