I hear it all around me, and quite often. "I am too busy", or "Sorry I didn't text I was busy". A good, positive work life balance is something that is difficult to achieve, especially for entrepreneurs. Without specific and intentional management of this balance – we can be overwhelmed or carried away by the various demands that jobs and lives throw at us and the resulting stress can cause a variety of mental and physical health challenges. Reaching a positive work/life balance can be especially difficult during times when workloads and schedules are increased or altered from your normal routine.
Work life balance challenges have been recognized by the Canadian Mental Health Association: they report that “58% of Canadians feel overloaded as a result of pressures associated with work, home and family, friends, physical health, volunteer and community service”. They have a short simple quiz you can take to determine your work life balance and some additional tips to staying in balance (HERE or by clicking our resources menu).
Running my own business is hard, especially with multiple departments. With added stress of working a full time job, 12 hour days, seven days a week (yes, seriously), and wanting to see my family and then wanting to relax because your mind is about to explode life gets hard real fast. With life's challenges I had learned some tips from my own experience as well as some times some friends and family were kind enough to give to me.
Ensure you are getting the most value out of your time. Question things to ensure you have your priorities right both at work and at home – figure out what is most important and focus most of your time in those areas. I will often make a list of what I want to do for the month, week and day. I then go through everything and prioritize what needs to be done and what can wait. What is small vs what is big. As an entrepreneur sometimes doing the large task you don't want to do is exactly what you need to do to feel rewarded and reduce some of that overlying stress that lingers in the back of your mind.
In any business optimizing your tasks become a key role in the organization, yet we fail to recognize it in our daily lives. Look for ways you can optimize things. If you know me you will know that I love technology and automation. This is one of the first things I look for in optimization. This may not be the highest priority but we can most certainly optimize as we grow. If you cannot automate or optimize the work flows around you maybe you can eliminate it all together. One thing that is funny to me is when companies add procedures to work that do not need to be there in the first place. Some things should not be made more efficient, they should be eliminated altogether.
I have been known to work my twelve hour work day followed by a short meal break and then working another four hours on my own projects. While I do this often sometimes we have to send boundaries / limits to what we do in our lives. If you work as a team collaborate and discuss working hours and a good work life balance. If you are self-employed think about a schedule or booking time off for yourself and family.
It's funny to see people working through work breaks. Breaks are here to help us be more efficient and give us a different look at the task in a renewed, fresh mind. If you work in a safety sensitive area it may be the underlying factor between and life and death decision. They are in Canadian legislation (usually every province has their own laws) for a reason: to protect you! I am a big fan of micro-breaks. It's a short break every fifteen to twenty minutes to take a stretch and look around and take my mind off things. Your fifteen and half hour breaks are a must. Sometimes you can even get paid for the breaks! Try it out and see how much better the days break up and flow.
Look after yourself:
Most successful people will look after themselves. One of the things I hear over and over again is the morning routine. Take a minute to be mindful and appreciate the day. It is hard some days but should be one of our top priorities. Keeping your mind and body healthy will allow you to keep up with the rest of the demands in your life and to enjoy it! This includes exercise, eating a balanced diet, drinking water, taking time for yourself, and getting enough sleep on a regular basis. It also includes seeking professional help when needed – for either physical or mental challenges.
Work life balance is different for everyone – I would like to encourage you to reflect on your personal work life balance and what you can do to achieve or maintain a balance that works for you. Life isn't always great but with some tips to a busy life style we can make it alright.