Take Your Life Back:Coming to an Understanding with Your Business
Do you remember why you started your business? It was probably because you wanted to be your own boss, set your own hours, and reap the rewards of your own labor. You figured establishing and growing your business would involve a lot of hard work and long hours, and you have not been disappointed! But your entrepreneurial dream also probably included a vision of making enough money that you and your family could enjoy the “good life.”
So, what happened? If you’re like many business owners I work with, you have achieved a measure of success. There’s enough money to pay the bills, spoil your kids with an occasional treat, and take the family on a few dream vacations. But finding the time to enjoy these luxuries proves more difficult. Running your business is a labor of love that often demands overtime as you manage all the little (and not so little) crises that crop up every week.
With all you must do there’s little hope of achieving a work/life balance, but you can achieve a semblance of work/life coexistence. You can take back your life to ensure you wring all the enjoyment and satisfaction from all facets – business, family, leisure, etc. You just have to come to an understanding with your business. Here’s how:
· Say “no” to your company Whether your business acts like a me-first toddler or a sulky teenager, it’s important not to give it everything it wants. You already give it everything it needs – time, money, blood, sweat, and tears. Don’t give in to its every demand. Say “no” in order to keep your priorities straight and avoid turning the office, store, or restaurant into a spoiled child. The negative answer doesn’t have to mean “never;” it might just mean “not right now.” That way you can attend to the other needs in your life.
· Segment your attention Some work/life balance “experts” would advise you to compartmentalize your life by carving out time for family outings, hobbies, and contemplation that are separate from your work hours. That’s unrealistic. Your business will always be with you, either occupying your conscious thoughts or niggling at the back of your mind. The key is to live with its presence. Watch a football game, take your spouse on a date, volunteer for a worthy cause. These activities don’t require you to clear your business completely from your thoughts any more than being at work requires you forget all about your family for eight hours a day.
· Boost your productivity You can carve out more time for yourself by automating routine processes at work and making yourself focus on only critical tasks. You can delegate the rest. Let managers and trusted employees worry about work schedules, ordering napkins, etc., while you plan advertising campaigns, consider expansion, and negotiate contracts. The time you save can be invested in your home life as well as coming up with ideas to make your business even more successful.
· Stay healthy Fast food does not save time in the long run. It slows down your physical and mental processes and contributes to more serious health problems. Exercise, on the other hand, may take you away from important business in the short term, but it will help keep you active and involved in your life and business well into the future. Take breaks every couple hours to let your eyes rest, your muscles relax, and your mind refocus. Staying healthy also means staying social. Use your break time to take a walk with a friend, enroll in a class, visit the gym, or catch up with loved ones.
You may never get to the point where your company takes a backseat to other aspects of your life, but it is important that it not to let it become your life. Following these steps will keep you refreshed and ready to tackle business challenges while stopping every once in a while to smell the roses.