Firm to Family: Using Your Abilities to Help Your Family Thrive
Written by Jon Hersam, Human Resources Administrator; Marc Dacanay, Senior Client Administrator, PMP®; and Melissa Bennett, Senior Client Administrator
March 8, 2019
How to Help Your Family Thrive
Have you ever been at work and felt like a rock star only to return home and feel like you have room to bloom? The reality is that your personal life can be a lot more complicated than your work life. The secret to becoming a rock star at work and at home is to take the structure and skills from work and apply them in your personal life.
Your personal life is like a business, “You Incorporated”. Like any business, we want to be successful and that comes with structure. No matter how small the lesson may seem, by taking successful strategies from your work life and applying them to your personal life, you will improve and help your family thrive. Below you will read real life success stories from three different MRA team members.
Over Enthusiastic HR Associate
You may roll your eyes when your overenthusiastic human resources (HR) associate announces ‘it’s time to complete goals for the new year’, but what may seem like drudgery is actually helping you to be successful! In my role as an HR associate, I may have been accused of being overenthusiastic. However, my enthusiasm comes from seeing the positive results of these types of activities.
Every year, I help employees update their goals for the new year. I get excited observing the research behind the efficacy of goal setting.
“A 2015 study by psychologist Gail Matthews showed when people wrote down their goals, they were 33% more successful in achieving them than those who formulated outcomes in their heads.”
I know and write goals in my professional life and, as mentioned, I even regularly help other employees also document their professional goals. Yet even after witnessing the advantages, I still was not practicing this activity in my personal life. After recognizing this discrepancy, I decided to write down personal goals. I quickly realized the options were endless, again reiterating the complexity of our personal lives when compared to our professional lives. I could focus on diet, exercise, personal education, family finances, home organization, meal planning, developing my social network, community service, strengthening my relationship with my spouse or other family members, and the list goes on and on.
I chose to focus on diet and exercise, family finances, and strengthening my relationship with my spouse. My spouse and I started going to the gym together, which resulted in the unexpected benefit of communicating more as we talked during the commute to and from the gym. We also benefited from socializing as a couple with other class members at the gym. We worked together to change the food coming into our home and worked together to create meal plans as we changed our diets. Not only were we exercising, eating better, and strengthening our relationship, I was thrilled to lose 25 pounds! While tightening the belt around my waist, we also began tightening our financial belt; increasing our savings and reducing our debt. All of these successes came because I took the skill of goal setting, which provided structure and success in my professional life, and applied it to my personal life.
Zero to Hero Operations Ninja
As an operations professional, I’ve found that small “hacks”, even if they only save a few seconds at a time, can make all the difference in streamlining my day. Have you ever opened an email, told yourself you’d respond later, and then forgot about it? When something reminds you of that email days or weeks later, you have to go back and find it, refresh yourself on what it was about, and then respond. I have been there and it wasn’t fun; however, I’ve recently employed an “Inbox Zero” strategy. This is a method of managing one’s email inbox. There is a whole body of knowledge on the best ways to do this, but essentially, each email is either answered right away, categorized for follow up when time permits, filed in a sub-folder for reference, or deleted. It is incredibly simple, and I can attest that it has been extremely helpful in reducing what I call IIA – or Inbox Induced Anxiety. It has also helped in efficiently managing tasks and creating time to focus on providing excellent service to clients.
When preparing for this blog, I was musing how I could practice the same idea at home. Then, it dawned on me. I have a similar anxiety for finishing laundry. Here’s what typically happens:
- I put my clothes in the washer
- I put my clothes in the dryer
- I put my freshly washed clothes in a “clean” pile in the hamper
- I bring the hamper back to my room
- I move on to other things until I can muster up the energy to complete the overwhelming task of folding laundry
- Minutes pass, hours pass, days pass
- Then, my family needs clothes and it becomes a near emergency
The worst part is, at some point, I still have to sort, fold, and store every article of clothing.
Inspired by the “Inbox Zero” concept I’ve been practicing at work, my family has recently employed a “Hamper Zero” policy. The laundry has two options when it comes out of the dryer; be folded and put away immediately or be put on the bed so we literally can’t go to sleep until the laundry is done. Sure, it’s only been two weeks since this policy has taken effect, but I can report that so far, it’s been working!
Behind the Scenes Dream Maker
First impressions are important. Throughout my day, I am tasked with overseeing the process used to introduce new clients to our company. Onboarding, simply stated, is the first operational step to a lasting relationship. While I aim to make this a seamless experience for my team and our clients, we must work together to listen to the client’s goals, gather information to get them started, and organize our action items to ensure we are exceeding expectations for success. I truly believe teamwork makes the dream work.
I often use this same train of thought for my own personal financial success at home. Much like at work, communication plays a vital role for my husband and I to work together to establish our financial goals. We must stay informed, actively participate in educating ourselves, and believe in investing for the long term to ensure we have a clear path for success. It hasn’t always been easy, as there are always life events that take you off your path. One such disruptive event was finding out we had two diabetic dogs. Not only was this financially draining, but it forced us to keep good communication. We planned out our spending to buy the necessary medication and we created a schedule so the dogs would receive the insulin at the same time, on a daily basis. We followed our schedule and gave them the best care possible. These simple skills of making schedules and establishing communication patterns from my work life were easily applied in my personal life. This allowed my husband and I to have good teamwork, which made the work of caring for our dogs during this unexpected challenge easier for all.
All of these examples show how we have taken structure and skills from our professional lives and brought them into our personal lives, or as we call it, You Incorporated. Even in the simplest of applications, we found success in our personal lives. As your own CEO of You Incorporated, look for the strengths in your professional life and choose one to apply to your personal life. The biggest challenge is just getting started. So, just like you do at work, hold yourself accountable.
Share this blog with someone else and tell them you’re going to apply it. Not only will you continue to be a rock star at work, you’ll also blossom into a more effective CEO of You Incorporated, where you and your family will thrive.