Work/life balance! It is a goal that many try to succeed at and feel like they fail. Business and family are things that you may feel are at odds a lot of the time. It is one of the questions I am asked most often. Are you juggling family and business commitments and feel like you are dropping all the balls? You are not the only one. It has taken me a long time to work out how to make these elements work together instead of my business being the enemy of my family. We are all ducks gliding gracefully on the water but kicking furiously below the surface. Does it have to be that way? Maybe not. Try these strategies to help calm things down.
Plan your day
Work/life balance! It is a goal that many try to succeed at and feel like they fail. Business and family are things that you may feel are at odds a lot of the time. It is one of the questions I am asked most often. Are you juggling family and business commitments and feel like you are dropping all the balls? You are not the only one.
There are some applications that can help you focus on tasks at hand, especially if you work on a computer and are constantly distracted by social media or online shopping. Additionally, being able to tick/cross items off a list gives you a much-needed sense of satisfaction and achievement, and over time will allow you to check back and understand how much you can really achieve in a day. Plan so that you can start and finish on time and take care of your priorities.
Stick to your calendar
Knowing you only have a set amount of hours to get things done means that you have to be productive in your business to maximise the utility of that time. Divide your day up into blocks of time and allocate tasks to those blocks. Make sure you include time to take a break, time to return phone calls, and emails. Humans can’t concentrate for a full 12 hours, so there’s no point expecting to work like that. Allocating blocks of time for distraction-free work, and also times to check emails, enables you to turn off devices when necessary to optimise your workflow.
Your business may be just as demanding as your family, so it’s important to be fair and give them your full attention when it’s their turn. Make sure you create regular habits with your family like a sit down dinner together, exercise together, sit together or watch an hour of television, and don’t feel guilty for sticking by those habits. If you make sure to spend time being present with your family each day you will find that they won’t mind your working so much because you are dedicating time to them as well.
Trying to get work done during “witching hour” can be more trouble than it is worth. For your own sanity, have afternoon tea and activities organised so that you aren’t constantly being distracted. I remember on some days thinking that if I never heard the word Mum called out again it would be too soon.
Let family be involved
Talk to them, let them help. If they are losing you to your other passion every day, help them by letting them help you. Being a part of achieving your dreams and success. Simple things like asking them to do drawings, fold flyers or help you with your Instagram photos.
Trust others and delegate
I am an advocate of hiring a virtual assistant, an ironing lady, a cleaner or online grocery shopping. Your time is valuable. Before you argue that these things are not affordable, let me put it to you like this. What is your time worth? What is time with your family worth? Is it more than a delivery fee? More than $20 an hour for your ironing to be done? I don’t think it is, so stop questioning the money and think about the opportunity cost. Could you be creating hundreds of dollars of business value or priceless family time – or are you in the supermarket or standing at the ironing board?
Remember why you are doing this
Don’t lose sight of your vision, your why. This is what gets you through the trying times when your business will be frustratingly difficult, or when customers become challenging or nonexistent, or when money is scarce. Focus on what is important, the bigger picture. Today is temporary and so are the challenges you face.
Fit in time for you
All too often women do not take the time to care for themselves. Have you thought about how selfish you are being by putting everyone else first? Why is this selfish? Because you aren’t giving your best self to them. You are giving them what they want right now for the belief you will get some peace later. You won’t. It won’t happen because giving more than you have in the tank means you aren’t fully giving. You can’t. Until you look after yourself, how can you fully give to anyone else?
“Framing the issue of work-life balance – as if the two were dramatically opposed – practically ensures work will lose out. Who would ever choose work over life?”
– Sheryl Sandberg
Daily, weekly, monthly, yearly – when things are hard these goals will provide you with the focus you will need to keep going. Goals should be things that are realistic but are hard to achieve, so don’t go easy on yourself. If you want real movement in your business, real traction, it is going to take hard work. Don’t hide from big dreams and the hard work they entail, it is the only sure path to success.
Your business is your passion and important to you
Communicate this with your family. Explain that it makes you very happy and the time you get to spend working on your passion makes you feel like you are contributing to the world (because you have a vision and a why).
These tips all sound simple and they are. What makes it complicated is the internal struggle you have to overcome about being enough. If you would like to talk to someone who has been where you are, book a free 30 minute session with me.