Work/ Work balance

Everyone has heard of work/ life balance… it can be challenging to achieve at times and most people struggle with it. But camp directors have an additional struggle… and that’s work/ work balance. A camp director WANTS to be out with the campers, it’s good for the staff to learn by their example, it’s good for the campers to see them around and get to interact with them, it’s good for the camp because they have their eye on things, and most importantly, it’s fun!!
But, there’s also office work to be done. Phone calls to return, emails to send, reports to write, meetings to be had. All of the things that go into running a business.

One of the things I wish I had done differently over the years is to create a better work/ work balance. It’s something I continue to struggle with today and if I’m being honest, the last few summers the scales have definitely been tipping toward the office work side of things… which is such a bummer.

work: work balance

Based on this photo, I’m not sure why I’m so eager to show up to programs!

Wake up early

The common advice is to wake up early and get your office work done then so you can spend time with the campers, and even though that works sometimes it’s not aways possible. Late nights, bad sleeps, and that elusive work/ life balance (like going for an early morning run, doing yoga, or enjoying a cup of delicious coffee while reading the news or some favourite blogs) sometimes get in the way of the early morning work routine.

So what happens then? You’ve missed your early morning window (but that extra hour in bed was sooo worth it!) and you still have a to-do list the size of Santa’s naughty list to get though but you really want to spend time out of the office too… it’s a dilemma.

Full disclosure – I don’t actually have a solution. I’m not kidding when I say it’s something that I struggle with.


I live with constant guilt that I’m not spending enough time with the campers, and when I am out with the campers, I have guilt about all of the emails/ phone calls that are going unanswered. (It doesn’t help that I’m the only full-time camp person in my organization, it’s really hard for non-camp people to understand why you haven’t replied to their email within an hour on a Tuesday morning – but to their credit they try to understand.)

Office Hours

Something I’m going to try to do this summer is set some office hours each day where I’ll actually sit at my desk and return phone calls, answer emails and be “reachable” if someone from head office is trying to get a hold of me. I’m going to let people know in the camp’s voicemail that I might not always be in the office but I’ll do my best to get back to them during those specific times of the day.

Hopefully that will help.

Setting Priorities

Ok, so I’ve talked before about how every choice a person makes is just really a reflection of what their priorities are.

A little exercise that my ACD and I did this spring was to write down all of the things we did last summer – everything (that was more than a one-off). And then make lists of the things we should be doing according to our job description, the things we wanted to be doing, and the things we really didn’t like doing (those last two parts where her idea! Great idea!).

When we arrive at camp for our leadership work session, we’re going to go through the lists and make sure they match up… *spoiler alert* they don’t.
Then we’re going to look at things we can delegate, things we need to take back, things we have absolutely no business doing, and things that have to be our top priority, respectively.
(Confession time, we spent A LOT of time helping out with laundry last summer… for various reasons – and camp people are just programmed to “jump in” and “pick up the slack” so we did it. Even though it was clearly not the best use of our time!!!)



Even though I’m clearly very happy to be doing laundry, it really isn’t a good use of my time.

So, the plan is to learn from past experiences (as always) and to try to find that elusive work/ work balance this summer.

I’ll be sure to update in September!

If anyone has a suggestion on how to manage work/ work balance please share with the class in the comment section below! 🙂

Three more days till I head to camp for the season!!
I. Can. Not. Wait.

What’s your countdown?

Categories: If I Could Do It Over..., Self Care at Camp | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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