According to an entry in Wikipedia “Work-Life Balance – is having enough time for work and enough to have a life, thus the work life balance. Related, though broader, terms include “lifestyle balance” and “life balance””.
As a society we tend to look at work as a Monday to Friday event and evenings and weekends belong to our personal time. This may be true for those employed in a traditional corporation, but for so many others, like those in manufacturing, health care, travelling, customer service, or other businesses that span the traditional 9-5 day this has never been the case. For business owners it is also quite different. Business meetings, conferences, trade shows, deadlines, and expectations from our clients can take our workday overtime into our personal lives.
My good friend Susanne Hemet was on my Power of Leadership Expert Call today talking about Burnout and how we can manage or avoid it. She described burnout as a “working in conflict with your core values”. (Listen to the entire recording “Battling Burnout with an Abundance Mindset” and sign up for all her tips).
In work-life balance it is not just avoiding burnout or reducing work so you have enough time for life, I believe it includes loving your work, having fun, being happy, and looking forward to your next day.
Balance is a term that means “to keep or put (something) in a steady position so that it does not fall” not necessarily that there is equal parts weighted equally. In your life to stay in balance to ensure you do not fall, like becoming sick, stressed, unhappy, depressed, or start losing your relationship or clients. To be in balance means you wake feeling excited for your day and you go to bed feeling satisfied for the day you just had.
I think there are 3 areas in your life that you need to manage to ensure you have this type of balance.
1. Working Time
During this time the best way to feel like you have accomplished what needs to get done is to know what had to get done. Have goals, create a daily to-do list and do something every day that takes you closer to your biggest goals.
If your biggest goal is to sell your business in 5 years, you should be creating concrete processes within your business, training procedures, and working on a long term marketing plan to ensure your sales will be where they need to be at sale time. To feel great at the end of each day there should be a component of some piece of this that can be touched (e.g. reviewed, tested, written, etc.)
If your biggest goal is to double your sales in three months, then do something every day to create more sales and track your money every day.
If your biggest goal is to complete your current project, know the project milestones and review your progress every day.
Finishing a day feeling accomplished is a great way to keep work time in you time for work.
2. Personal Time
Your personal time is basically your home life work. Driving your kids to and from activities, house-keeping, laundry, property maintenance, dishes, or whatever you feel is the routine of keeping your home life outside in order outside of your work time. This is the time you take to pick up your prescriptions, go to the dentist, visit with your kids’ teachers, etc. This is personal work, and it is not the type your boss or clients are going to pay you for when you are doing it for yourself.
3. Downtime Time
This is the time where your body, mind, and soul get an opportunity for respite. Hanging with friends, hobbies, gardening, sports or just chilling with a glass of wine, and dinner with your family, downtime is where your life is filled up again so you can do all the things the rest of your life requires of you.
Know that if you are in alignment with your core values in your business you are likely to love what you do and be more likely to be happily energized by the work itself, but, unless your family and friends get to spend all the time with you too (at work too), you may end up very lonely, so look for downtime to help support all your relationships in your life.
By completing what had to get done in your work each day you will have a huge sense of accomplishment that will allow you to enjoy the time you are not in work. If you spend your day doing personal errands instead of your work (e.g. doing laundry and dishes when you should be making sales calls), you will not feel successful and you will try to rebalance by completing work in a time you had initially set aside for your personal or down time. Now the dominoes start to fall because if you don’t get time to do your personal errands, then you will be working on your personal items when you should be finding time for your downtime (e.g. grocery shopping when you should be at the gym). When downtime is lost then you don’t have time to regenerate your energy or your spirit and that is when you really feel out of balance.
Stay focused on what needs to be done in all areas of your life, find accomplishment in each and you will find balance in all.