Sticking to a routine, meticulous planning and delegating responsibilities are just a few of the secrets one busy executive offers up to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Get a glimpse into the personal life of Jason Lovelace, president of Hub Sales at CareerBuilder, who juggles a high-powered corporate role while prioritizing the needs of his family.
Take a page out of the playbook of this busy executive who feels he achieves work-life balance all the time. Here’s our Q&A with Jason.
CB: What does your morning routine typically consist of?
JL: I get up between 4:20 and 4:30 a.m. I usually work out from 4:45 till 5:30 or so. I then have breakfast, shower and drive to the office. It takes me about 40 minutes to get to work, and I’m usually in the office about 7:15 or so and then my day begins.
CB: Do you maintain a rigid schedule every day in terms of when you leave the house and when you get back to force you to balance work and life better?
Yes, I have to maintain a rigid schedule. I have 4 kids, so even when I’m home I have things to deal with. Typically, mornings are my time — I’ll catch up on the news in the morning, whether it’s on television or reading what’s in my newsfeeds. I listen to News Radio during my car ride every morning to make sure I’m staying up to speed on what’s happening. Also, CBNC is always on in my office so I can stay current on what’s going on in the world.
CB: What does work-life balance mean to you? What does it look like in your world?
JL: I think the word “balance” is what work-life balance means — it’s equal balance. You have to fill your tank — meaning your personal tank — whether that be spiritually or through knowledge or whatever support you need. In my world, it’s exercise. I make sure I carve out time for myself.
It’s also about eating right, taking care of yourself and [the most important thing for me] would be making sure I have time for my family. My kids are older now, so they’re independent even though they still live with me. But I need to make sure I’m there for them with their academics, with their life decisions, with their sporting events — and with four children, that can take up a lot of time. I have a senior in high school, a junior in high school, an eighth-grader who are all boys, and then a daughter in fourth grade.
CB: Was there ever a time in your life when you felt like you achieved work-life balance? Do you feel like you have it now?
JL: I think I achieve work-life balance all the time. It’s about sacrifice.
A lot of times I’ll find myself putting too much emphasis toward work and try to shut it off, which as we all know is impossible. I think the beauty of technology is that it’s the dual-edged sword — you can always check in, but because you can always check in, you can stay current on things that are happening and then shut down and come back to it quickly to get what you need.
Do I get reprimanded for that from time to time? Yep, I do! But with this job comes responsibility — not only for individuals, but also revenue accountability and business issues, so I’ve got to make sure I’m on top of things.
CB: Did you take any time off in terms of paternity leave after your children were born?
JL: I took off the week they were born, but I was still dialed in to work.
Did your wife get more time off?
JL: She wasn’t working at the time — we have 4 kids and she was a stay-at-home mom, but now she’s back to work.
If your babysitter/daycare option unexpectedly falls through as you’re walking out the door to work, what would you do?
I’d stay home and get my daughter off to school. My two older boys drive and can babysit, so I have live-in babysitters. My wife is a registered nurse, so sometimes she works the night shift. If she does and can’t get home in the morning, then sometimes I’m expected to make sure my daughter gets to school, but that’s only on a rare occasion.
CB: When you travel for work, does your wife have to adjust her schedule?
JL: Yes, and I travel every week. We have to take into account all the kids’ schedules and everything that goes on at school to make sure we have appropriate coverage. They’re all in sports and my daughter is in dance, so they are always busy and all over the place. That’s why we do Sunday planning. Every Sunday night, we sit down and plan out the week. We have a huge calendar on the wall, which looks like the matrix.
I’ve never heard of that activity, but that makes sense because it keeps the family on schedule for the rest of the week.
We have to figure out. For example, my oldest son has to be home for my daughter, who gets done at 3:30, but he has to take her to dance at 5, and my other son has to pick her up from dance at 6:45, and somebody has to make her dinner, etc.
CB: Do you plan for backups just in case?
JL: No, they’re really good about it. If anything were to fall through, we have some people we can call and we figure it out together.
CB: What tips do you have for other working parents who are also trying to maintain a healthy work-life balance, and who may find it hard to shut off when they leave the office at the end of the day?
JL: There’s never a good time to shut off. When we were having our fourth child, I was traveling and doing my MBA. At the end of the day, it’s all about sacrifice and making decisions on what you’re going to do because you can’t do everything. As an executive, you need to be able to delegate — not only making sure you’re assigning projects out, but also following up on those projects.
CB: Do you think you’d be able to survive without your phone for a day?
JL: No! Was that a quick enough response?
Should I be able to survive? Yes. Could I? Probably not.
I did have to though when we were on a family vacation for spring break last year and my phone went kaput. I was able to get my iPad to least allow me to text, but I had to go four days without the actual phone.
CB: So…not by choice!
CB: Do you feel pressure to always be “on” 24/7 thanks to technology?
JL: No. Because I have a routine, I get up fairly early and I check emails when I get up right away.
The pressure for this role is you’re always “on stage.” Anything I do, any action I take, I’m always being watched. And so you have to make sure you’re always living and breathing the values and goals of the organization because what you do becomes acceptable for everyone else – and that’s true in parenting, too. I’m interacting with people and I’m “on.” They’re looking at me and if I do something, they’ll say “Oh, that’s OK to do.”
This is the fourth in a series of blog posts featuring CareerBuilder executives discussing everyday topics to help you live a better life both at and outside of work. Topics range from work-life balance tips to productivity hacks. You can read about secrets to a productive day here, secrets to work-life balance here and secrets to a great morning routine here.