More and more I meet with business owners, industry leaders, nonprofit executives, you name it, and find the concept of life balance to be a bit hard for them to grasp. As a counselor I have had to work deliberately at not bringing my work life home. As a business owner I must admit, I have found it to be a bit trickier.
I believe most of us who own a business feel like if we are not working we are not creating an opportunity for income. Since we are the sole providers of our income and many of us work out of our homes the idea of not taking work home becomes a bit more difficult to juggle. However, as a counselor I must say that no matter how hard it is to do you must find a way to incorporate life balance into your daily practice.
In fact, as a business owner it is not only critical to your personal life but also to the life of your business. The more spent you are the more your work will decrease in quality. You will make decisions out of desperation because you are always hurried and feeling like you must say yes to every opportunity that presents itself. When your life has a healthy balance of work and personal time you are more likely to feel energized to do more work in less time when you are working. You will be more equipped to make healthy choices for yourself and your business because you will not be exhausted from working incessantly. You will find that your friends and family will feel more valued and treat your time respectfully.
Here are just a couple tips to help you get started:
- Set a time that you will not work every day. Typically people who leave work at work have at least 4 hours every day that they are not working. Set that time aside – no matter if it is in the morning because you have a late client or in the evening because you want to be with your family.
- Put your phone (or any other electronic gadget) in another room during the times you are not working. If you need to set your outgoing phone message with the times you will be unavailable do that. Nothing is really that urgent.
- Let your weekends be your weekends – or if you need to work weekends choose two other days of the week that you will not work. Don’t check your work email. Put your computer in a drawer if you have to. Set your outgoing phone message and email automatic response to alert people that you cannot be reached during those two days.
- Take a vacation at least once a year and follow the same guidelines as you do for weekends. Even better if you are in a place with no cell reception or wifi!
- Give yourself permission to stop working! Identify the difference between what is important and what is urgent (most of the things we respond to are only urgent and not really all that important which means it can wait!)
Remember that taking the time you need for you will be refreshing to you which will enable you to enjoy owning your own business significantly more. When you enjoy what you do your work is better and your clients will benefit. Your business will grow in a healthy, life giving way. Your family and friends will also benefit from it in huge ways. So give it a try! You will never want to go back to the work obsessed, cell phone addicted, email frenzied person you were before!