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Creating a Sustainable Work-Life Balance

Salary / Work Conditions
Different Skillsets
Internal Communication
Collaboration

9 November, 2021

Luis Villegas
Luis Villegas

Chief Technology Officer at Bungie

Luis Villegas, Chief Technology Officer at Bungie, describes how he successfully created a work-life model that enhanced his driven approach to work.

An Unbalanced Work to Life Ratio

At Bungie, I am grateful to be part of a healthy workplace environment focused on empowering team members with sustainable practices that support both their professional demands and personal well-being. And yet, as someone in an executive position, I have found it increasingly challenging to create a positive balance between my work life and my personal life. Like many people, I’m rarely disconnected from my career and I often find myself turning over work problems in my mind while spending time with my family or when I’m in the shower. In an effort to create a balance in my life, I’ve worked to create a healthy framework that has allowed me to focus on my work and my personal life in a way that benefits both.

Strategies to Improve Work-life Balance

Starting High-Intensity Sports:

My first lifestyle change incorporated regular sessions of high-intensity sports into my weekly routine, anything that felt high-stakes and gave me a rush of adrenaline. Specifically, mountain biking and Brazilian jiu-jitsu became outlets that helped me disconnect from work. While mountain biking, I cannot take a moment to think about anything else for fear of injury. It’s the same for jiu-jitsu, a high-stakes sport that requires me to be completely aware of the present moment. As much as these intense physical activities benefit my health, they also take me outside my comfort zone and help me disengage from work-related pressure.

Taking Routine Breaks:

The second significant change I made was setting up recurring breaks every six weeks. I discovered this system by accident, traveling for conferences on a routine six- to eight-week schedule. I realized I came back from these conferences feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, even though the travel was work-related. The changing setting and environment allowed me to relax.

After coming to this significant realization, I replaced traveling for work with traveling for leisure. I benefited from short getaways, such as a road trip in my state, or something longer, like a cross-country trip. Either way, I take around two to three days off, plus the weekend, creating a long break for myself to disconnect.

Without this system, I feel burnout after any six-week period. The pressure and weight on my shoulders finally find me. That makes for long days at the office. A simple unplug for five days shakes this feeling away and allows me to recharge.

Day-to-day Strategies:

Over the course of my career, I’ve learned to put in place systems that help me stay motivated and productive on a day-to-day basis. Exercise is one of the simplest and most effective ways to keep myself driven. I incorporate it into my mornings before work and in nightly routines after I leave the office. Exercise helps me begin my mornings and wind down at night.

Lessons learned

  • Two different pieces of advice are related to work-life balance. The first is to set explicit boundaries that dictate when you are on and off the clock. This establishes a period in which you work using all your effort until the specified time arises. After that point, become unreachable and completely disconnected.
  • The second piece of advice speaks to a different strategy. If you’re like me and can’t set clear boundaries, embrace it. Develop sustainable models, such as high-intensity workouts and routine breaks, to balance your focus on your career and your personal well-being.

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