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Sangeeta Murthi Sahgal

Over 30 years of experience across functions like HR, Training, Operations and P&L Management. My strengths are in the area of Strategic Thinking, Operations Excellence, Customer Management, Team and Talent Management.

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22 Oct,16
18 Actions To Achieve Personal-Professional Life Balance

I believe that there are a number of simple actions that I have taken to balance the time and effort I spend on work and at home. These may work for you too.

1. Ensure quality work is delivered on time, every time

It builds credibility. Credibility I learnt, is far more important than the time I get to work or leave work. People at work and home have come to depend on my delivering on promises. Delivering quality can happen anywhere - at work, sitting on the floor outside an ICCU, at a vacation hotspot. For a couple of years our team delivered and billed 15 days in advance so that our entire business unit could close down over Christmas and New Year! We loved it!!

2. Communicate Availability

I let people know in advance if I am not going to be available - whether it is 3 days attending a Strategy Meeting or half-a-day for a doctor's visit. This helps us all plan for completion and/or approvals well in advance of my "unavailable" time. My teams also know that I do not want to be disturbed during this time and that they will get delayed responses. If we are in the middle of a super critical project, I plan a check-in time and number.

3. Communicate Response Times

I let people know when they can expect a response from me. And I stick to maintaining these response times! From letting my household staff know exactly when they will get the advance pay they asked for, to a 24-hour response time on emails. Communicating expected response time cuts down on useless reminder calls / emails and prevents people from calling me to check whether I have received and read an email or report and what my response is.

4. Put everything on one calendar

Calendars are great tools. They help us plan and schedule work in offices. I use my calendar to schedule personal work too - from dinner with friends to payment due dates of bills to shopping expeditions and vacations. Not only does it let me see all that I have committed to do, but also helps me allocate time judiciously. I share my calendar with my teams so that they are aware of time that I have blocked off, and they respect and appreciate it.

5. Plan and communicate me-time

Both at work or at home, I plan and announce to people that I am spending time on thinking, or research, or whatever it is that I need time for. I plan for time to read, or write or catch up on sleep. And everyone is told that this is my time and not to disturb me. I have an unwritten rule, that gives me 30 mins alone time after I get home from work. I use this time to take a shower or read or watch TV. At office I block-off several hours a week to read or do research.

6. Avoid your phone

I often work with my phone on silent or face down / cover shut, so that I am not disturbed by calls or flashing alerts. I have a different ringtone for calls from immediate family - set to ring even when on silent. At off-times, my teams (including supervisors) know that they can call me in a certain window iff "the building is burning down". I avoid looking at my phone when out meeting friends or shopping or watching a movie. I don't answer every call I get if I am already engaged with someone or something.

7. Return calls / messages when convenient to you

As I don't pick up my phone every time it rings, or read messages immediately when I am focusing on work (personal or professional), I make a point of reading / responding to calls that I have missed 2-3 times in a day. People know this and respect it.

8. Be connected without being a slave to work or home

Technology must work for me vs take over my life. I get the technology I need to connect "at will". I use technology to listen to music whilst I work or clear emails when a flight is delayed. I have ordered dinner for guests scheduled to arrive at home at the same time as me - I was just coming from another city! I shut down my computer when at home. And every time I reach for it, I ask myself, "Do I really need to boot up my machine?". The answer is often, "No."

Over 30 years of experience across functions like HR, Training, Operations and P&L Management. My strengths are in the area of Strategic Thinking, Operations Excellence, Customer Management, Team and Talent Management.. I have managed and integrated large global teams to meet both specific and soft targets. I believe that my experience as a P&L and Operating Leader has enabled me to bring new perspectives to HR challenges ensuring that HR has a “seat at the table” in all business decisions. Specialties: Business Management, HR Leadership, Workforce Alignment and Development, Linking Training to Business, Training Delivery, Content Solutions, Instructional Design