Work-life balance? Seven tips for success
Work-life balance is one of the biggest myths that has been created! Particularly for women in business, the female entrepreneurs building businesses around their families, the side hustlers finding a way to balance corporate life with their passion.
The reason I say this is because of the constant feeling of juggling, overwhelm, guilt and stress striving for balance produces. It is unrealistic to think you can completely separate parts of your life, particularly if you work from home, which so many of us find ourselves doing now.
There are a few reasons why you may be working for yourself (or want to do so if you are in transition) – passion and flexibility are two of mine. I love what I do, and I do it around my family. There is an intertwining of my work life and my personal life.
I’m calling out this myth as the mum who has asked her child to ‘wait a minute whilst mummy sends this important email’ instead of helping him build his Lego figure. The reality is, especially if you work for yourself, it is not always possible to keep work and your personal life separate.
This is why over the last few years more business magazines and coaches had been debunking the myths, talking about either setting boundaries or integrating your work and life, rather than trying to create an artificial divide. It is about the lifestyle that works for you and your family.
I work for myself so the success or failure of my business is on me, it doesn't mean that I shouldn't take care of myself or expect there to be no overlap of my business and my personal life. By setting boundaries and finding a way to merge your life and business you create your own version of what is acceptable to you. It is realistic and enables you to make better decisions about what you will do and how you will work. These can change daily, weekly or monthly depending on what is happening in your life.
Setting those boundaries and integrating work and life:
Your view of ‘work’
If you are doing something you are passionate about you may not see it as ‘work’. Work implies something hard, difficult and involves lots of labour. Your tasks may be hard and labour intensive but if love them, are skilled and motivated it doesn’t feel like a slog!
How do you view what you do? More importantly, are you doing what you love?
Got a plan?
You may need to put in more hours particularly when you are starting out. Know your plan and ensure you look after yourself at these times.
What’s your plan?
I like to have set office hours and always clearly state when I will get back to people. This manages expectations and enables me to manage my private time. The likelihood is if you call me during pickup and during my after-school cuddle I'm not going to answer the call! I will also work in the evenings however not every evening. I often work with a client or run a workshop between 7-9pm, but after 10pm I use for writing or admin tasks.
Are you clear on what times you are available?
Manage 'always on'
Modern technology is amazing and I could not survive without my mobile phone however there are certain functions that I switch off so I do not have work invading every minute of my life. This way I can focus on tasks when I am working and when I’m not, be away from work-related messages.
Can you look at how you use your mobile or have a work mobile which you can switch off at certain times?
There are times when you need to meet specific deadlines and you may have to forget about your boundaries during this time. However, be clear in your own mind that this is for a short time only. If you are so busy that you find yourself chasing your tail all the time you need to invest in support or hire some staff. This will stop overwhelm, stress and burnout as your boundaries can be maintained.
What support do you or your business need to thrive?
Do not neglect self-care
You need to be at your best to run your business. If you have taken the time to invest in a self-care regime you will know that missing your exercise or quiet time is not going to let you be your best. Whatever you have chosen to do - morning meditation, a run in the park, yoga - try to set a boundary around those things and limit missing them during busy times.
What is your self-care regime?
Creating boundaries, adopting a flexible approach and answering these questions will help you find a way to work that supports you.
Book a call to see how I can support you.
A verson of this article appeared on LinkedIn