Balancing work life and home life has become a Cirque du Soleil-type adventure for many of today’s small-business owners. For many, the lines between work and home life have become so blurred that it’s hard to know where one ends and the other begins. And for small-business owners who are responsible for everything from facility maintenance to payroll, the 24-hour demands can be overwhelming. Worse yet, technology allows you to be connected wherever you are. No hiding!
Work-life balance doesn’t mean each is getting an equal amount of attention. Achieving a work-life balance means that you’re giving the right amount of attention to each aspect of your life, and you’re achieving professionally while enjoying family, friends, and home life.
How do you know if your work-life balance is out of whack? Here are some signs:
- You’re exhausted. Not exhausted like you could use a nap after a long night, but total exhaustion. With its arsenal of energy drinks, gallon-sized Starbucks cups, and break-of-dawn bikini boot camps, society constantly sends messages that fatigue is something to be dealt with and fought through. But fatigue is your body telling you it needs to rest.
The Mayo Clinic1 explained that chronic or extended periods of fatigue can damage your emotional health as well as drain your energy. For the health of both your business and personal life, getting enough rest is essential. Otherwise, both aspects of your life will suffer.
- You’re missing important stuff. School Christmas pageants, the latest Cher farewell tour, a night out with your main squeeze—are you missing out on big, important events in your personal life?
Same goes for work. Did you show up late to your big presentation with oatmeal on your jacket? Are you letting your team at work down by not pulling your fair share? It’s important to take stock every now and again about which parts of your life are getting short shrift, and adjust accordingly.
Your priorities, demands, and interests are constantly shifting, and so will the way you manage and spend your time.
- You’re constantly in a fire drill. You know that feeling that you’re constantly running 15 minutes behind? It happens to everyone from time to time, but if you find days stretching into weeks of harried lateness and surprise deadlines, dates, and appointments around every corner, it’s probably a sign that your work-life balance needs tweaking. When you’re not in control of your time and you’re constantly reacting, it means you’re not showing up to any part of your life prepared and present. Ratchet up your time-management skills, asses where the problems are occurring, and most importantly, start cutting unnecessary stuff.
So, what can you do to help maintain your optimum work-life balance? Here are some tips.
- Get out of your seat. In today’s world, commuting, computing, and communicating are all done in front of a screen while sitting on one’s tuchus, often stuffing one’s face with baked goods. Exercise is the ultimate stress reliever and a critical part of any healthy body and mind. Exercise helps you sleep, puts you in touch with your body, and gives you time to breathe. Whether it’s a walk around the block or a morning jog with your dog, you’ve absolutely got to incorporate at least 30 minutes of regular activity into your schedule every day. No exceptions.
Dr. Andrew Weil thinks modern society suffers from “nature-deficit disorder” from a lack of interaction with the natural world, according to an excerpt from his book, “Spontaneous Happiness,” which appeared in Newsweek Magazine.2 Sunlight, moonlight, bird song, and other sights, sounds, and experiences are fundamental to health and well-being. Get outside and move around. You may be surprised by how much better you feel.
- Eat healthful foods. A lot of stress and fatigue can be linked directly to an unhealthful diet. When was the last time you drank a glass of water? When was the last time you got your full five servings of fruits and veggies in a day? Eat right, drink plenty of water, and take a multivitamin to boost health and well-being.
- Cross stuff off your list. Here’s a secret: You don’t have to do it all. Do you enable a slacker on your payroll at work? Stop it. You don’t have time. Can you outsource any of your daily tasks at work or home? How about getting a housekeeper? Maybe you can take the laundry to get done once a month. Whatever it is that’s sucking up your time and energy, figure out a way to cross it off your list. Making time for yourself and the things you love, even just a couple of extra hours a week, will make you a better business owner, family member, friend, and anything else you want to be, in life or at work.
For more information, visit:
1. Fatigue: Definition
2. “Andrew Weil’s Spontaneous Happiness: Our Nature-Deficit Disorder”