June 9, 2017
By: Ann Marie Kimble
Work-life balance doesn’t have to be so elusive. Even with work emails and job responsibilities seeping into our daily lives, you can still manage to excel at work while finding time for family and hobbies. The hospitality and tourism industry, in particular, offers many gateways to the work-life balance you might be missing in your current job. How can you take advantage of the opportunities and redesign your lifestyle?
Know What Balance Means to You
The key to creating work-life balance is knowing where you are in life and what matters to you. Someone who is young and single will want different freedoms than someone who is settling down. The former might prefer an evening front office manager position that allows them to sleep in during the mornings, while the latter will likely prefer a position that offers more traditional hours of 8-5 or 9-6 so that they can have family time in the evenings. A catering manager works most weekends—a great fit for someone who prefers a more flexible schedule during the week, but not such a great fit for the person who lives for that feeling of leaving work on Friday knowing it’s the weekend.
Be Flexible with Others
Everyone seems to want a “flexible job” these days, but there is a give-and-take that comes with that flexibility. Instead of cementing yourself into working hours, be mindful of your managers’ needs and expectations, and be willing to step out of your normal schedule in order to help them. Being flexible with others will make them more likely to be flexible with you the next time you need to leave work to run an errand or work from home because you aren’t feeling well.
Establish Shut-Down Times
You are the keeper of your work-life balance. If you let it get away, no one else can reel it back in but you. This might seem contradictory to my previous point about flexibility, but you should absolutely have set times both for getting out and doing other things and for shutting down the day. You might have a conflict once in a while, but for the most part, you will have the control to keep to your times.
Maximize Your Working Hours
Distractions in virtually every direction—from emails and phone calls to articles, ads, and social media—make it far too easy to spend hours at work with nothing to show for your time at the end of the day. Before you know it, you’re using your personal time as work time just to keep up. To avoid this cycle, challenge yourself to be fully engaged whenever you are at work. Go there every day with the intention of completing specific tasks, and don’t let the distractions derail you from crossing them off your list by the end of the day!
Become More Promotable
Better work-life balance often comes with a higher-up position, meaning that if the short-term tips above don’t do the trick, you can essentially work your way to work-life balance. But, remember that promotions don’t just happen. You have to make a conscious effort to make yourself promotable and take steps on the path to senior leadership. The San Diego State University Hospitality & Tourism Management (HTM) Master’s Program can help you position yourself for the career and work-life balance you envision. Click here to learn more about the program.