Women in Leadership: Finding Harmony in Work-Life Balance
Jane Choi is the vice president of product development for Harbor Health Systems, a One Call company. She began her career in Information Technology as an RN in Nursing Informatics more than seven years ago, and has continued to grow in the Healthcare IT space. Currently, she establishes product development in alignment with business strategies to create efficient delivery methods. With family as her inspiration, she continually works to maintain work-life balance.
“I compare it to a bank account. You can’t constantly take out from your bank account and expect to have an endless supply without replenishing it. In order to give your best to your work and family, you have to replenish yourself daily.”
What does work-life balance look like and how do you achieve it?
My career development and family time are both extremely important to me. For me, work-life balance means making time for work, myself, friends and family without feeling like I’m making major sacrifices in any one area.
In order to make this happen, I employ small tactics, like spending time alone first thing in the morning, setting a good evening routine that does not involve technology and being 100 percent present with those I spend time with - by not being on my phone or checking work emails.
When you are away from work, how do you “unplug?”
It’s really about intentional efforts. I start each day with dedicated time for myself using ideas from “Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod. This includes some form of movement – such as stretching, yoga or walking my dog. Throughout the week, I book exercise classes and date nights and treat these like appointments. Every month, my husband and I schedule time to see family and friends.
Since I love to learn, I also unplug by consuming content in a variety of formats, whether it’s reading books on growth and development or listening to podcasts. I try to stay up-to-date on the news and interesting articles via several newsletters, which helps me get through more information in a shorter amount of time.
Have you ever been in a position where your workload left you with little time for anything else? How did you overcome that?
I have definitely been in a position where my days and nights were consumed by work. There was a time when I was working a lot more than I’d like to admit. One day, it dawned on me that the pace I was going wasn’t sustainable. It didn’t allow for time with my family and friends or for meeting my personal goals.
I started to re-evaluate the way I worked and looked at areas where I could be more efficient. I broke up my workload into two different buckets - what I had to get done that day and what could wait — then I further prioritized items within those two buckets. I also utilize a Trello board for myself to manage my time because organization is key when you’re juggling multiple priorities.
How do you help employees maintain work-life balance?
Employees are our most valuable resource. I do my best to make sure they know that. I want my team to be happy when they come to work – not stressed out or overwhelmed.
Most importantly, I advocate for my team. I expect work to ebb and flow, but when workloads start to get too high on a regular basis, I negotiate with the business on timeframes and get creative with solutions. I ensure the workload is balanced and prioritized within my team by working with my director to keep a pulse on when there’s too much on anyone’s plate. I also automate as much as possible.
Who has been an inspirational example in your life of work-life balance?
My mother. My whole life she was a working mother, but she still managed to wake up early every day, pack our lunches, make us breakfast and get us to school on time. After work, she spent quality time with us and always gave us her full attention. She always had a ton of energy and made it look easy (even though I’m sure many times, it wasn’t!).