For most, January is a time for resolutions and making changes. I have a different take on the start of a new year. For me, January is a time for reflection and tough love:
- What did I do well this past year?
- What can I improve on?
- Where do I need a ‘kick in the butt?’
Recently, I have been speaking to many executives about my “5 Bucket System.” The five buckets are family and friends, health, finances, spirituality and community, and work. The system centers around the idea that these aspects of life must be balanced like buckets—if you exert too much energy, focus, time, or money on one bucket, then the others will tip. Executives have found this to be an effective way to balance their lives.
For example, in a corporate environment, a “mental health day” may detract from progress, but increase in overall productivity of their workers by allowing them to have a balance in their lives. In small businesses, work/life balance tends to a back seat for both executives and low-level employees. The bottom line is a more direct fear in a small business environment, but that should not detract from the balance of employees. Balance is even more important in the small business environment, where each employee is central to the success of the company.
For example, I gave all of my employees a few extra days off for the holidays. I wanted to give them a chance to shop for presents, relax, bake, catch up on sleep, etc. Other business owners were surprised that we were closed for the additional days, but the key to a successful business is to remember the wellness of employees. Will the additional days off impact my business? Absolutely, but in a positive way. Remember how chaotic life can get and allow your company to account for that chaos.
Make sure your employees are well rested. Sleep deprivation does not make for a productive employee. How can we function if we can barely keep our eyes open?
Are your employees eating a balanced diet? Make sure they know how to eat properly. A balanced diet can do wonders for energy levels and mood. For example, almond milk is a great way to cut calories and stay healthy!
As an employer, you are responsible to make sure that your own five buckets are 80 percent full, as well as those who work for you. If your employees enjoy their work, they will be much more dedicated to the company. The goal is to have your employees feel as if their jobs are an important part of their lives, and not like a student waiting for the bell to ring.
Recently, I have had several coaching jobs go poorly due to employee performance. One employee was going through a difficult divorce, while another was having a difficult time in his personal life. We have all been through difficult patches; everyone knows that life can throw some difficult curveballs. I know I have been through my fair share of hard times; it takes a group effort, seminars, some reading, and tough love to get through the difficult patches. Helping our employees is not only good for business, but also good for us. Nothing gives you that natural high like helping another human being.
With the start of the 2012, reflect on the balance in your life. How do you fill your buckets? Are they at least 80 percent full?
Here’s to a new year and to working on our buckets. Send me your thoughts! Which bucket do you find the hardest to maintain? The easiest? Which do you help your employees with?
Wendy Kaufman is the President and Founder of Balancing Life’s Issues, a national corporate training company. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.