Q&A: My Ever-Evolving Quest for Work-Life Balance

Each week a member of the Cardwell Beach team sits down to talk about the newest in marketing, sales, design, and teamwork. This week Matt Hansen interviews me about balancing my role as Account Manager at Cardwell Beach with being a working mom of three. I first made the decision to bring balance to my work and life after leaving a stressful corporate job that locked me into a grinding commute. I joined Cardwell Beach in 2014 and while many team members regularly report to the office, I have made the conscious decision to primarily work from home.

Q: What was your work-life balance like before working remotely?

Monica Reccoppa Monica Reccoppa, Account Manager, Cardwell Beach

A: I used to work for JPMorganChase in Brooklyn—commuting from New Jersey. Some days it would take 4 hours to get home. They gave me a promotion, which normally would be a good thing, but it came with 12-hour workdays. I didn’t know anything about my town, because I was never there. I would only sleep there. My only experience being there was going to the supermarket on the weekend to make sure we had food for the week. When my thoughts turned to wanting a family at some point—obviously that kind of work structure was never going to work.
Q: What was your first experience with working remotely?
A: I started my own business, and one of my biggest clients turned out to be a dental practice that I wound up working for exclusively. I started working remotely for them when my daughter was born. It worked out great.

Q: For many people, working from home would be a challenge, especially when trying to give equal time to work and personal life. How do you manage the two?
A: It can be tough. For example, sometimes I am trying to get out a contract while homework needs to be done and dinner needs to be made.
But normally, I work hard to keep that balance and not mix my work and home lives. In the morning, I know I don’t have time to be on the computer, so I use Yesware to schedule emails that need to go out first thing in the morning. At night, I prepare the emails so they are ready to go, so in the morning I don’t even have to turn on the computer. Once I take my daughter to school and get my twins settled in for the morning, that’s when I turn to work.

I have to be really disciplined about it all. In the morning, I know I need to concentrate, get everyone ready, and get things done around the house. Around 9:15 or 9:30, that’s when I start work.

Q: It sounds like you have created a schedule that really works for you. What tips would you give people who are struggling with balancing their professional and personal lives?
A: All of us deal with work-life issues. As great as technology is, it interjects into our personal life more than ever before. When I started working after college, it was very different; when I’d leave work for the day, that was it. There were no phone calls, no email. Once you left work, your time was your own.

But that’s changed. Even though technology allows us to do so many things, it interferes with our private time and it becomes more of a challenge. One of the things I’ve tried to do—and it doesn’t always work—is to really separate one from the other. That’s my biggest tip: have parameters around when you work and when you don’t.

Q: What is your favorite part about working remotely?
A: Not having my kids in daycare was something that was very important to me. I wanted to be able to spend time with them and not have somebody else raise my kids. At the same time, I’ve learned a lot; and I know if I don’t keep my skills sharp and keep up with technology, I will fall behind. So working remotely allows me to continue using what I have learned and continue learning while being there for my kids.

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