As a small-business owner, trying to maintain a work-life balance can be like walking on a tightrope. At any given moment you have to lean one way or the other to maintain your overall balance. It’s often tempting to work around the clock to make your company the very best it can be. After all, your company is your baby; it’s your passion. But is this really the best use of your time if, in the process, you let everything else slide?
A number of successful entrepreneurs were once asked in a survey by Forbes.com how many hours they worked per week. Most of the entrepreneurs averaged 70 to 80 hours per week, and not a single respondent clocked in at less than 50. A few hardcore workaholics even said they put in 100 hours per week.
Hey, it’s what you have to do to win, right? Wrong! Of course, there are times when work must take precedence. Sometimes it’s the only way to fix what’s broken or keep things moving in a positive direction. But that’s in the short term. In the long run, this kind of behavior can damage your company, your team and, most important of all, you and your family.
Here are three tips for maintaining your balance atop the work-life tightrope:
Keep a calendar
A balanced life doesn’t occur randomly. You have to be intentional about things. I advise setting goals in seven important areas: family, career, spiritual, financial, physical, intellectual and social.
My wife and I manage our lives by a calendar, and we intentionally make time for each other, our family and other personal things that are important to us. So many people make the mistake of not planning and, as a result, have to work crazy hours as a rule. Before they know it, life outside the office has passed them by.
Maintain your physical health
Exercise not only helps you stay healthy, it also boosts your energy levels. This helps in staying focused, which leads to better productivity at home and at work.
I’m a big proponent of exercise, as are many of my team members. One of my leaders has a wife, plus two children under the age of 5. It’s tough as an adult with responsibilities to find time to take care of yourself. But this guy rolls out of bed every day at 5 a.m. for an hour-long workout before his family wakes up.
If something is really important to you, you’ll find a way to make time for it.
First, realize you’re not Superman. Even with all of his superpowers, the Man of Steel couldn’t accomplish everything he wanted — and he never had to make payroll or fight rush hour traffic!
To successfully juggle all of life’s demands, you must prioritize and let go of things. Are there errands or jobs around the home you can hire someone to do? Can you delegate some tasks or outsource projects at work? Hiring an assistant who can handle some administrative work and organize your schedule can lead to increased productivity.
There will always be days and even weeks that are work heavy, just like there will be periods of time when you can concentrate on life and family. But a little planning goes a long way. If you keep things equal in the long run, you won’t fall, and you’ll be much happier in every area of your life!