Small business owners have to wear multiple hats, and as a result, they are often all too familiar with the work-related stress that comes with being in charge. But no matter how passionate you are, your time is a limited resource. Of course you need to invest energy in your work, but you also need to take the time to recharge, strengthen your relationships with family and friends and otherwise broaden your experiences beyond the workplace. Successful business owners and employees are also happy with the lives they've built outside of work, and this requires a careful and constant balancing act.
Over the last 15 years or so, there has been an increasing number of discussions about work-life balance and work-related stress. By implementing a few basic changes, you can be one step closer to achieving the balance you desire.
The High Cost of Imbalance
There's an important difference between being busy and being effective or productive. Spending a 12-hour workday grinding through emails, meetings and calls doesn't automatically make you productive. You shouldn't equate exhausting yourself with being effective, as 99U points out. Despite common misconceptions, you can be both productive and maintain your desired work-life balance.
Time and energy are perhaps your most important — and most limited — resources, and so they should be allocated accordingly. You may get burned out when your supply of energy is overwhelmed by the demands placed on you. And extended periods of being overworked can lead to long-term problems that will impact your career, family and health. The symptoms can include irritability, mental staleness and a drop in overall productivity, as well as various mental and physical problems. Here are four suggestions for how to find work-life balance.
1. Be Clear About Your Values
Once you have a thorough understanding of your values, you must make sure that your actions align with them. This tip will require you to reflect deeply about what is most important to you as a human being, not just as a small business owner or employee. Make room for the things that bring you happiness, whether it's spending time with your family and friends, pursuing personal and spiritual growth, engaging in volunteer activities or learning something new.
2. Follow the Pareto Principle in Your Work Life
As Forbes reports, the Pareto Principle is the famous 80/20 rule that says that 80 percent of your business results come from 20 percent of your time. When applying this to your work life, it's important to identify the actions you take that have a disproportionate impact on value creation. It's a good idea to do the most meaningful, value-creating work first, earlier in the day. That way, unproductive busywork won't get in the way of your more important tasks.
3. Say "No" to Activities That Don't Add Any Significant Value
As a best practice, you should choose to spend your limited time and energy on what matters most, while delegating, outsourcing or outright dropping activities that can be better managed by others (or not at all). You should also be leveraging digital tools and apps that support your productivity.
4. Invest Time in Physical Activity
By making an effort to incorporate more physical activity into your daily routine, you can promote a healthy lifestyle while reducing your stress level and enhancing your decision-making skills. Make an effort to find a physical activity you enjoy, whether it's going for a walk at lunch or playing tennis after work. Movement is vital to maintaining health and managing stress, and it can have a positive impact on your ability to be creative and generate ideas.
Having work-life balance is important for numerous reasons, both professional and personal. In order to maintain this balance, you must understand your core values and prioritize the activities that bring you the most worth and overall happiness.