Juggling it All: Work & Life
By RDBA Executive Director, Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
Many aspects of the dietitian role vary by retailer, but a constant across the profession is that this is not a 9-to-5 job. From evening shopper events to weekend community events, the retail RD doesn’t have traditional work hours. With this type of variable schedule, it can be hard to prevent work from overtaking everything. If you find yourself checking work emails while sitting on the sideline at your kid’s soccer game or cutting vacations short to get back for a work event, it’s time to evaluate your work-life balance and reprioritize where you’re spending your time.
Here are six tips for finding a better balance in your life:
- Define success for you. When embarking on a major project, you know what success should look like even before you start the project. The same is true for your purposeful life; you need to have a sense of what success looks like for you. Is it having passion for your work or making a difference with your shoppers? Is it creating family rituals that your kids will carry on when they’re adults? Establish your vision and make decisions that align with it.
- Set limits. You can’t manufacture time, and if you don’t set limits, work or other obligations can leave you with no time for the relationships and projects that matter most to you. Learning to leave work at work is a significant part of setting limits as is learning to say “no,” often a challenge for dietitians. Understand which work opportunities will contribute to the company’s business, your health and wellness brand, and/or your career, and say no to the rest.
- Limit unproductive activities. It’s easy for things like Monday morning work chatter, checking social media, or making personal calls to take up more time than you anticipate. Evaluate your day and where you are spending wasted time, and then minimize these activities that don’t contribute positively to your career or personal life.
- Schedule downtime. Just as you would with work events or doctor appointments, scheduling downtime and fun helps ensure you get the breaks you need to recharge. Whether it’s a date night or girls’ night out, putting the time on your calendar will motivate you to manage your time well so you don’t have to cancel. At the start of a school year, but all key events and dates and sports practices and games onto your master calendar so you can more effectively schedule work events around them.
- Hire it out. I know many type A dietitians who want to be superman or woman and do it all. But there is no harm in hiring out simple errands that take up valuable time. Consider if there is a neighbor kid you can hire to mow the lawn or if there are pantry staples you can order online to save yourself precious time.
- Find time to recharge. It isn’t always a multi-day vacation that you need to recharge. Simply changes in your weekly patterns can make a difference too. Is there one consistent night a week you can commit to leaving the office early? Taking 10-15 minutes to simply relax during the day can do more for your energy level than you realize. Find a quite spot (even if in your car) and simply close your eyes or sip a cup of herbal tea. Mediate. Do a few yoga moves.
It’s an exciting time to work in the retail industry, but to keep your energy up, build a purposeful life, and manage a successful career, finding balance is essential.