Ending The Balancing Act
Long workdays building empires, raising babies, deployments, never-ending housework, socializing with friends and family, and getting eight hours of sleep a night; how is a work-life balance possible? Striving for balance in your busy life is a completely normal feeling, but does “balance” actually exist? Balance sometimes seems nearly impossible working remotely. How do you create an atmosphere that separates your work life from your personal life when you never actually leave “work”?
In “8 Ways To Achieve Better Work-Life Balance,” Forbes mentions a number of great points that I’ll touch on a bit, but something that really stood out to me was this: “Superwoman–and Superman–are fictional characters. Real people can’t devote 100% to everything they do.” The reality is this: it’s impossible to give everything all of our attention all the time. What if you stopped looking for balance and tried creating harmony inside and outside of your work-life instead?
Strive for harmony, not balance.
What do I mean by creating harmony? It’s accepting that your work life and personal life don’t necessarily need to compete 100% of the time. You’re an entrepreneur. You started your business because of your love for the field you’re in. Sometimes you’ll have to give your business more of your attention than your home life and vice versa. And that’s okay. Stop feeling guilty for spending more time with your family than on your work last week. Don’t let “mom guilt” creep up on you when you worked an extra six hours yesterday because you wanted to meet an important deadline.
Instead of practicing a work-life balancing act, try creating habits that effectively change the way you see your work life and your personal life. Set boundaries and learn how to prioritize your time so that both aspects of your life start to mesh with each other. I’m sharing some tips and tricks that I’ve found have helped my business and my personal life flourish over the years.
Create lists to help prioritize your time. Come up with a system or routine that makes your days flow a little easier. Use your calendar. Write down everything you have to do for the week or the month. Set reminders on your phone. Start small. Take half an hour every Monday to plan out your week and to schedule things like family time, appointments, grocery shopping, important deadlines, conferences, etc. By laying out your schedule every week, you’re able to make a conscious effort to make time for both your personal life, as well as your business.
Accept that things don’t always go as planned. Your meeting ran thirty minutes late. Your kid is sick. Someone else landed the client you were working so hard to get. Unfortunately, more often than not, the picture in your head of how things are supposed to go isn’t really how they go. Life happens. Grow from it. Remember to give yourself some grace.
Start to Say “No”
This article also mentions saying “no” more often, and I think it’s a great reminder: You are only one person. As much as you’d like to believe you can handle everything, you just can’t. Stop committing yourself to everyone and everything. No one likes to turn down extra money, but you can’t overwork yourself. Don’t take on too many clients at once. When someone asks if you’re looking for more work or take on another project, it’s okay to say “no.” It’s okay to say no to that barbeque this weekend because you want to take some extra time to work on the strategy for your business.
Get to know your habits. When do you do your best work? Try to wake up an hour early to focus on your business if that’s when you thrive.
Do you spend family time scrolling through emails? Make rules for your family and yourself that are realistic to abide by. Turn off all technology for an hour a few times a week to focus on your life outside of work.
Do you stress out every time a big deadline is coming? Prioritize time on that project and when it’s complete make an active effort to give yourself uninterrupted “me time.”
Learn what works for you and your business and learn what works for your personal life. Start paying attention to when you accomplish the most and when you need some time away from work. Start accepting that sometimes your work will require more of you and sometimes your personal life will require all of you. When you start learning how to integrate the two and set limits and boundaries that work for you, I promise you’ll find yourself in a more productive, more harmonious spot in each aspect of your life.