Now that MBA program acceptance is no longer an issue, you can start thinking about mitigating the affect of short-term sacrifices you and others will make while you earn your MBA. This would be a part of achieving your MBA work-life balance and well-being. You are not the only one who will sacrifice. Review the list of sacrifices you created, or the list I provided in my previous post. In most instances, each item had either a direct or an indirect impact on someone other than you. Furthermore, the impact is usually short-lived and associated with daily living and work issues, such as failing to pick up the dry cleaning,missing a meeting, or not being able to attend a social event. However, ignoring any sacrifice listed is risky because even short-lived or perceived insignificant items can become very significant over time.
Mitigation starts with the list of sacrifices and the individuals affected. Once this list is complete or mostly complete, you can address each item in an action plan that will help you optimize your MBA work-life balance and well-being. I say ‘mostly complete’ because of the dynamic nature of our lives. For this reason, you will need to periodically review the list and update it even while attending classes. My previous post provided insight into the preparation of the list of sacrifices, so if you have not prepared your list you may want to review this post.
The best tool for developing an action plan that I have found is one developed by the Gallup organization and based on a book by Rath and Harter, Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements. The book, based on research conducted by the Gallup organization’s scientists, identifies five distinct statistical factors they define as “the universal elements of wellbeing that differentiate a thriving life from one spent suffering. They describe aspects of our lives that we can do something about and that are important to people in every situation.” Their “Overall Wellbeing” model takes a focused, integrated view of how one lives life on a daily basis, more so than the traditional Work-Life Balance models with which you may already be familiar. While MBAs were not an identifiable subset of the population studied, the results of the research and the model seem to apply equally to MBA work-life balance and well-being.
Their universal elements or essential elements include:
- Career Wellbeing – how you occupy your time or simply liking what you do every day
- Social Wellbeing – having strong relationships and love in your life
- Financial Wellbeing – effectively managing your economic life
- Physical Wellbeing – having good health and enough energy to get things done on a daily basis
- Community Wellbeing – the sense of engagement you have with the area where you live
The book provides online access to Gallup’s Wellbeing program and assessment tool, the Wellbeing Finder. Using this tool, you can:
- Generate a scorecard with your overall well-being score and your score in each of the five essential areas of well-being
- Track your well-being over time, and compare your scores to demographic groups
- Create action items for taking action to improve your well-being
- Use the Daily Tracker to measure your well-being right now
- Discover patterns in your life that affect your well-being.
The Wellbeing Finder is especially helpful for MBA students since it establishes a well-being baseline for monitoring changes in well-being while participating in an MBA program. I am currently using the tool and am finding it extremely useful.
I think action planning and tracking well-being is an important part of maintaining your overall well-being. Do you agree? Where are you in developing your proactive approach? Do you have any goals or action items you would like to share? Please share your thoughts in comments below.
In my next post, I will help you develop goals and an action plan for your career wellbeing while pursuing your MBA.
Rodney G. Alsup, D.B.A., CPA, CITP
Founder of MyeEMBA.com