5 tips to achieving work-life balance
Achieving work–life balance is a continuous challenge for many business owners. According to Susan Ward, “Work-Life Balance is the idea that a person’s life outside of work is just as important as their working life and that the time a person spends working should be balanced by time spent doing things such as spending time with friends and family, keeping fit, doing hobbies, traveling etc.” I would argue that Work-Life fulfillment is influenced by how we prioritize various things in the life. Here are 5 keys to unlocking the balance between Work and Life – FAITH, FAMILY, FRIENDS, FULFILLMENT, FINANCES.
Faith – The most basic question everyone faces in life is Why am I here? What is my purpose? Self-help books suggest that people should look within, at their own desires and dreams, but Rick Warren says the starting place must be with God and his eternal purposes for each life. Real meaning and significance come from understanding and fulfilling God’s purposes for putting us on earth. The truth is everyone’s perspective of faith can be different. However, it is important that we connect with a higher purpose. Some achieve this through a daily reflection, meditation. According to Lewis Howes, “Meditation is massive.” Since he started practicing this regularly again, his anxiety, focus and productivity have all improved. The key here is to connect with a higher purpose.
Family – The key to making family a priority is to be intentional about the time you dedicate to the family. If you let work — the Monday-through-Friday variety — encroach on your weekends, you’re headed for misery. Christopher, a salesman for a marketing firm, still puts in 50- and 60-hour weeks, but he’s stopped working on weekends. “Saturday and Sunday are for the kids,” says Christopher. “They should know that from Friday night to Sunday is family, and that we’re going to do something together, whether it’s playing baseball, going to Sea World or whatever.” Whether is the kids or your partner, be intentional about the time you will devote to the family.
Friends – Your personal relationships are important, so you should be mindful of this fact. Pay attention! These are the people you love and who love you, and thus they are your source of support and encouragement. Be a good husband and father, and this means being truly present for your family. Your friends and your Friday night poker game or your fishing trips twice a year are a valuable part of your downtime and your leisure activities. Really give your complete attention to these important people, nurture those relationships, be conscious of their value. In other words, if you find yourself coming home from work and collapsing in front of the television with a beer or if you find yourself cancelling that fishing trip you so looked forward to, well, then you are out of balance.
Fulfillment – We can’t ignore the fact that new technologies has blurred the distinction between time spent working and the times when we’re not. Long before smartphones, professionals were “logging on” to check email in the evening. Or browsing airfare websites for an upcoming vacation before walking into a meeting. The dividing line between work and leisure has been effectively erased. Technology has inadvertently made it more difficult to maintain boundaries between work and everything-else. Perhaps it is time to use these same technologies to help us prioritize and manage our time in all areas of life, creating a work – life fulfillment. Digital technology continues to transform our notion of work. And it’s also the best way to support our efforts to find harmony between our career goals and lifestyle needs. Always think of work-life fulfillment as having all the benefits of balance without requiring the impossible task of keeping everything equal.
Finances – Reevaluate your spending—even the little things: Small expenses can creep up on you. At least once or twice a year, review all your financial commitments to be sure you’re not spending money on things you don’t need or that don’t align with your goals. Many small business owners, particularly those who started their businesses from scratch, have a great deal of difficulty delegating even minor tasks to employees. Fear of loss of control or spending money are the usual reasons. If finances are not an issue and you have employees, sit down and make a list of minor tasks that you can delegate (if you don’t have employees consider hiring on a contract or permanent basis). Examples of tasks to delegate include: Bookkeeping, Business website design/maintenance, Social media postings (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), Creating and sending out promotional material, newsletters, etc., Customer support, Data Entry, Deliveries/Pickups, Invoicing, Filing (paper or digital), Purchasing office equipment and supplies, Technical support, Paying bills, Making bank deposits, Booking flights, hotels, rental vehicles, Office cleaning.
The truth is, the most productive people don’t have less to do. They simply focus themselves well within an organized plan. Don’t try to do many things at once. Choose to do only tasks that merit your full attention, and then execute them with the focus they deserve. This goes for your personal time just as much as your work time.
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