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In Melbourne this week for the National Telstra Business Women’s Awards – I had to present to two separate judging panels. The award winner selection process is absolutely rigorous.. which is why the awards are so prestigious.

Both sets of judges asked me the same question right at the end of the presentation. “What about work/life balance”. I answered truthfully and said, “When you are starting a business it is all hands, hearts and minds on deck 24/7 – as the business begins to mature what you do might change but the focus and energy required does not.”

I continue to work long hours because I know that if I want to create something truly great it is going to take effort. It cannot be done part-time. So what I have done is include my children and husband of course – in everything that I do. My children were there to celebrate with me on Tuesday night – (the very loudest cheer squad).

What I do is work really hard during the week – but weekends are sacred. And we book holidays up to a year in advance (to ensure that we go).  But I was very interested to see what our customers are saying about work/life balance… because it is different if you are working for someone else rather than yourself.

The Annual RedBalloon Work/Life Balance Report gives the impression we are feeling that work/life balance is worth sacrificing in order to keep their jobs in the slowdown. The 2008 study involving 2,714 participants shows there has been very little movement (since 2007) in the number of people who say they are satisfied with their work/life balance.

99% of us see work-life balance as crucial to our working lives, yet only 50% of us are actually satisfied with our own work-life balance levels. In our 2007 report, 53% of people felt they were missing out on quality family time and sacrificing their social lives as a result of work commitments.

So what’s the reason for minimal movement in the year? There are two factors at play, reluctance to address it on the part of the employee and minimal movement on the introduction of flexible working hours by employees that was cited in 2007 at 28% and again in 2008 28% as the most popular solution.

And as the marketplace shows, an employee’s reluctance to address it will be compounded by the fact that simply’ holding on to a job’ has become more important as unemployment levels are predicted to swell to 5% by June next year and to 5.75% one year later according to The Age*.

  1. Don’t get distracted by emails, or by drama. People make things worse than they are. Stay disciplined and focused.
  2. Make a list of the top 5 things you can achieve each day, whether big or small and go home feeling like a winner.
  3. Plan something to look forward to, a holiday or a break.

On a lighter note, the report also showed us Aussies have a way of coping with it all. 72% of us work in a fun environment, 71% of bosses aren’t dull and boring and would support initiatives to lighten the mood and share a laugh and 40% of us overcome work-related pressures by sharing a belly laugh at work every day.

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