Work Life Effectiveness interview series: Jungmin Lee
What does Work Life Effectiveness (“WLE”) mean to you?
WLE means recognizing that life consists of many different components, each of which requires attention to make the whole experience more enjoyable.
What is one strategy that helps you establish, maintain, and achieve WLE in your workday?
I do one thing at a time. When trying to manage multiple things in a day, I sometimes find myself attempting to multitask too much. This occasionally makes one thing a distraction to another, rather than an individual priority that deserves its fair share of attention. At the end of a day like that I feel exhausted, but I have a hard time remembering what I have accomplished.
What has helped me is blocking out times for individual tasks and focusing on one thing at a time. Although I need to be flexible and make some exceptions, I have learned over time that this strategy helps me to be effective.
What do you find the most challenging about being effective in both your work & family lives?
Communication. We do not live in isolation. My life is made up of colleagues, family, and friends who have their own priorities just as I have my own. Thus, it becomes extremely difficult, if not impossible, to please everyone around me. Against this backdrop, communication becomes challenging yet critical for being effective in my work and family lives.
Is there an AlixPartners program that you have found helpful in maintaining a good balance?
Although our work can be demanding with its long hours and frequent travel, I believe we do appreciate the importance of work-life balance. I have been fortunate to have worked with many colleagues who share the same view. I think it can be as simple as exercising common sense and introducing more flexibility to our lives, and I am glad to see that AlixPartners is working on programs to help in this regard.
At what point in your career did you realize that WLE actually improves your performance in the workplace?
Early in my professional career, my life was centered around my job. I worked hard in the way I knew, which was to work around the clock and frequently on weekends. About five years into this, I had a major personal event that made me reflect on life in a broader sense. To cope with those circumstances, I started doing more outside of work, engaging in various cultural activities, and making new friends in the process.
Soon, I realized that these activities weren’t just helping me in my personal life, but also at work. New activities and friends proved to be the source of fresh perspectives and energy. To accommodate these in my schedule, I planned ahead to be more effective while at work. Looking back, my life wasn’t balanced or healthy before I made these changes.
How has your approach on WLE evolved over the years?
I think my approach has been evolving. I’m putting more emphasis on various WLE components and managing priorities wisely to bring out the best synergistic effects on my life. This differs from my earlier approach, where the focus was more on figuring out what to add to my “life portfolio.”
How do you ensure your teams are achieving WLE?
I try to be sensitive to other people’s priorities. I believe the respect for others’ time and commitments is mutual.
If you had to give one piece of advice related to WLE to your younger self, what would it be?
Life is a journey. Look around as you walk along the path. Don’t be afraid to stop, take a breath, and embrace the unexpected.