by Matt Alderton | May 03, 2018
If you struggle with work/life balance, you're used to having a full calendar. But what's worse than being overbooked? Being double booked, according to Harvard Business Review contributor Elizabeth Grace Saunders.

"It's not just one meeting scheduled over another. It's something for your family at odds with a work commitment," Saunders says. "These situations can trigger guilt and stress. Guilt because you feel like you're letting others down -- no matter what you decide, you will lose. And stress because you can't literally be in two places at once."

Saunders is right: You can't be two places at once. With a little creativity and planning, however, you can nevertheless satisfy both of your commitments.

Start by delegating. "Although you can't be two places at once, someone else may be able to go in your place," Saunders says. "At work, perhaps another colleague could represent your department at a meeting or event. At home, you could potentially work out a carpool situation with a neighbor if after-school pickup is an issue."

If you can't delegate, lean on technology. "Being virtually present at key times can make a huge difference in how supported people feel," Saunders continues. "For instance, maybe you attend your son's speech tournament, but you call in to meetings that happen when your son isn't competing. Or perhaps you must be at a sales meeting, but you call your daughter before her gymnastics meet to see how she's doing, get updates via text throughout, and call after to let her talk through how she feels about how it went."

And if you won't be able to check in virtually, try to compensate for your absence ahead of time.

"When you must miss an important work meeting, look over the agenda in advance and email out your thoughts that you want to make as a contribution to the discussion," Saunders says. "And if you can't go to your son's or daughter's actual show, go see the dress rehearsal. Making an effort to be present in advance makes a statement that you care."

More Tips:

Questions, Comments, Suggestions?
Contact Successful Meetings Editor in Chief Vincent Alonzo with your "How To" ideas.