I read something today on a parenting site that said ‘it’s not about having time,…
Stop Looking for Balance, Just Live ‘your’ Best Work-life
I get asked all the time about work-life balance. How did we find it, how do we maintain it, and if I can offer some tips on both?
I usually laugh, because for a long time we tried to find this elusive balance. And for a long time, we failed. We had this perception of success based on the idea of what our life should look like. Work time, family time, everything divided up equally and labelled.
On paper, we had achieved the perfect balance. But our life was a mess, and we were under so much pressure! The phone would ring in family time, and we’d get angry because it was family time. Or one of our kids would get sick in work time, and it would create huge amounts of stress. Work would have to stop temporarily at the cost of eating into a non-work allocated time slot.
Last year we threw everything out the window. The idea of balance, what we thought success should look like, and we started designing our life based on the outcomes we wanted for our family. Since then we’ve been more connected as a family, and our business interests have diversified and grown. Now, we really are living our version of success.
So, my answer to finding work-life balance is to stop looking. Stop labelling and start living. Make some rules for living life with no rules;
1. Live your best life.
If your business isn’t working for you the way it is, change it. If you don’t love it, don’t do it. How do you want your life and business to look? If you have an answer, and it’s not how you’re living, it’s time to do things differently.
We decided life was too short to be miserable. We weren’t having fun, and we definitely weren’t connected. So what was the point?
2. Have a loose plan.
Although I am a definite business plan fan, I’m not suggesting you have a 100-page life plan. Be clear on your overall goals and where you’re heading. Have a start, a middle and an end. And make sure everyone involved is in agreeance.
But also remain flexible. Life is fluid, and new opportunities present themselves frequently, so it’s a good idea to reflect and revisit your plan regularly.
3. Make time – be willing to do what others aren’t.
Many Small Business owners, ourselves included, are not nine-to-fivers. So why were we trying to live a nine-to-five life? Weekends. Holidays. Work week. These are all labels. But when you stop ‘labelling’ you have all the time in the world to create flexibility. Work weekends. Get up early. Take your laptop away on holidays. If it’s Monday morning and you’re exhausted, rest.
This morning I started work at 4 a.m. which means that I can spend the day with my kids who are currently on school holidays. You can make time.
4. Stop comparing.
Success or the perception of success very rarely reflects the struggles it took to reach it. This is particularly true on social media, and this was a big lesson that I needed to learn. We’ve had failures and made terrible decisions, and I used to envy the lives of our friends and other businesses around us, wanting what they had. But the reality is, being in business is hard and true success very rarely happens without the struggle.
So stop comparing. Stay focused on your journey.
Balance is bull.
Finding it. Maintaining it. Stop looking because it doesn’t exist.
Success is in the eye of the beholder, and your life is what you decide to make of it. So what does that look like for you?
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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