I recently had a conversation with someone this week about work-life balance. Interestingly, that person’s perception of the subject was more about women and that it related more so to women. As a business coach, I work with clients on this subject regularly, but I have a different take on work life balance and I thought I’d share my thoughts.
Work Life Balance for All
Work Life Balance is for All Genders
My view on work life balance is that it’s not just for women, who often are juggling family and work or business, and sometimes feel guilty about both at the same time – which they should not! Everyone these days needs to balance work or business with their own lives. You may not have family or family commitments, perhaps your commitments are towards friends, or your health, study or charity work that you do. Family can mean partners, children, parents or siblings. All our lives are so different, and we all need balance in our lives.
Work Life Balance is for All Age Groups
I work with clients in their early 20’s through to their early 70’s. Everyone has a goal as to where they spend their off time and whilst my clients in their 20’s have different personal interests from my clients in their 70’s, the same is relevant. Don’t be dictated to by community or others; if you’re in good health then spend the time in your business which is relevant to you as the business owner. Naturally, if your GP or doctor is saying ‘slow down!’ then take heed.
Work Life Balance is for All Industries
At one stage I was working with a specialist doctor and a commercial contractor. They both worked quite similar and exceedingly long hours in their business. Business owners in all walks of life are working very hard in their businesses – so finding that balance is valuable to all of them, regardless of your trade, industry or expertise.
Work Life Balance is What YOU Want It To Be
As I said earlier, life (in relation to work-life balance) is whatever you want it to be. It’s the other or opposite side of work. It might supplement work (such as study) but in my mind, it’s about you finding a balance which leaves you feeling good, happy and healthy. To every person what that means can be different.
When It Comes to Work Life Balance – What I Recommend to Clients
- Consider where in your business or career you are. If you’re at the beginning, then it’s natural you may want to (and often need to) expend a little more effort and time into your business or career. If, however, you’ve been at it and still functioning like a cat on a hot tin roof who is on steroids, then it might be time to slow the page and look at finding some balance in what you’re doing.
- Remember business (and career) is a marathon, not a sprint – you’re often in it for the long haul; whether that long haul is 3 years or 23 years.
- Remember that an unhealthy business owner usually doesn’t have a healthy business – the two (especially for small businesses) are intertwined in my belief. Likewise, if you’re not healthy yourself, then it’s likely your job and career will suffer as well. So I say, look after yourself, your body, your mind and your well-being.
- What do you actually want out of your life? What’s important to you? The answer to this question will often determine your goals and what you want out of life. Success and career will only take us so far. As human beings, we do need more quite often. What else, besides work or business do you want?
- Remember why you actually went into business in the first place. For so many business owners I speak to at the beginning of their business coaching with me (or their life coaching time with me) I ask their why? Why did you want to get into this business? Often the response revolved around one of two main concepts – money or time. Money gives us freedom, might realise goals and the reality is, we need it to live. Time can be to do the things which are important to do which might be family, children, a sporting interest or hobby. Many people mention freedom too, but I believe that is initiated by either money or time (or both) you then attain freedom. Sure there are other reasons people go into business, like the desire to help others, make a difference, impact an industry, leave a legacy … but often time and money are forefront.
So How Does One Achieve Work Life Balance?
- Build a schedule and a routine. Allocate time to you (and your family, interests etc) and be firm about that and protect it. If a client asks you to stay late for a project and you’ve got an art or tennis class that night, then politely declining due to another commitment is ok.
- Improving your business and making it more efficient and profitable will help.
- Saying no – that might be no to customers who want to message you at 10pm at night, or no to an unrealistic deadline.
- Becoming cleverer in your business so that you work smarter, not harder. This may likely come about by education, learning, improving and yes, working with a coach.
- Learning time management skills to make you more effective. As I said further up, time and money are two resources that give us freedom. Freedom allows us to do other things and attain balance in our lives.
- Starting with small steps. If you’re working 7 days a week now, cut back to 6.5 … then 6, then 5.5. It doesn’t have to happen overnight, but set yourself some goals and a plan to find a better balance in your life and your business (or work).
Remember this – are you working to live, or living to work?
When it comes to your work life balance, it often comes back to you. Sure, your family or close friends can say “you work too hard” and say it with love. Your boss might say “Hey, you’re here late, you should go home” and even I as a coach can guide you, prompt you and even have accountability in place, but end of the day, you will need to want to change things. Remember, the sign of insanity is doing the same thing, the same way, and expecting a different result.
In all the above areas on how you can achieve work life balance, business improvement, profit enhancement and time mastery – I can help you – either as a business coach, life coach or sometimes through business coaching that has a life coaching element in it. As I said before, it’s not about what my expectations are for your work life balance, it’s about YOUR expectations. I can help you achieve your goals; just reach out to me here.