According to a 2012 study on workload and work-life balance issues, only 23 per cent of working Canadians are highly satisfied with life. For many Canadians, achieving any type of work-life balance can seem like a myth. Even with our amazing surroundings to distract us, technology has made us so accessible, that free time is becoming increasingly elusive. Especially for entrepreneurs.
Despite these realities, there are still those that manage to have time to do the things that are important to them. Whether that’s skiing, mountain biking, cooking, or giving back to the community. So how do they achieve it? Here are seven habits that can help you achieve more balance:
Make Choices About What You Want
Don’t just let life happen. Take time to understand what you want. Frustration of a lack of balance often comes from those that are important to you asking for more time, so find out what they want and find a balance that helps you all be happy. Talk through what your non-work related life goals are and their timelines. Then create a road map to this success. Identifying what you want, will make it easier to achieve and make you feel more accomplished once you’ve done it. No matter if you’ve taken extra time away from your business or not.
Understand What Success Means to You
Success means something different to everyone. For some they want to be irreplaceable and aim to make millions of dollars. For others, they like to build a team and see their business as a way to be paid doing what they want to do. Once you know what makes you happy, you can strive to achieve more of that in your life. Find the right balance for you.
Know What You’re Willing to Sacrifice
Once you know what success means, you will be able to better understand what you are willing to sacrifice to get to your goals. For example, you may have to work 20-hour days at the beginning of your business, but you know that is a short-term sacrifice, which will enable to you to spend time and energy on what you love once your business is established. Or you may know that you want to maintain a strong work-life balance now, so you are willing to turn down business so that you can maintain that balance, potentially sacrificing the growth of your business.
Manage Your Support Network
Take a step back and look at your network. Who drains your energy and stops you achieving your goals? Who is your sounding board? Who is your cheerleader and motivator? Identify who in your network is good for which role. It will help you turn to that person when you need them and ignore the energy drainers when life gets busy.
Communicate About What’s Working and What’s Not
If someone’s behavior, attitude or action is stopping you from doing what you need to stay on track, talk to them. Letting things slide can lead you to drift into a different path or be sidelined by a time consuming task. Instead, make a conscious decision to talk to the people who are causing the disruption and see if you can solve the issue or change the direction together. Talking through the issue will help reduce frustration and likely speed up the process.
Turn Off Your Devices
Multitasking is rarely time saving. So focus on the task in hand. Compartmentalize your time and choose specific times to check your voicemail and email while at work. Then when you are taking a break, turn off your devices and concentrate on enjoying those moments, uninterrupted. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes in the middle of your day, taking a break from technology can help you relax and regenerate.
Book Time Off
It sounds simple. Just book some time off. But those who achieve balance, don’t just wait to see what time is left over after work. They make a point of booking that time off to spend with their friends, their family, and they carefully guard that time. And, while situations happen that may need their attention during this time, you’re a business owner after all, strongly resist the intrusion if someone else can handle it or you can delay it until the next day.
There’s no overarching secret to balancing work time with personal time. After all the phrase means different things to different people. The key is to make time to understand what it means to you.