In our January issue, we attempted to paint an accurate picture of your profession with our 2016 State of the Industry survey.

One of the more intriguing questions asked, “What keeps you up at night?”

As you can see, about 45 percent of survey respondents indicated that trying to balance their work and personal life is “what keeps them up at night.”

These results tell us that, even though issues directly related to work – staff and personnel challenges, field conditions, salary concerns and finishing projects on time – are worrisome, it’s that delicate balance of maintaining a happy personal and work life, as well as finding time for both, that most vexes this sample size of sports field managers.

In October of 2014, Forbes magazine tackled this issue. The article listed several tips on how to achieve that ideal personal /work life mix.

Let’s take some of those tips and apply them to your industry:


Do you check your work email in the evening, at home? Constantly shopping for that new aerator or field painting supplies at your kid’s soccer game? Do yourself – and everyone around you – a favor: Stop! Make quality time true quality time. Technology is wonderful and, for most of you, has changed your job to 24-hour operations. This might be good for the bank account, but it’s bad for your mental health, throwing off the proper personal/work life balance.

So, when you can, completely unplug from your job. It’s very easy and convenient to complain to your spouse/friends/family members about a bad day at work. Families are your support system but, sometimes, time is better spent enjoying each other than ranting and raving over dinner about how bad that day’s work was.

Exercise and meditate

Find time each day – at home, away from the field – to exercise. This can be as simple as going for a jog, run or walk or even a light, quick stretching routine. As the Forbes article points out, exercise releases feel-good endorphins throughout your body. After a rough day at work, whether physically or mentally, finding time to exercise after can help relieve stress and anxiety. While you may not think you have time to add exercise (or even extra sleep, as the proper amount of sleep is crucial as well) to your jam-packed schedule, this will almost assuredly raise your energy level, increase your stamina, improve your mental clarity, boost your immune system and make you a happier and more productive person.

Meditation isn’t as easy and can seem foreign if you’re unfamiliar. Essentially, it’s rebooting your mind and emptying it of stressful personal and/or job-related thoughts. We all come home from work stressed. The key is losing that stress, so that when you’re on your personal time, it can be enjoyable to you and your family.

Start small

The point here is not to go for broke right away. Make changes that are actually manageable. If you’re that turf manager who’s working 80 to 90 hours per week and you want to reduce that number, don’t make an unreasonable expectation to work 50 – start with 70, and if possible, decrease from there. That extra 10 or so hours you’ve now freed up may do wonders on your way to creating that ideal personal/work life balance.

Everything here is manageable and doable with the right frame of mind — good luck!