More and more entrepreneurs are rating work/life balance as one of their top factors. But trying to balance work and life can be stressful in itself. Just the act of trying to find that balance can create even more anxiety. We all have busy lives with work and family, and owning a business has its own set of unique challenges.
As a proud mother of two girls, ages 2 and 9, I’m busy from the time I get up until I go to bed – and sometimes during the middle of the night when my youngest gets up and won’t go back to sleep. I also work outside of the home. I love being a mom and a professional but some days I feel like I’m not doing either as good as I should (enter *guilt* here!). However, I find that if I follow the six key points below, I’m able to focus where I need to which decreases my stress level and helps increase my sense of well-being.
- Learn to delegate. You don’t have to do everything yourself. Get your kids involved in helping you out. Give each child their own set of chores that they are responsible for. It helps teach them valuable skills and it can give you a break.
- Take care of yourself. It’s easy to put everyone else before yourself. But if you aren’t functioning well, nothing else will. Try to get sleep (no checking emails in the bedroom), eat healthy foods regularly and try to get regular exercise whether it be working out at the gym or running around outside with the kids.
- Try to be flexible. Kids will get sick, work deadlines will get moved up. Realize that some days are going to be more challenging than others. All you can do is your best.
- Dedicate a family day. If you have your own business, it’s easy to never stop working. Set aside a day that is strictly for your family – and that means not checking your emails or voicemail. Sundays are great family days as many companies are closed, so you won’t be missing much from the corporate world.
- Focus on your marriage or partnership, and friendships. Don’t forget that you are also a wife, husband, boyfriend or girlfriend, and friend. Make it a point to go out on a date with your significant other at least once a month, if not more, and try to not talk shop. And don’t forget to keep in contact with your friends. It’s amazing what a lunch with good friends can do for the psyche.
- Don’t beat yourself up. Sometimes we can be our own worst critic. For instance, if you don’t get time to clean the house, that’s okay. Maybe designate once a month cleansing or hire a cleaning service (if you can afford it). As long as you and your kids are clean and you’ve made it through the day – sometimes that’s all you can ask for. Try to relax and enjoy the ride! Your kids will be grown up before you know it!
In a recent article by Debb Meyer (who was named Franchise Woman of the Year 2013) titled Can we achieve a work/life balance in business?, she states that work/life balance is about successfully integrating the parts of your life, rather than balancing them. Her ultimate goal is a loving marriage, a happy contented family and a successful business. I think we can all share her goals toward a happy life/successful work.