Fostering Flexibility in the New Year

December 30, 2009 by Rose Cook

Wow.  It’s the end of 2009 already!  A great time to reflect on the past year, and of course, the ideal time to set some goals for 2010.
 
Typically, New Year’s resolutions are centered around “healthy living” goals – such as “eat better” or “exercise more”.  While these are very worthwhile goals, I encourage you to consider another aspect of “healthy living” for your 2010 resolutions.

Why not make a resolution to create better harmony between your work and personal lives?   This will certainly support your overall “healthy living” goals. 
 
One way to do this is to design more flexibility into your work schedule.  Most people have more flexibility than they think.  You may just need to get creative.  Here are some suggestions:
 
1.  Telecommute.

For those who typically work in a corporate office environment, have you considered the possibility of telecommuting either occasionally or on a regular basis?  Avoiding a morning commute once a week may allow you to have breakfast with your kids before school.  What a worthwhile investment in the relationship with your children!  They probably won’t openly thank you, but believe me, they’ll notice and appreciate your presence.
 
2.  Utilize your lunchtime wisely.

Do you typically work through lunch?  Consider investing in relationship- building by scheduling lunch with co-workers or friends.  While this may seem indulgent with “so much work to do”, in reality, it’s so critically important to “fill up the gas tank” (both with food and relationships!)  By making it a priority to recharge your system (both physically and emotionally), you are more likely to achieve higher levels of performance anyway!

Not enough time with your spouse?  How about a lunch date?  My husband and I sometimes meet each other for pizza at the mall.  Even thirty minutes without kids running around is quite a treat and can do wonders for renewing a relationship.
 
3.  Vary your work day’s start and end times.

If your work schedule permits, consider adjusting your start and end times.  Could be every day or just one particular day each week.

Starting earlier might allow you more regular communication with your European work colleagues.  Leaving earlier may give you a chance to hear the stories from your children while they are fresh out of school.

4.  Propose a flexible work arrangement.

If you need buy-in from your management on a flexible work arrangement, then go ahead and make a proposal.  One of my favorite sayings is “You don’t ask, you don’t get.”  (My kids are even learning to say it and live by it.  Scary when you hear your own words coming out of your children’s mouths!)  If you don’t even try, then the answer is automatically a “no”.  Even if you get some objections, you can now address those objections and you’re that much closer to a “yes”.  

So, as you reflect on 2009, and think about your resolutions for 2010, consider supporting your “healthy living” goals by fostering flexibility in the New Year.  Odds are good that you will gain the freedom to enjoy both work and life just a little bit more.
 
Best wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year!

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