The 12-Step Rx to Work/Life Balance

By Rosanne Ullman | 05/04/2011 10:17:44 PM


“There’s more to life than work.” Jim Lafferty states that not with sarcasm but with concern. He feels that many of us have sacrificed health, love and fun by letting work dominate our lives. A fitness trainer who reinvented himself as a business executive, Lafferty first climbed the ranks of Procter & Gamble and today is CEO of Coca-Cola-West Africa. Speaking recently to a roomful of salon professionals at the 2011 ABS Business Forum, Lafferty drew upon his personal triumphs and missteps to present a 12-step prescription for work/life balance.

Define your five roles. At any given time, you cannot fill more than five slots effectively. For example, if you’re a mother, wife, friend, salon owner and athlete, you do not have room for another major role this week.

Consult only one datebook. If you keep one datebook for work and one for your personal schedule, your work commitments will always win. Keep the parts of your life together in order to see the need for balance right in front of you. Your son’s soccer game may be more important than that Chamber of Commerce meeting.

On the defining moments, choose family. Never let the salon win when you have an important occasion in your family such as a birthday, anniversary, school play or meeting with your child’s teacher. If you show up for the defining moments, you can be a little late for dinner a lot of nights. As the salon owner, extend this guideline to your staff members so that they catch their defining moments, too.

Take real vacations. This means leaving your laptop at home.

Train your people. If you say you don’t have time to train your staff, you’ll be doing their job for them and then you’ll have even less time.

Schedule in 30 minutes of exercise each day. Think you don’t have time? “The more physically fit you are, the faster you will enter Stage 4 sleep and the longer you will stay there,” says Lafferty. “That’s the stage that heals you, and it will save you an hour of sleep a night.” So you’ve already more than made up your exercise time.

Leverage today’s technology in a reasonable way. Take advantage of social networking to run your business, but be careful not to let Facebook take over your life.

Develop a list of “100 things to do before I die.” It may take you a while to come up with 100, but keep at it, and then try cross off two items each year. “This will change your life,” promises Lafferty.

Trust and delegate. People rise to your highest expectations—or sink to your lowest. Rather than micromanaging, build trust with new people by having them do small things at first. “If you can’t delegate, you have a work/life issue,” Lafferty says.

 Jim Lafferty, CEO of Coca-Cola for West Africa, shares 12 proven steps for achieving work/life balance.
Eat the China way. The China Study by Colin Campbell maps out a plan for focusing your meal choices on foods that can be grown. Eat half the meat you’re eating today and twice the fruits and vegetables, and you’ll become instantly healthier.

Integrate work into your life. Meet family members for lunch during the workday, and have them get to know the people at the salon.

Give back. On the road to success, we can lose perspective. “One way to regain perspective is to give back,” Lafferty notes. “It’s not enough to just give money. You own your business, and you live in the greatest country in the world. You’re following a dream that people would kill for. Find a way to give back.”





ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rosanne Ullman

Rosanne Ullman, Project Editor | Modern Salon Media

Rosanne has been writing for the salon division of Vance Publishing for more than 30 years, contributing landmark articles ranging from a year-long historical series in the 1990s marking MODERN SALON's 75th anniversary to a more recent, comprehensive tribute to Vidal Sassoon's impact on the industry. She was involved in the conceptual planning for First Chair and has directed several of Modern Salon Media's custom publishing projects. Rosanne holds a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University's famed Medill School and contributes to her community through three elected terms on her local school board.

Rosanne is our go-to provider for Modern Salon Media's Healthy Hairdresser e-newsletter. You can e-mail Rosanne Ullman at


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