Work – Life Balance in Project Management

As a Project Management Professional (PMP) are you feeling the grind of your work and personal life commitments?  Trying to get everything done within a 24 hour day, 7 days a week, week after week, can be challenging and tiring.  Contending with multiple projects, criss-crossing the globe with travel, stressful meetings and negotiations, plus adding in all your personal life commitments, it sometimes feels like it is an insurmountable feat.

It’s important to not only have a balanced business life, but also not be so over scheduled within your personal life.  Are you the type to be racing off to a soccer practice for one child, then to a Piano lesson for another, while getting groceries, looking after your sick parent, trying to get that report for work done, in addition to all the fundraising bake sale you committed to, while noticing that the grass in the backyard is approaching knee high and hasn’t been cut in over a week? If so, keep reading…

The best way to cope is to pare down your commitments and prioritize.  If you need to, make a list.  Write down what is important to you.  What you must do, what you like to do and those that aren’t so important.  It is hard to say “no”, but sometimes you need to.  It is better to be upfront in the beginning than to get overwhelmed, burnt out and resentful, at the end.

What time of day are you most productive? Are you a morning person, or do you get motivated and inspired in the evenings?  Many find that maximizing your time during your personal peak times, is time well spent.  For example, many morning people will get up an extra hour or so and go for a jog before heading to work, or they will do a load of laundry.  Some will head into work and get caught up on paperwork while it is quiet.  However, don’t get into the trap of spending too many hours at work.  If you go in early, make sure you leave early as well.  It isn’t good to burn both ends of the candle.

After working hours, try to turn off all your electronic gadgets and social media.  Focus on your family.  It is amazing how much time checking your email, texting or getting updates consumes on a daily basis.  Don’t waste the quality time with your family.  They learn from your behaviour so be a good influence and stop the cycle.

For your mental health, make sure you make some time for yourself.  Not for your spouse, not for your children, but for yourself.  Find a few hours every week to unwind and do something you can enjoy and relax with.

As for your physical health, exercise is another key element that you must make time for.  Not everyone enjoys exercise, and it doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. Keep it simple and fun.  Also, if you are smart, get your family or friends involved and combine the activities.  This way you are not only burning calories and clearing your head, you are also saving time by spending time with your loved ones.

Making the most of your time and keeping it simple is the key.  Life should be lived fully and enjoyed.  Being too busy and pulled in too many directions isn’t good for anyone.  Take stock and get balanced.  It will not only benefit you personally, but will also help you keep your batteries charged to successfully tackle all those taxing demand of a Project Management job when you get back in the office.