The one thing I hear the most complaints about from entrepreneurs lately is the blurring of work and personal life. More and more, it seems, our work is overtaking our personal lives. But no matter how much people try to convince us this is a good thing under the auspices of authenticity and alignment, it has its drawbacks.
No matter how you slice it, integrating your work and personal life does a number on work-life balance. But getting a handle on this and creating as much balance as possible will improve your health, happiness and overall satisfaction with life.
Lately, I hear some people giving up on the idea of balance all together, claiming it’s impossible so we should just deal with it. That striving for balance is just setting ourselves up for more stress and disappointment when it doesn’t work out. While there is some truth to that, I think it’s critical to do what you can to protect your personal life from being overrun by your business.
Here are 6 great tips for balancing work and personal life.
Learn the art of presence
You don’t have to be a new age "woo woo" type to appreciate the concept of presence. Some people arrive at achieving presence through a meditation practice, but if that’s not your style, no worries. Having presence simply means being fully aware and focused in the current moment – bringing your all to the present time, rather than being distracted by the past (even a few minutes ago), the future (what you’re getting ready to do), or other distractions (what you should be doing). If you find yourself drifting in thought, just practice making yourself aware of the moment again. You won’t believe how alive and connected this makes you feel, as you transition from work to personal life and back to work. Try it.
Set normal work hours
Entrepreneurs are notorious for being “always on.” I know this might come as a shock, but you do not have to work 24 hours a day to be a successful entrepreneur. You don’t have to work the same set hours every day. You can set your schedule around your personal needs, but your set hours should not be so flexible that you find yourself constantly having to make up missed work time during your designated personal time. The important people in your life should know and respect your work hours as if you are working for a boss – no interruptions unless it is a legitimate emergency.
Take care of yourself
Nothing makes you feel more drained and out of whack then not taking proper care of your body. A healthy diet, regular exercise and adequate sleep will do absolute wonders for your stress levels. You will be able to show up more fully and bring your A-game when you need it, so you can unwind and fully relax when you’re done. And treating yourself to a spa day, massage, the occasional afternoon of retail therapy, or some quality time in nature will do wonders for your soul. Work will feel less daunting when you feed your personal needs.
Learn to say no
I give this advice all the time. Learning to say no is one of the best things you will ever do for yourself, your business, and your sanity. The world opens up for you when you learn to yes to the right opportunities and no to the wrong ones. Saying no gives you power over your life and allows you to create space for more balance.
How many times have you heard a successful person say, “I work hard and play harder.” Successful entrepreneurs who take their play as seriously as their work have something we all want – a contagious spirited zest for life. You know how to get it? Make play a priority. Commit to a hobby or an activity. Schedule it in. Make sure it’s something exhilarating for you -- scuba diving, knitting afghans, performing poetry – doesn’t matter what it is. Something you’ve always wanted to do, but you thought people would laugh or that you don’t have time. Go for it! When it’s time to sit back down to work, it will have been worth the time you put into it because you’ll have the sense that you’re truly enjoying life.
The most dissatisfied, overworked, run down entrepreneurs are the ones who try to do everything on their own. You have to learn to delegate and let go. Consider hiring help at home and at work, even before you think you can afford it. I’m not suggesting you put yourself into a tight bind, but I am saying to make hiring help a priority in both your company and your family budget. Additionally, lean on friends and family members for support. Building a support system around you is a critical step in achieving greater work-life balance.
What do you do to ensure balance in your work and personal life?