YSP career tips for success 9. Balance, Organizational skills/balancing family and work

Associate Professor Coralie English, who works in physiotherapy at the University of Newcastle  knows what it's like to balance a successful work life and a busy little family.  Assoc. Professor English explores this important point in career management, and as we come in to the Northern hemisphere summer this is an incredibly timely tip

9 - Organizational skills/balancing family and work 

Work-life balance for early career researchers is a constant challenge – as it is indeed for mid-career and senior researchers. To be successful in research, or your chosen clinical specialty requires passion and commitment, but so does family! How to manage the two masters? There is no easy answer, only lots of tips and the need for constant evaluation and readjustment. The bottom line is that you have to be as disciplined and committed to doing your best with work/life balance as you are in your career. If you don’t actively work on carving out time and head space to properly be with your family, work will always encroach. The ability to work at home and at night these days is a double-edged sword. It can give the flexibility to take a couple of hours off for the school assembly, and put in extra hours to meet a demanding deadline, but you have to set your own parameters to stop work taking over your life entirely.

Some of my top tips include:

·      Disconnect your emails from your phone. Not always practical, but most of the time you can live with waiting until you are next at your lap top to check emails and it stops you compulsively reading or checking emails while with family. If this terrifies you, commit to doing it for a week or even 2 days to start with, or at least turn off the “push” notifications.

·      Turn your email off as much as you can during the working day so you can focus on specific tasks at hand. Set an alarm on your phone for the next meeting/appointment so you can immerse yourself and prevent “clock watching”.

·      Make weekends (or rostered days off) sacred. Even if you have to work some hours at night during the week, keeping weekends for family only makes a big difference.

·      Accept that you will never feel on top of your workload. For a really excellent book about this and other top tips see “Busy” by Tony Crabbe.

·      Get good at prioritizing – and recognizing the difference between “urgent” and “important” – see “7-Habits” book for good tips on this.

·      Set an alarm on your phone for home time and stick to it!

YSP career tips for success 9. Balance, Organizational skills/balancing family and work Reviewed by Carmen Lahiff-Jenkins on Monday, May 14, 2018 Rating: 5

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