Is Work/Life Balance Possible for Successful Business Owners?
If you’re going to run a successful business, can you have work/life balance? Or must you do whatever it takes to reach your goals?
I love this question! Usually, this question is phrased like this:
“Pamela, I’m confused. You talk about work/life balance, you tell stories about meditating every day, and yet you also say, “You have to be willing to commit and do whatever it takes.” So, which is it?!”
The answer is… *drumroll*
Here’s how this works.
I believe that you set both your business and your life up to regularly have work/life balance. For me, that’s meditating every day, exercising every day, and taking weekends off.
Then, sometimes, you do whatever it takes.
Sometimes I run a webinar or an event over a weekend, so I am working on a weekend. Sometimes I get up at 4am to get on a plane and my meditation is only 10 minutes and starts later in the day, rather than 40 minutes in the early morning. But that’s not the norm. That’s a once-in-a-while thing.
I look at it this way: If you had a friend who went into the hospital, or had a rough patch for a few days, you might be spending several hours every night with that person. That’s not normal for you, it’s what you do when someone important to you has a short-term need.
Sometimes your business has a short-term need, and you’ll need to honor that need. But if you find yourself walking away from work-life balance frequently, it’s time to re-evaluate.
Here are two simple steps to help you apply this:
First, decide what’s important to you.
What does “work/life balance” look like to you?
Craft your ideal day and your ideal week on paper.
From there, you can start scheduling your work/life balance elements. How many hours do you work? What are the non-negotiable to-do’s in your downtime?
Second, determine what the minimum threshold is for you to start re-evaluating what’s going on.
For example, let’s say you want to end work every day at 6pm. After setting that timeframe, you’re still finding yourself at your desk until 8pm once a month. Once a month might be acceptable. Maybe even 3 nights in one week is OK. If (and only if) it’s only happening one week every few months.
But if you’re sitting there late 3 nights a week every week, that’s too much. Only you know what that threshold is though, because it’s yours.
The goal is to achieve your ideal work/life balance. This means determining what you need to be successful, both professionally and personally, without going over your threshold and burning yourself out.
So, think about it:
What all can you feasibly take on in a day? In a week? A month? A year? What’s your threshold?
At what point do you need to re-evaluate what you’re doing? Consider the details of this evaluation. Do you just need to work smarter, not harder, during your work day? Do you need to set new boundaries in your personal life to reach your business goals? Or maybe it’s even bigger than that… and that’s OK.
Write it down. Put these answers somewhere that’s easy to access. Why?
With your responses, you’ll have YOUR answer to the ultimate question transformational entrepreneurs like you need:
With this new perspective, what are you committed to for your work/life balance?
Knowing your commitments (like setting realistic to-do’s, upholding boundaries, and sticking to your thresholds) can help you balance the lifestyle you want with the occasional demands of running your business.
Remember this rule of thumb:
- When it feels like your business is negatively affecting your dream lifestyle, you might need to re-evaluate your professional commitments.
- When it feels like your life is negatively affecting your business (or finances), you might need to re-evaluate your personal commitments.
Craft these two (feel free to take your time), but be sure to share your answers with me on Facebook: What does YOUR work/life balance look like? What is your minimum threshold?
I won’t read your responses to the “ultimate question” until next week though – I’m on vacation this week. 😉 You have to practice what you preach. Am I right?