We learned in the first post in this series that, in order to achieve a successful work-life balance, you need to create something unique to you and your needs rather than aspiring to an “ideal balance” that works for someone else. In part one, we will focus on easy steps to identify what your personal and professional needs really are. Once identified, you can begin to build the right balance. Prior to this step, you are playing someone else’s games and by someone else’s rules.
When I first started my business, I watched how other people ran their businesses. I read lots of books about the “right” way to do things and I tried to mirror that behavior. The thing is, most of that didn’t work for me. The type of business I was running was not a 9-5 job and I had very small children. At that time, I knew I needed to work “off” hours and I struggled with how to do it all. Since then I have heard many entrepreneurs push aside the notion that balance was a “real and achievable” thing. It does, in fact, seem elusive and, for some, it feels better to simply say, “This is bullshit and it doesn’t exist,” than to do the hard work to find a rhythm that truly works for them.
So let’s make this achievable, shall we?
Step one: Identify what balance actually means to you.
What do you really need to be healthy, peaceful and still successful?
Sit down and think through your daily and weekly schedule. Consider the following items:
- Where and how are you spending your time?
- At what point do you feel stressed and unable to give any more of yourself to a task?
- How much time are you spending with your family?
- How much time do you spend on self-care?
If any of these elements feel “off” to you, make a note on what, if shifted, would feel better. Be as clear as possible. Clarity will lead to real change.
Create your wish list for balance. Don’t concern yourself with how it all works right now. Start by simply identifying and creating your “wish list.”
Work-life balance is very much an individual experience. For me to personally feel balanced, I need the following:
- Quiet time and space
- Quality time with my children
- At least 8 hours of sleep at night
- A minimum of 5 hours of work time (I truly believe that if you spend 5 focused hours a day you can accomplish anything)
- Clear boundaries around my work hours so clients don’t have expectations I am not willing to meet
- Time for a pedicure once a month (personal care must fit into a well-balanced life)
- Scheduled dates with my partner
- A vacation on the horizon to look forward to
Once you come up with your wish list sit with it for a while, take a few minutes to truly imagine these items in your life. How would you feel if you had all of these things? How would it change the way you interact with clients and loved ones?
Map out your ideal schedule.
Compare your actual schedule with your wish list and think about what you want your schedule to be. Go big with this. Write it down. If everything were perfect, what would an average day look like? What about an average week?
Ok. Now that you can actually picture your life with these changes how do you think people will react to the changes in you? Once you embody happiness and calmness and you feel like you are meeting all of your needs, I assure you people will respond to you in kind. Those around you will gravitate towards your light and want to drink the same kool-aid.
Next week we will address step two in the process. Defining and creating boundaries. As you may already know, boundaries are my favorite thing to talk about so don’t miss it!