The quest for work-life balance for entrepreneurs and small business owners is nothing new. The dichotomy of work-life balance dates back to the mid 1800’s. Even then, blurred boundaries between work and play created excessive work hours that entrepreneurs and small business owners admittedly wanted to avoid. Today, with continual advances in technology, we are even more connected to our work. It’s exhausting! It’s stressful! It’s impacting your health.
Although work-life balance seems to be allusive, it truly exists within the reach of every entrepreneur and small business owner. Try some of these strategies and see for yourself how to bring work-life balance back in your life.
- Identify the imbalances in your life. The components of a balanced life are many. They may include your career, recreation, community, family, health, physical activity, and spiritual growth. As you think of each area that is important to your achieving balance, what percentage of time do you currently spend in each one of those areas? What percentage would you like it to be? What would you need to change in order to make that happen?
- Underpromise. Overpromising creates a great deal of stress. In fact, most people make promises too quickly, and then become ensnared by the effort that it takes to keep their word. Here's a quick fix: promise half of what you think you can accomplish. You will experience much less pressure to perform, plus the extra time and space created will allow you to be more resourceful.
- Reduce your roles by 50%. Have you thought about the many roles you play? You may be the entrepreneur, small business employer, spouse, parent, caretaker, volunteer, landscaper, painter, personal shopper, organizer, schedule coordinator, bookkeeper – the list goes on and on. Each requires time and effort. Have you considered the roles you selected and agree to versus the ones that unknowingly crept into your life? Decide which roles are essential to your values and goals and do away with the rest.
- Unhook yourself from the promises of others. Has anyone ever made a promise to someone else that quickly involved you? Did they check with you first or was it something they assumed you would automatically agree to? Did it cause you to have more things “to do” as a result of their commitment? Be aware of who’s commitment is who’s. Allow others to take responsibility for their commitments. It helps them grow and assists you in creating balance in your life.
- Establish realistic expectations. High achieving entrepreneurs are a unique group of people that expect more of themselves than anyone else would or could. They wear a shiny “S” on their chest (designated for “super-entrepreneur”) and continue to set expectations far beyond what can realistically be accomplished within the allotted time. The space that exists between the level of expectation and what is possible is a source of continual imbalance and stress. There are no opportunities to celebrate as you continue to raise the bar with higher expectations. If the “overachiever gene” challenges you, create reasonable expectations for yourself each day. Your balance will grow in direct proportion to the expectations that you achieve
WIIFM (what’s in it for me/you?) to achieve a healthy balance between your personal and professional life? Balance keeps you sharp, creative, quick on your feet, happy, energized, and ready to take on your goals and succeed. And all balanced entrepreneurs say “ahhhhhh”!
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