With an ever-larger number of people working from home, it can be difficult to constrain the workday to 9AM to 5PM. We certainly see the tendency toward overwork in the AV industry, where clients have sky-high expectations, there is a demand for zero downtime and there’s no tolerance for failure. Although overwork and burnout are prevalent in almost all positions in our industry — from technical to sales — it might be most acute for those who work in marketing and public relations.
I find that many marketing coordinators and PR managers wear a lot of hats. We are social-media content creators, press managers, stagehands (especially during trade shows), shipping and logistics managers (again, during trade shows), travel agents, website designers, media contract negotiators and more. Our respective companies depend on us to help plan what products we’re going to promote, as well as to strategize on how we’re going to promote those products. As I wrote, we wear a lot of hats!
The Answer Lies in Balance
Considering that, you might be wondering how we manage to handle those myriad responsibilities and still have a life. Good question! One word has been my favorite ever since high school: “balance.” And that is where the answer lies.
Some definitions of “balance,” according to Merriam-Webster, are these: (a) physical equilibrium; (b) the ability to retain one’s balance; (c) stability produced by even distribution of weight on each side of the vertical axis. Another definition, however, centers on mental and emotional steadiness.
People talk about achieving the right “work-life balance” all the time, but, if you work in the AV industry, that “balance” can often be skewed toward work. Some companies have not effectively replaced teams whose members have moved on, thereby leaving a great deal of work to just one or two people Those individuals now, in effect, have become their own department.
I’m betting that, whether you’re a communications professional working for an AV manufacturer or you’re an AV integrator whose firm offers 24/7 maintenance and support, you could use some guidance to achieve a better work-life balance and keep well.
The following ideas might just make you happier and make your life better.
Tip #1: Don’t Work All Hours of the Day
Turn off the work phone at the end of the business day and adhere to time limits. This one is simple. We all know when we get off work each day, so turning off the phone and shutting down the laptop are both important. For those in multinational corporations, it’s not always easy; in those cases, many teams must converse over many time zones to get their projects done.
Nevertheless, shutting down our devices allows our minds to relax and break free from all the emails and phone calls we handle during the day. Know that, once you’re done, you’re done. Whatever was not completed can wait until the next day.
Here’s a thought that a wise woman shared with me: If you keep answering emails, they will keep coming. Your coworkers will realize you are available, and they will continue to send you things to do. So, at a certain time, shut off the devices and let your mind rest. This also applies to weekends.
Tip #2: Treat Your Body Right
Be healthy. Maintaining our health is so important if we hope to achieve true work-life balance. If we are staying up all hours of the night, answering emails and not getting enough rest, then we must resort to energy drinks and coffee to keep us going. That isn’t great for our bodies. So, drink more water (yes, I’m talking to myself), eat more fruits (yep, that one, too), and exercise.
Another goal to strive for: Eat dinner early! Late-night dinners are not good for us, forcing our digestive systems to work overtime to process all the steak, chicken and other meals we’re eating with clients. If you’re going to eat late, consider eating only half the meal and saving the rest for tomorrow. That way, you can be energized in the morning and ready to handle crazy, last-minute product-launch photo shoots, blog writing, press release drafting or even LED wall installation!
Tip #3: Enjoy Your Time Off
Use your PTO. Those of us who are fortunate enough to have PTO and paid holidays need to use them. Vacation time, or PTO, is important. It enables us to recharge our batteries and refresh. If we’re constantly working and even doing overtime, then, eventually, we’ll break down due to the stress and all the long hours.
Here’s one way to use your PTO: If you know there’s a holiday coming up, use a couple of hours to take off early and enjoy a slightly extended break. That way, you’re not burning up all your PTO, and you still have time saved up for that vacation you plan to take.
Here’s another tip: Use your PTO throughout the year just to relax. You know that the work will still be there when you come back. There’s never a wrong time to take a day or two for yourself and your family.
If we can adhere to even half these suggestions, our relationships will flourish, our bodies will be healthier and, most importantly, our work will not suffer because of burnout. When we manage our time effectively and we remain mindful of our wellness, we can achieve the work-life balance that we all crave.
Jason Polk is a marketing coordinator with Absen Inc. To learn more about Absen Inc., check out our sister publication Commercial Integrator’s website archives. This story was originally posted on the Commercial Integrator website.