Wow, you must be really important to reach such an impressive level of exhausted” – Said No One Ever

I see it all the time. It used to be me. In fact, I almost liked it. I sometimes miss it. “I worked 60 hours this week,” no excuse me “I HAD to work at least 70 hours this week.” “I don’t have time for _______.” “I’m sorry I missed my appointment, it’s been crazy.”   Aren’t we really just screaming “HEY EVERYONE I AM IMPORTANT BECAUSE I AM BUSY” OR “I am justifying my position/paycheck/existence to the rest of you“?

Being “busy” is almost addictive. It’s self-validating. It makes you feel worthwhile. In fact, I can honestly say, sometimes after an 8 hour & productive day – I feel GUILTY. All my work is complete, I have nothing to think about that evening, and I feel like I’m not giving enough.

Everyone has stuff to do, it isn’t a contest. If you’re too “busy” to eat, sleep, breathe, or even worse, to have fun, you’re not doing it right. Is this really what you want to model for your staff? Running around with your head cut off – or worse making them feel less important because they are not as noticeably tired as you?  Acting like (or even worse, saying) there aren’t enough hours in the day, really shouldn’t be that impressive. I keep seeing a picture on Pinterest that says “You have just as many hours in one day as Beyonce’.” That is true, and I’m sure Beyonce’ is really productive, but I don’t think it drives the point home enough. If it does, great – you can stop reading here.

The most important thing you can model for your staff for the sake of your business, society, and IMHO (in my humble opinion) for the sake of this universe is BALANCE! Here is what I say about my boss Kris Murray to my peers “She kicks butt during the day, and she is a blast to be around.” She has found the balance that sleep, reading, drinking wine, making cookies, playing with her kids, book club, drinking wine (did I say that already?), biking, skiing, etc. provide to her work life. She couldn’t kick half as much butt during the day if she didn’t do all of those things.

Not only does she model balance, she encourages it and supports.  She encourages it by having a shared calendar so we all know what each other is doing. I know Kris has a group workout class on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. She knows I walk my dog 2 times a day.  She encourages it by planning ahead so we all know what’s coming by looking at our quarterly marketing calendar. Everyone knows are part around these tasks and what the due date is, so there are no surprises.  She encourages it by holding herself and us accountable. She encourages it by having weekly team meetings and daily huddles with us – we rarely have unanswered questions or emergencies.

Kris supports our balance by giving us adequate days off and holidays. She also takes note when we work or travel on weekends. We go for nice dinners when we travel together. We send each other pictures of fun things we do on the weekends and glasses of wine Friday at 5. We talk about personal issues like her kids and my nephew.  She supports her employees taking Spring Break to be with their families. She takes Spring Break to be with her family.  She supports us by making us solve our own problems; she doesn’t take on our issues, but trusts us to get our work done. Nothing is a crisis is our office and as Marie Forleo says “everything is figure-outable.”

Does this mean that we don’t cut close to deadlines – nope! Do we make mistakes and have to scramble to fix them last minute – you betcha! Does it happen on a consistent basis – notta! We all get a little stressed every now and then. I over book Kris’ schedule so she doesn’t have time to go to the bathroom. Stuff happens, but it’s not our constant state of being and we never drag it out. Most importantly we don’t burn the candle at both ends to try and solve problems. We take a breath, prioritize and keep going in a calm manner, unscathed.

Be conscious of the message you are sending about balance. Are you constantly telling others how much time you don’t have? Are you radiating stress and emergency onto others? Measure your productivity instead of business. At the end of the day your staff should be thinking:

I don’t know how {your name} does it, she kicks butt all day without a bead of sweat.