Hardworking Women Weigh in on Work-Life Balance
Workplace Wellness In any industry, it can be hard to balance work, family and fun. Hardworking women share their tips on their strategies for staying sane while chasing success.
Ever feel like you’re walking on a tightrope, struggling to find the “sweet spot” between work and home? You’re not alone.
For inspiration, see how several Women In Trucking members are tackling the challenge.
Live with purpose
Ramona Hood started out at FedEx as a receptionist 25 years ago. Today, she is vice president of transportation management at FedEx Supply Chain. While there, she has earned a bachelor’s degree and an executive master’s degree. Hood is also a single mom with two daughters and very involved in community service. Needless to say, she knows a thing or two about managing work and home life.
“I learned early on that you have to be proactive and take care of yourself.”
Hood tries to stay away from the word “balance.” “Everything is not equal at all times,” she admits. “Instead, I try to be ‘purposeful.’” Hood says she identifies what’s most important in each area of her life: health/wellness, relationships, success, etc. With these priorities in mind, she sets long-term goals and continually thinks about how she can support them in the next 90 days.
Hood’s online calendar helps her stay on task. Activities are color coded by goal, so she can see at a glance how much emphasis she’s giving to each area. “When I look at the calendar, I reflect on the visual and see if I’m living up to my purpose,” she explains.
The calendar also helps Hood to establish boundaries. When her evening schedule becomes skewed too heavily toward work, for example, that’s her cue to turn down engagements. “I’ve come to realize that ‘No’ is a complete sentence,” she explains. “There’s no need for guilt or overexplaining.”
When Hood does have time with her daughters, she gives it all she’s got. “It’s less about quantity and more about quality. You’ve got to be in the moment — really be there 100 percent,” she says.
Find ways to delegate
As a mom of two boys and a director of administration for strategic capacity services at Dupré Logistics, Michelle Roger faces a daily balancing act. “In my career, I am a leader in our organization — a driver of major initiatives,” Roger explains. “At home, I have two little boys, and I want to be involved in school and sports for them.”
The past year has been particularly challenging in terms of work-life balance, Roger says. A new promotion and rapid business growth found her bringing work home regularly. “I was giving 100 percent at the office and still couldn’t get it all done,” she says. “I learned that the key is to identify opportunities to delegate. That really helps to lighten the load.”
To help prioritize action items, Roger writes her top three “to-do’s” on a sticky note and places it prominently on her desk every morning. Roger also prioritizes her inbox.
“Emails can be overwhelming,” she says. “I’ve learned to sort by sender instead of by date and use ‘rules.’” Basecamp software is useful for big picture goals and planning, Roger says. It allows her to create groups, assign tasks, reminders, etc.
Like Hood, at home Roger concentrates on being in the moment and being present for her family.
Take care of yourself
Work-life balance looks a little different for CFI’s Stephanie Klang. She’s spent the past 30 years as a professional over-the-road driver. Since she spends weeks on the road at a time, her Kenworth 680 really is her home.
“I learned early on that you have to be proactive and take care of yourself,” Klang says. “The key is to make your sleeper your haven.” Her truck is well-equipped to keep her comfortable on the road, with a TV, portable toilet, microwave, refrigerator and even an ice chest. Her cats ride along for company.
Preparation is key. When she gets a load, Klang kicks into planning mode. She looks at Google Maps to verify directions and identify the best route. She plans ahead to make sure she gets a shower and a hot meal. Then, she packs up her truck with everything she might need for a few weeks away.
“Life on the road can be chaotic,” Klang says. “Loads get cancelled or changed on the fly, weather can cause issues, roads can be closed… You have to think it through. What are you going to need?”
The Trucker Path app is useful for trip planning, Klang says. The crowd-sourced platform helps her find a safe place to park or a truck stop with showers. Google Maps helps her locate truck-friendly grocery stores.
To stay connected with her husband, who is also an OTR driver, Klang relies on her phone and Bluetooth. Klang is truly at home on the road. “My life is here in this truck,” she says.