Here are ten things that business leaders need to realise about work-life balance.
1. ‘Work-life balance’ is a contentious term.
Wouldn’t it be better if we could find harmony between work and personal life rather than balancing them?
In the context of the term ‘work-life balance’, work and life are seen as opposing forces. Work, however, is an integral part of life.
So, really, we all want a ‘work/rest of life’ harmony. As opposed to balance, it is more of a harmony since one person’s work and the rest of their life can look very different from another’s. One person might be fully fulfilled working more than they’re not, which leads to our next point.
2. What does Work-life balance mean for you?
Everyone’s work-life balance is different. It is especially true for business owners and leaders. The amount of time and energy they need to devote to their businesses will vary according to the stage of their business.
Similarly to your family, friends, and yourself, the needs of your business will also change over time. Therefore, work and life may not always be balanced, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Work-life balance is something that most leaders strive for. There are those who are in a hurry and are committed to developing their business quickly. Others place family first. Each business owner has a unique vision for their business. However, those who put their business first need to be mindful of what they might sacrifice in their home life.
Our tip! In order to improve your work-life balance, you must define what that means for you.
3. Are you living the life you want?
When you find harmony between your work and personal lives, you gain perspective. If you always concentrate on delivering your vision for work, you may well forget why you do it in the first place – mainly to live the life you want and take care of those you love. It’s easy to miss this if you only work.
When you take the right amount of time off, you feel revitalised, healthier, and enjoy work and life more. In addition to reducing stress, you also increase productivity. Now that’s a win-win!
4. A lack of work-life balance is a habit
Starting a business often involves working long hours and burning the candle at both ends. It becomes routine, and you stop challenging yourself as to what you should focus on.
This leads to a habit of never “coming up for air.” A business owner may also think they must always be busy in order to be successful. Their busy schedules prevent them from doing those ‘life’ activities they would like to do. So, recognise it’s a habit and try to break it!
5. You need to stop feeling guilty
It is common for business owners to struggle with a great deal of fear. Having a sense that their business is about to disappear; feeling that their employees don’t understand what the business needs; feeling guilty for turning down an opportunity that may never come back, and feeling guilty whenever they’re working.
It is never wrong to take a break. Rest, in fact, is a crucial component of success.
6. It’s all about focus and structure
Prioritising and planning effectively are vital to achieving harmony between work and life. You should treat yourself as an important piece of equipment and adhere to a maintenance schedule.
Many people overwork because they try to do too many things at once. As a result, it is even more important to have a clear focus. You will be able to prioritise your time much better if you maintain one to-do list for both business and personal tasks. Make a plan and stick to it.
7. Delegate, delegate , delegate
Leaders often overwork because they are reluctant to delegate.
The reason may be that they have internalised the processes, so explaining the process to someone else takes longer than doing it themselves. Additionally, leaders may worry that no one will be able to do it as well as they do. Leaders need to challenge themselves and ask, “Could they do it better than me?” We all approach things differently, so just because someone has a different approach does not mean that it is wrong…and it could be even better.
It might be a good idea to create a ‘To Don’t List’ so that you can identify tasks or projects that you can delegate to others? Investing your time in the right activities will likely yield a far greater return than hiring someone to help you. Don’t let cost be a barrier – your time will more than likely be rewarded.
8. Many don’t do anything about it
The fact that many of us continue to maintain a work-life balance with which we are dissatisfied is baffling. It’s time we started doing something about it.
Identifying the signs is the first step. For example, if your partner complains about how much time you spend working, that may be a signal for you to review how you spend your time. Another indication that you might need to take a step back is hearing yourself say, “I do not have time.” Determine where you would like to make changes and take action.
Each of us has the same amount of time available to us. The difference lies in how we choose to use it.
Hopefully, this has helped identify some key areas where you may need to focus when it comes to achieving work-life balance. Have you defined what it means for you? Are you taking any action if you are unhappy? What can you do to find harmony between work and family life?
Consider these points, and you will be well on your way to a more fulfilling work environment.