How many times have you said to yourself, “After this big meeting/presentation/holiday season, I will make more time for my personal life,” only to find that after the big event a new slew of challenges crop up? It’s a constant struggle for business owners to achieve that ultimate balance of professional and personal time. And more often than not, work wins out.
A lot has been written about the subject, and there is a lot of great advice out there about time management, prioritization and the art of saying “no.” It’s all good advice, but it’s equally important to note that balance is not always going to be there, no matter how many applications you download or filing cabinets you keep. The real question is, how can you find happiness in the imbalance of it all?
1. Get Organized
Managing the imbalance still requires you to get organized. Time spent searching, hunting, and doubling back is wasted time and taking away precious moments where you could be attending to the things that really matter – whether personal or business-related. How can you tell if your organizational skills are hitting the mark? The easiest way is to ask the people around you. If they don’t think you’re organized well, chances are, you aren’t. Also ask yourself how long it takes you to find things and if know where your client files are in an instant.
2. Be Realistic
Yes, you might be able to work 18 hour days and build a bigger, more lucrative business. Or you might work part-time, earning little but able to attend every school pick-up and swim meet. Neither option is a bad life, IF it’s what you really want and need to feel successful in life. You need to get real with yourself and those in your life and determine what is most important. Having financial and personal goals predetermined will help you make decisions that better match your goals.
3. Be Present
Once you are organized and know what you are working towards, cut yourself a little slack. If you need to be at work late, yet at the same time find yourself stressing about the family dinner you are missing, you are not enjoying the meal or the office. This is when you develop an ulcer and make the imbalance feel intolerable to all those around you. The amount of time spent doing something is never as important as the quality.
4. Communicate the Imbalance
Balancing in imbalance affects all those around you. When life seems particularly tilted in one direction, talk to those around you that are missing out on your time. A good conversation may result in better understanding on both sides, and possibly even a reevaluation of what your ultimate goals are. Trying to manage the stress all alone alienates those around you and keeps you from enjoying life in all its facets.
Owning a business can be a rewarding experience. Yet struggling with balance can rob you of the joy. Being open to inevitable imbalance, and making those around you part of the dialogue, you may find that being imbalanced is not so bad after all.
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