Broad­caster finds key to work-life bal­ance

The Georgia Straight - - Healthy Living -


Over the week­end, TEDX Van­cou­ver took over the Chan Cen­tre at UBC to present 19 ed­u­ca­tional and in­spir­ing talks by com­mu­nity lead­ers, en­trepreneurs, and in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned ac­tivists. The theme was “how to”: step-by-step work­shops on suc­cess and over­com­ing ad­ver­sity, pre­sented by masters of their craft.

Some of the ideas were the­o­ret­i­cal frame­works for tack­ling global prob­lems, like for­mer prime min­is­ter Kim Camp­bell’s call for ac­tion on en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity and jour­nal­ist Mohamed Fahmy’s plea to pro­tect press free­dom. Thought lead­ers pro­vided provoca­tive con­cepts that chal­lenged the sta­tus quo, like Daryl Fon­tana’s push to lower the vot­ing age to 16. And some were purely in­struc­tional, like Break­fast Tele­vi­sion host Riaz Meghji’s How to Make a Toast.

One of the more ap­pli­ca­ble how­tos, pre­sented by award-win­ning pro­ducer and direc­tor An­drea Grif­fith, took on the con­stant strug­gle to main­tain sta­bil­ity be­tween pro­fes­sional de­mands and per­sonal de­sires: the work-life bal­ance.

Faced with in­creas­ing dis­trac­tions, es­tab­lish­ing a sus­tain­able work-life bal­ance is a cir­cus high­wire act of jug­gling time, en­ergy, and at­ten­tion—an act Grif­fith has learned to mas­ter by re­pur­pos­ing skills gar­nered from 19 years work­ing in tele­vi­sion.

As a pro­duc­tion ex­ec­u­tive for Corus En­ter­tain­ment, a Toron­to­based broad­caster, Grif­fith has brought to life a hand­ful of pop­u­lar life­style shows, in­clud­ing Mov­ing the Mcgillivrays, Holmes and Holmes, and the new fash­ion-com­pe­ti­tion se­ries Stitched.

“How do you di­vide work and life when it’s all life?” Grif­fith asked the au­di­ence. “And if you’re bal­anc­ing, that means you’re putting equal weight on those two things. That’s al­most im­pos­si­ble.”

She at­tributes her shift in think­ing to what she called an out-of­body ex­pe­ri­ence: a drone shot taken as she and her hus­band strug­gled to af­fix a Christ­mas tree onto the roof of their car sev­eral years ago. The cou­ple had taken their two chil­dren to pick out a tree for the hol­i­days, only to dis­cover they’d for­got­ten the straps needed to mount the fes­tive green­ery to the ve­hi­cle. The chil­dren grew rest­less. Grif­fith and her hus­band got frus­trated. Chaos en­sued.

In that mo­ment, Grif­fith thought to her­self: “This would never hap­pen at work.”

She ex­plained that her pro­fes­sional life got the or­ga­nized, proac­tive plan­ner while her home life suf­fered.

“I wasn’t feel­ing guilty; I don’t do guilt,” she said. “I felt em­pow­ered be­cause I knew what I had to do.”

Grif­fith de­cided to adapt four strate­gies she re­lied upon in her ca­reer to cre­ate bal­ance in her fam­ily time. The first strat­egy, she said, is sim­ple: write it down.

“You prob­a­bly have good ideas that you’re not us­ing,” she said. “In TV, we write it down. We have brain­storm ses­sions, we have meet­ings. Ev­ery idea is ei­ther im­ple­mented im­me­di­ately or we store it away for next sea­son.”

Tak­ing her own ad­vice, she wrote down that she needed a “strap thingy”—later to dis­cover it was called a ratchet strap—which she bought and used for a much smoother jaunt to the Christ­mas­tree farm the fol­low­ing year.

Grif­fith calls the sec­ond strat­egy “pulling a me­peat”—her play­ful adap­ta­tion of the word re­peat.

“In TV, when a show does well, we com­mis­sion a sec­ond sea­son. If it works once, it’ll work again. It’s a heck of a time saver,” she said.

Grif­fith said she pulls “me­peats” all the time. For ex­am­ple, she des­ig­nated a “sum­mer uni­form”: an out­fit she wears to run er­rands and taxi her chil­dren around to ac­tiv­i­ties af­ter work. “Three white ox­ford shirts, three jean shorts. I ro­tate them. I get home from work, change into the sum­mer uni­form, and we’re gone. And I get com­pli­ments!” she said.

“Same out­fit, y’all. Me­peat.” Thirdly, Grif­fith said, start ear­lier. “Hav­ing what you need, or what your fam­ily needs, when you need it al­le­vi­ates stress. At work, we’re two years ahead. It’s not pos­si­ble in your per­sonal life, but you could plan one month ahead, two months ahead, a few weeks. It’s doable.”

Lastly, she said, vi­su­al­ize. “Visu­al­iza­tion is a pow­er­ful tool. If you see the en­tire scene all the way through, you’ll plan prop­erly,” she told the au­di­ence, adding that in the re­al­ity-tv in­dus­try, although scenes aren’t scripted, the pro­duc­tion team walks through ev­ery scene from open­ing ti­tles to clos­ing cred­its long be­fore film­ing be­gins.

“The re­al­ity is the work-life bal­ance isn’t al­ways at­tain­able. It just isn’t. Ev­ery day is dif­fer­ent. Don’t be dis­cour­aged,” she con­cluded.

“You are your own best re­source. You have skills. You have ideas. Cap­ture them, use them, and when they work for you, pull a me­peat!”-

and pro­vide a so­cial en­vi­ron­ment that can help to counter iso­la­tion.

Rain­bow Roundtable, fa­cil­i­tated by Travis Jones, starts on Fri­day (Septem­ber 14) at the Roundhouse Com­mu­nity Arts and Recre­ation Cen­tre (181 Roundhouse Mews). This weekly group, which will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Fri­days un­til De­cem­ber 14, is de­signed for LGBT adults and el­ders who are 55 years and above. The cost is $5 per drop-in ses­sion.

The group will al­low par­tic­i­pants to share sto­ries, ex­pe­ri­ences, and knowl­edge about the chal­lenges of ag­ing in LGBT com­mu­ni­ties.

In ad­di­tion, speak­ers from var­i­ous lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions and ser­vice providers will talk about a range of top­ics re­lated to health and well-be­ing in re­la­tion to the ag­ing process.

For more in­for­ma­tion about Rain­bow Roundtable, visit their Face­book web page ).

(www.face­ bowroundtable/

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