Magazine article Working Mother

Top 10: Work Life Unplugged

Magazine article Working Mother

Top 10: Work Life Unplugged

Article excerpt

Support Network

Sharon Bracken

Abbott * President, Abbott Point of Care Diagnostics * Princeton, NJ

Mom of Kyleigh, 16, and Brianne, 14

Disconnecting and connecting can't really be done alone. It's not your own choice. You need a support network to be able to focus and connect when you need to. When my daughters were toddlers and I was starting out in my career, my husband and I agreed that he would adjust his work hours because I was doing a three-shift, 24-hour manufacturing operation. I wasn't available to disconnect from work with that schedule.

Today, my boss, my peers and my colleagues enable me to disconnect from work when I need to connect with my family. And then, equally, my family and friends have enabled me to disconnect. This has afforded me a good level of fulfillment, because I can spend time with my children and also be committed to my job.

The key is being conscious with the decisions you have to make, because you can't be everywhere all the time. You have to know what your personal limitations are. You have to know what your family's limitations are. And you have to know the work priorities. It's not perfect, but that personal reflection has worked for me.

Team Trust

Jana arBanaS

Deloitte * Principal * San Francisco, CA

Mom of Dylan, 7, and Justin, 3

My goal every evening during the week is to disconnect from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. to spend one-on-one time with my boys and my husband. And from the end of the day Friday to Monday morning, I'm also focused on and present with my family.

My ability to disconnect has a lot to do with the teams I have built. It's important for my team to know that when I disconnect, it's largely because I trust their ability to get work done, and I value their ability to lead the team as well.

As a leader, I obviously feel the need to disconnect for myself, but it's really critical for us as leaders to pay it forward. If you're doing a great job of achieving disconnectedness, how do you ensure that you create that disconnectedness for the people you work with? That's a big priority for me.

Deloitte has a high-performance culture, but at the same time we want to ensure our employees have the time to disconnect and recharge. Just recently, our CEO sent a message encouraging email-free weekends. Having that put out by our CEO, from the top, has made a really big difference.

Fair and Balanced

Veronica caJiGaS

Discovery Communications * SVP, Global Business Operations * Silver Spring, MD

Mom of Sofia, 3, and Camila, 10 months

When I'm at work, I want to give my best to my colleagues and to the work that I'm doing. But my family deserves the same amount of attention I would give work-or more. Disconnecting is the only way you can be fair to all parties involved in your life.

To be able to make time for my family, my workdays are packed. I have lunch in front of my computer; I have meetings back to back. I try to leave the office between 5:30 and 6 p.m. That's when I try to disconnect from work and give my time to my kids. We eat together, I bathe them, and we have story time. I try to have them in bed by 8:30. At that point, if something has come up at work, I check my emails, but by 9, I try to unwind and stop my workday.

It doesn't always work perfectly. Something could come up and I have to stop and then come back to my time with my kids. It's not something I can say I have completely under control. I'm constantly trying to improvise, and I'm constantly adjusting.

Keeping Pace

kelly Grier

Ernst & Young LLP * EY Americas Vice Chair- Talent * Chicago, IL

Mom of Jack, 14

I don't think that I could be effective at work if I didn't have the ability to enjoy a rich and rewarding life at home. And that is predicated on having that focused time with my family and for me personally. It's the ability to go out for a run in the morning, to clear my mind-all of those things are absolutely essential to my well-being. …

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