A work-life balance is ideally the lack of opposition between work and other life roles. It is the state of equilibrium in which the demands of personal, professional, and family life are equal.
There is no doubt that achieving such a balance is particularly difficult for business owners. Especially those of us who find it extremely challenging to switch off when crossing the office door threshold to head home.
Therefore, for entrepreneurs, the struggle to find an equilibrium can be a daunting task. Some even say that stories about business owners achieving a perfect balance between their professional and personal lives are a myth. In reality, entrepreneurs must work 24/7 (or close to it) to be successful.
Very few entrepreneurs are willing to sacrifice their family lives on the altar of business success. A single-minded focus on work rarely brings real happiness. Business owners, like other social groups, want a fruitful social and personal life. Furthermore, there are various other reasons why a work-life balance is necessary.
In this article, let’s take a look at how a work-life balance may be plausible, so long as you are not seeking perfection.
1. Prevent burn out
The notion that “time is money” is widely accepted in the business community, and as a result, many business owners intend to spend every waking hour being productive. However, this attitude may lead to burnout as their bodies are not able to work without rest breaks.
Taking time from work to go to the gym, take a dance class, or go for a run are great ways to leave the office and create avenues for the body to move, rest or recharge. Even leaving the office early and getting to bed at a reasonable hour is good enough. Sound sleep is a great way to rejuvenate the brain.
2. Improve overall productivity
Some entrepreneurs may think working long hours means getting ahead of the game, but that is not necessarily the case.
Studies show that for every three people, there is one who suffers from poor sleep by bringing work home and stress becomes inherent.
After overworking for long hours and not getting enough sleep or rest, one loses focus. Productivity is, therefore, less effective compared to a person who is well-rested and fresh when starting the day.
3. One life is all you’ve got
You do not want to reach a certain age and wonder where the time has gone and where are the people who matter most to you? Few or none will be there if you focus too much on work and not enough on your personal life.
Create a work-life balance that works for you
There are many benefits to creating an acceptable work-life balance. A lower rate of absenteeism and increased productivity, as stated above, are at the top of the list. Increased work morale, communication, and improved teamwork with employees and colleagues will follow.
Employee loyalty is increased when the work environment is stress-free and promotes productivity. There are fewer instances of illnesses and, instead, improved staff motivation.
Now that we’ve discovered the value in having a work-life balance in the above observations, it is relevant to consider the steps that business owners can take to achieve a satisfactory work-life balance.
1. Pay attention to your time
- Make note of your time spent. Start tracking what you do with your time to figure out what is a waste and what needs more focus.
- Set priorities. Create a list of priorities starting with what is of utmost importance to least important; then add it to your daily endeavors. Decide to keep them top of mind. This allows you to allocate the time needed to what is most important and avoid doing unnecessary things of low priority.
- Ask someone to collaborate with you. It’s good to have someone support and motivate you to stay on track with your priorities while helping you keep an acceptable work-life balance.
2. Create boundaries
When you are not at work, turn off the laptop or work phone and dedicate yourself to your family, friends, or rest time. Only pick these up if it’s an emergency.
3. Do something you enjoy every day
Schedule some time to take a walk, read a book, or go for coffee with a friend, partner, or family member. It doesn’t have to be expensive or even complicated, just something to rest your mind and body and keep you relaxed and unwound.
4. Work on one task at a time
Focus on what is at hand at the moment and be productive; then move on to the next task. Preferably start with the hardest task first and go down the list to the easiest.
5. Evaluate your work-life choices regularly
Make sure you are taking note of your progress or disappointments and make room for improvement. Don’t let your expectations be too high but real. We are not striving for perfection, but something acceptable and adaptable.
A work-life balance is unique to every individual. The benefits and importance are clear, yet it takes time to achieve. I don’t think anyone can reach a level of perfectly balanced professional and personal endeavors. Sometimes, it may call for sacrifices on both ends; however, the goal remains, and many are living it and making it work.
Marek Struszczyk, a high-performance coach, is a certified health mentor and the founder of ManagerUp.com, helping executives to be healthier, more productive, and more successful.
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