Simplifying Work-Life Balance With These 4 Steps
Entrepreneurs often struggle with the work-life balance conundrum and feel guilt when they don't meet every obligation. While these steps aren't the end-all, be-all, they do provide a great starting point.
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As business owners, we have many roles and responsibilities to fulfill – everything from company duties to family time and socializing with friends. Yet, breaking down all these roles and responsibilities can be daunting, and often entrepreneurs feel guilty they aren't meeting all their obligations. It doesn't have to be that way.
As the founder of Baby Boot Camp & Karma Fitness, a national fitness and nutrition franchise for women, I feel your pain. But I have found that when I approach the work-life issue as if it was a business matter, it makes it much easier.
Here is are a few lessons and tips on what I have learned.
Get your priorities straight. Before you begin trying to solve this conundrum, you need to figure out what is important to you.
Start by drawing a large circle on a piece of paper. Create "slices of pie" to represent how many hours each week you would like to devote to each role. My circle includes time with my spouse and with my children; for each of my three businesses; for my personal fitness; and for my personal leadership development.
Have a solid structure in place. Use a day planner, smartphone app or calendar program to plan your week. Include personal appointments, workouts and social events, alongside business priorities like client meetings, training and time for planning. I use CalenGoo, an app that is compatible with your Google calendar. It allows me to color code my personal appointments as well as assign a different color for each of my businesses. This allows me to work efficiently in time blocks so that I'm not jumping from one mindset to another every 30 to 60 minutes. Once you have created this structure, follow it. Check in at least a few times daily to ensure you're staying on schedule.
Get control of situations. The emotional high we get from doing a lot at once can result in mistakes or missing subtle cues. So when multi-tasking, take control of distractions. Turn off your social media alerts, email notification and mobile devices so that you can focus on your task at hand (even if it's just for 30 minutes).
Always connected after hours? Start small by turning off your phone for 30 minutes and being fully present with your family. This can be challenging with a busy schedules and high demands of our time but protecting your time can help you achieve balance and improve your relationships.
Have your ducks lined up. Procrastination is the act of replacing high-priority tasks with lower priorities. Putting things off until the last possible minute produces a similar emotional high to multitasking, so take control of your schedule and prevent procrastination by ranking your daily tasks.
Create a list of up to 10 tasks that you need to complete that day. Rank your tasks from one to 10, with one being the most important. Limit your big, non-negotiable tasks to one per day. By completing your big task first, you will have your other, less time-consuming responsibilities as a reward to look forward to. Cross tasks off your list as you complete them in order of priority.
If I find that I am unusually overwhelmed, I will create separate lists for each of my businesses with a maximum of five tasks on each list. I then determine what I can delegate to relieve some pressure. This allows me to focus my time better.
Achieving balance is not something you obtain and then simply maintain -- it is an ongoing process that involves effort on a daily basis.