How to Find a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Victoria Crone, the busy managing director for software company Xero, on finding balance

Victoria Crone, managing director for software company Xero. Picture / Brendon O'Hagan.

I have a healthy relationship with stress. Partly through genetic luck and partly because I’ve learnt to manage it well over the years. There are always challenges across work and life (family, friends, health) so accepting that stress is always present in some form and managing it well is really important. Sometimes things in all areas are going really well, and at other times it’s all on, on all fronts!

I try to keep work and family separate but of course that doesn’t always work. Sometimes my kids’ commitments, like sports and camp eat into work time, and other times work obligations eat into their time. So I try to remain a bit flexible both ways.

I regularly check in with my kids on how it’s going for them. I find this incredibly useful and, though they’re really understanding of my career, they are also great at speaking up when it isn’t working for them. It’s a constant challenge to juggle career, kids, family, friends and health. It keeps me on my toes that’s for sure, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The advice I give to ambitious, career-orientated staff is threefold:
1. Health is everything. Never work at the expense of your health, make sure you schedule time to manage it within your workload.
2. Balance is important. You become a richer person for the more experiences you have in life — you learn more, become more tolerant and learn to deal with different types of stress. You can then apply all this to your work. Getting them thinking about other aspects of their life is important.
3. And, finally, make sure they’re managing their stress and have the tools with which to do so.

Over time I’ve learned the importance of doing things for myself. I get so much energy from new experiences, my family, exercise and great friends, so I make sure I make time for that. And I “restore” myself with things like music, massage, candles and trashy movies so I find time for those also. Between the two, they keep my stress in control and my energy where I need it to be.

If you’re on fire everything else will be — so really focus on getting to that space and staying there. Understand your own values — what motivates you? What relaxes you? Identifying these will enable you to align your busy-ness to your values (which will put you into a happier place more consistently), and in turn manage the stress as it comes. And, finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Never underestimate the importance of a really strong support network.

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New Zealand Herald

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