Work/Life Balance- Our Anniversary Reflection

Today we celebrate our 12th Wedding Anniversary. We are fortunate to be able to celebrate at the end of each year as this provides us with an opportunity to renew our vows to each other based on our priorities for the coming year.   We have had an amazing ride over the last 12 years and have learned so much about each other and accomplished so much together.  We have grown in all aspects of our relationship and feel as though the journey we have been on is truly just the beginning of an even stronger more powerful marriage.

Today, on our Anniversary we wanted to share with you one of our biggest challenges and how we approach it as a couple as we believe it is one of the biggest challenges many individuals and couples face today.  We hope that our messages helps you in a positive way.

Our Anniversary Reflection- Work/Life Balance 

One of our biggest challenge as a couple is to figure out how to best manage our work/life balance especially given the fact that both of us work in the technology industry.  As the new year is around the corner it brings with it the opportunity to look back on our lives as individuals as well as a couple and set new goals for the future- to RESET.  Most people set new goals for exercise, changing their eating habits, saving money, etc.  Don’t get me wrong, these are important and are a part of our overall plan as well.  However, we truly feel the most important goal for us is to set a goal of how we will manage our work/life balance in the coming year.  Without work/life balance, I am not quite sure we can be successful with all the other goals we are trying to accomplish.

Work/Life balance affects everything.  Especially relationships with spouses, family and friends.  As we reflect on the past 12 years, we feel we have done a pretty good job of successfully managing work/life balance.  I don’t think we would have been able to complete a marathon on every continent had we not.  We also realize that there is so much room for improvement.

We believe much of our success is related to the fact that we set goals and guidelines as a couple as to what we wish to achieve together and how we want to ensure that we have a good work/life balance.  Setting goals together is a continual work in progress.  We are challenged every day, every week, every month as our business changes and the demands from our company put stresses on us that we were not prepared for when setting our goals together.  This is going to happen.

Prior to the beginning of each new year we look back and reflect on where we had challenges or communication breakdowns in regards to work and accomplishing our personal goals together.  We look at the resolutions we agreed upon and decipher if the proposed resolution accomplished our goal.  Sometimes they did, sometimes they didn’t.

We then have a serious discussion about how we want to see our relationship improve and grow over the coming year and WRITE DOWN these goals.  We discuss, based on the information gathered over the previous year what hurdles may keep us from having the relationship we desire.  We put a plan (written)  in place to meet our goals as well as how we will deal with the issues as they arise from work, outside distractions beyond our control, etc.  that may interrupt us from meeting our goals.

This has worked for us over the years and each year we learn to appreciate each other more and more.  We have grown closer each year because we have taken the time to “care” about each other as well as to understand what is important for each of us individually.  Don’t get me wrong, we do have disagreements and we do “break” our agreements sometimes due to pressures.  The learnings we obtain from our discussions around our disagreements far out weigh the negatives from our disagreements.

A few of our goals to drive a stronger work/life balance:

  • We put our mobile phones away  at 6pm every evening until we decide to go to bed.  This allows us to spend time together without interruptions.  It creates conversation and keeps us “in touch” with each other. This also allows up to start to tackle many of the action items needed to complete the goals we set out for the year- such as training for marathons, learning to play piano or guitar, etc.
  • Insure that our managers are aware of our work/life balance goals.  When we work- we work hard.  When we are off work, we are off work (accept for those special circumstances at year end/quarter end, etc).  Managers that take work/life balance seriously and lead by example  are the strongest managers to have in your organization
  • Leave our phones in the car when we are dining out as a couple.
  • Set goals outside of work (ie. marathons, time fishing or hunting, time with family, friends and neighbors, etc.).  Make and take time for ourselves.
  • Social Media management.  We take time to look at facebook and other social media networks (mainly on the weekend).  We do not “live” in facebook and other social networks.  We realize that this takes time away from us communicating with each other and can totally disrupt a marriage.

We hope that you have enjoyed this post and would love for you to share how you are driving towards a stronger work/life balance.

Happy New Year

Two-Gether Runners

Microsoft Team “Rules” at the Nashville 2016 Marathon/Half Marathon/5k

 

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“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start” John “The Penguin” Bingham.

Another Microsoft Nashville Team Marathon completed!  This year was another great year for Microsoft participation in the Country Music Marathon.  We had several Microsoft employees and family members run either the 5k, 1/2 marathon or Marathon this weekend.  It continues to amaze us, as each year our attendance continues to grow.  Work/Life balance is a top priority at Microsoft and therefore the continued increase in attendance more than likely is a direct result of our company’s focus on insuring employees are incorporating this in their lives. This is always a great opportunity for Microsoft employees to engage their entire family in a “fun” event together with other Microsoft families.  David and I were particularly excited this year as we had Mitch and Samantha from our family join our team! All of these folks trained over the past few months and prepared for the endurance challenge.

The night before the run we always have a dinner for all employees and their families running this event.  As usual the dinner was great and the sharing of stories and the time spent getting to know each other and their families was very rewarding.  This year “giant meatballs” were the favorite for all the runners.  Typically we have plates and plates of Pasta at dinner..this year Meatballs were EVERYWHERE!

The weather forecast for the marathon was very gloomy with thunderstorms predicted throughout the race.  It was an overcast morning on Saturday, April 30th, 2016 as the Microsoft team began to gather on the walking bridge from Nissan Stadium to Downtown Nashville. Periods of rain were in the area and traffic was plentiful.  The above photos consist of the employees that were able to make the 6:00 am photo shoot. Throughout the race we had periods of light rain but overall it ended up being a welcome cooling experience- much like a kid running through a sprinkler- it was just a 13.1 mile sprinkler in this case!

The marathon also changed the course again this year.  When I heard this, I thought “well it can’t get any hillier then in years past.” Wrong!  This year was the toughest course to date with hills for the first six miles and then a grueling hill the last mile before the finish.   Not sure why they did this but it was definitely part of all the conversations that we heard as we walked through to get our medals as well as the discussions during the party afterwards.  I cannot imagine what they will do next year- no way that they can put more HILLS into this course ( I will probably be eating these words after next years marathon).

This year was also a different race for David and I as we have changed our eating lifestyle.  We are now enjoying a Paleo/Keto lifestyle which is focused on a low carbohydrate eating style.   One thing that we have noted is that eating this way has definitely improved our overall performance and energy levels.  In fact, prior to this race we did not carb load (as we have done in previous marathons) and during the race we did not need to “fuel” ourselves with Gatorade or gu or jelly beans.  Our bodies naturally relied on burning fat for energy alleviating the need for us to  “replenish” or fuel our bodies during the 13.1 miles.  At the end of the race, we felt completely different than in past years.   Typically we are completely exhausted, out of breath, and in a lot of pain. This year, due to the fact that our bodies had leveraged our fat for energy, we felt great at the end of the race.  Other than a few pains in our legs or back (due to the mileage) our energy levels were high, we were alert and enjoyed the time after the race together.   David also had a PR this year for this course beating his PR 10 years ago!

I am sure there were many great accomplishments for our runners during this race!  Just finishing is an accomplishment, especially for our first time runners!    Ten years ago David’s PR on this particular race was 2:05:48.  It just goes to show that some things do get better with age as this year his ‘official” time was 2:03:26!  Mitch also had a overall PR during this race of 2:02 :20 and Samantha had a PR for this course of 1:55:51- Congrats!

Everyone had their own reasons for running this race; to achieve a PR, to challenge themselves, to get in shape for the Q4 activities at work, to embark on their first race or  to engage with their family in a fun event.  No matter what,  everyone running the race committed to a new goal,  worked hard, sacrificed to achieve their goal and experienced many of the same challenges across the course.  We are both fortunate to be able to be part of this team each year and enjoy and support the successes of everyone on our team!

Another great team event!  Looking forward to next year’s race on April 29th, 2017!