A SMARTER way to a balanced life

Suzanne Wheatley reviews her progress against her 2012 objective of achieving 'balance'.

Fit for purpose

I'll admit I haven't been very SMART in setting some of my goals this quarter. Last time I wrote we had been experiencing sunny weather and I had managed to get out running. I attempted to keep this going by putting together a schedule but then it rained and other things got in the way. However I have realised my front room is just as useful for exercising and have continued to maintain my fitness (DVDs in case you're interested) and have felt infinitely better, stronger and more balanced as a result. In striving towards a fixed goal we do sometimes get sidetracked and pointed down a different path but sometimes that distraction can be a real positive.

Getting involved

Take job hunting as an example. In order to impress a potential new employer it is often recommended that you immerse yourself in other projects and activities at work and the wider industry. Actively doing this is hard work and can take you out of your comfort zone. But in doing so who knows what you might discover? It could be meeting new people elsewhere in your organisation or perhaps finding you have an aptitude or talent for accounting/languages/technology/public speaking [delete as appropriate].  Becoming involved in a committee is a wonderful way to increase your skills - organisation, minute-taking and event management are just a few of these ways. And it's the ultimate way of saying "I'm interested in my profession" to a potential employer. A good manager will be on the look-out for someone who is interested in engaging with the world outside the office, for the benefit of the business.

Balance in all things

Achieving a good balance is the one objective I'm still on track to achieve* and I'm able to do this due to the open-minded attitude of my manager. Of course flexible working is quite the topic of conversation this summer, brought about by the expected and looming travel chaos here in London as a result of hosting the Olympic Games. I am really excited about the Games. This might be because I live very close to the Olympic Park but it's also because of the explosion of cultural events across London and the UK. I feel very proud of this fine city... I digress.

Getting to work on time and in a good state of mind might be quite a challenge for some this summer and I know organisations in London and other Games sites have been making arrangements to ensure continuity of business. Aiming for a long-term objective of maintaining balance and a good state of mind means I'm also expecting increased productivity at work. Being balanced and productive at work, for me, comes as a result of leading a fulfilling and balanced life outside the office. I feel very grateful to work for someone like Sue who recognises and encourages this. One of my great passions is playing the oboe and this week I have had two long evening rehearsals followed by two absolutely wonderful concerts with EC4 Music at the beautiful St Bride's church on Fleet Street. After the post-concert high fades, there's been what I might call an energy low. Luckily my fabulous colleagues have been happy for me to change my hours a bit this week so I can come in to the office a bit later but be wide awake and ready for recruitment action. I think it's the flexibility of your colleagues which helps you to be flexible, productive and achieve your goals.

Using SMART criteria

I mentioned SMART goals - specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely - and I'm adding on an ER which includes Evaluate and Re-evaluate [source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMART_criteria]. The evaluation and re-evaluation is key to balance and attainment. The objectives we set might not, ultimately, be the ones we achieve because our needs may change. Personally I try to ensure I see the positive in every change.

* But I'm hopeful of picking up some hints of how to improve my tennis serve next week at SW19. If you are good enough to play on Centre Court, I figure your serve is something to which I should aspire!

Suzanne Wheatley is a Recruitment Manager at Sue Hill Recruitment.  She has worked in information management recruitment for ten years.  You can follow her on Twitter @suzyredrec. 

Image via Flickr.