Many small business owners come to me for business coaching because they want to improve work-life balance.
Their business is controlling them, rather than them being in control of their business.
They are looking for time freedom, but their time is taken up with endless tasks and challenges to overcome.
Rather than working on the strategic growth of their business, they spend endless hours working in their business.
Rather than having the freedom to spend time with their family, they are working 7 days a week, and missing valuable family time.
Can you relate to any of these situations?
“I believe that being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can’t truly be considered successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles” — Zig Ziglar
What is work-life balance?
Work-life balance is the amount of time and focus we give to our work versus all the other aspects of out life, be this time for rejuvenation, hobbies, family time, relaxation or anything else.
By maintaining work-life balance, we can maintain energy and focus on our work and improve our overall happiness and wellbeing.
What work-life balance means is different for everyone, but no matter what work you do or what your responsibilities outside of work are, it’s absolutely key to keep the balance as even as possible.
Otherwise stress, fatigue and health issues can creep in.
Why is work-life balance important?
A lack of work-life balance can take its toll in many ways; physically, mentally and financially.
If you don’t take the time for rejuvenation and personal interests outside of your business you can increase stress, fatigue and increase the likelihood of burnout.
What gets in the way of work-life balance?
Finding ways to improve work-life balance can be really tough.
More and more people are reporting that managing their personal and professional lives has become more difficult.
Longer working hours, more pressure to get things done quickly, more pressure to succeed and less personal time. Added together this combination of things creates more stress and plenty of daily struggles.
Working longer and harder doesn’t mean achieving more, especially if you have no time to spend with the people that matter most.
The quality of who you are as a person, the relationships you have, the time you spend in work, deciding on what matters most is completely within your control.
Steps to achieve work-life balance
There are many action steps you can take to improve work-life balance.
Here are 10 tips to create a better work-life balance that you can implement right now to start living a more stress free and joyful life:
1. Take more time off
When was the last time you took some time out from work to completely rejuvenate?
One of the best ways to create an environment for future high productivity and creativity is to take yourself outside of the day to day and remove yourself completely from work-related activities.
By taking time out for yourself, you will gain clarity on what’s most important, both now and in the future, and you will come back refreshed, energised and motivated.
Taking more rejuvenation days means you are investing in yourself which naturally means you are helping to improve work-life balance.
If you can have more days to yourself to rejuvenate every month you will start seeing immediate results on all levels of your business and personal life.
Now get your calendar out and mark down your rejuvenation days!
2. Let go of fear
Many people, be they entrepreneurs, business owners, leaders or managers worry that if they’re not working, or seen to be working every day, they may miss out on something important.
The business may fail or they may not get that promotion or something. There’s always something. There is a sense that something bad could happen if not enough time was invested or “I could always be working on something else”.
But, what if you believed you were good enough, you were achieving and doing something meaningful, and that you mattered?
Once you have that belief and confidence, you can let go of the fear that there is ‘always more’. You will feel more joyful, productive, abundant and know that what you accomplished was good enough.
3. Prioritise your day
If you took a step back and looked at what’s on your to-do list, how many things are critical? How many things MUST be done that day?
Start with a clear understanding of what your bigger and better future looks like. Are you planning a year ahead? Three years? Ten years? What are you working to achieve?
Once you understand that, you can work back and create a path and plan that help you achieve your bigger objectives.
You may build 90-day outcome goals, the things you really want to achieve in the next quarter and then lay out the process for getting there. From this plan you will understand your priorities and where your focused time should be.
Don’t have 10 things on your list to complete that day.
Focus on achieving just 3 or 5 important things every day to improve work life balance.
Achieve them and your motivation will go through the roof. Have too many and don’t complete them and your energy levels will drop.
4. Express gratitude for what you have
Sometimes we are so busy working through and dealing with the day to day and having our mind in the future that we forget about the here and now, this present moment.
I believe it’s essential to include proactive gratitude as part of everyday life, to actually look at everything in our lives and appreciate what we have.
Many of us think of gratitude as reacting. Something happens or someone does something and you feel grateful. You say thank you, maybe send an email.
But a far more proactive strategy for creating and living an abundant life is to actively find things you appreciate.
This affects your own personal state of mind but also impacts others. You could send a handwritten card to the people you love or someone that means a lot to you.
Try giving thanks for three things at the end of every day and see how this shifts your mood and mind-set.
5. Learn to say no
It’s important to decide what you want to do, who you want to build relationships with and where you want to spend your time.
This gives you greater clarity and focus to improve work-life balance.
We have so many requests made of us and so many opportunities to do different things that we end up saying yes to things that we really don’t want to do but feel we should do.
Have the self-respect, confidence and courage to live life on your own terms and say yes only to the things that really matter. For everything else, start saying no.
When you are clear on who matters most and what matters most, you gain clarity on what and who is essential and who isn’t.
Your time is scarce. When you start saying no to most things, you will become more focused and be completely present in everything you’ve said yes to.
6. Start to journal
One of the biggest things that has helped me in my own personal growth and goal achievement is using my journal every day.
This is the place to house my dreams. It is home to my creative thoughts and my thinking tools. It’s a place to escape to. It’s also a place to write down thoughts and notes on where I am right now — my thinking, my mind-set and my belief system.
The habit of writing in my journal felt like a small step but has been transformative.
It has become a routine that has helped improve work-life balance.
So, start keeping a journal.
Commit to writing every day, even if it’s just for five minutes and see where your imagination takes you.
7. Create one hour a day to think and relax
It’s amazing what we actually have time for, especially when we decide to really make time. I hear the phrase “I don’t have time” constantly. How about you change that mind-set and start dedicating one hour a day to yourself?
One hour to work on yourself. One hour for reading. One hour to learn a new skill.
The truth is we can all find time if it’s important to us. This one hour a day could help us become more creative and increase your energy and focus. Plus, you’ll increase your capabilities.
8. Do one thing you love to do every day
As we get sucked into the whirlwind of the everyday, it’s all we can do just to get by. We often forget to do or enjoy the things that actually bring us the biggest amount of joy.
One of the best ways to improve work-life balance is to recommit to do the things that give you the most pleasure.
If you don’t have anything, I suggest you find something you’re passionate about.
This could be reading, walking, meditating, learning an instrument or a language, or becoming a better cook or gardener.
It doesn’t matter what it is as long as you get joy from the experience. Try carving out time every day to do this one thing. Do it for 30 days and it will become a habit.
Plus, it will help you reconnect with what you really care about.
9. Set clear, specific goals
Successful people are always guided by a vision of their future. To keep them on course and motivated setting clear goals, both long-term and short-term, allows them to achieve their biggest dreams.
Setting specific and measurable goals gives you the best chance to transform how you work and live.
Learn how to set clear goals with this step-by-step guide: 8 Ways Highly Successful People Set and Achieve Goals
10. Focus on results, not time spent
Rather than thinking about working harder, focus your time and energy on achieving bigger results. By simplifying your areas of focus, you free up more time, which will help to improve work-life balance.
It’s really easy to fall into the trap of doing countless activities that drain your energy and take you away from building momentum in moving your business forward.
You are being pulled in multiple directions and don’t have enough time and often take on too many projects. This can often leave you drained, worried and uncommunicative at the end of the day.
By focusing on a smaller number of projects and delivering maximum impact, you have a bigger sense of achievement, confidence and motivation.
Plus, you may have more time to stop work early and spend time with the people that matter.
Improve work-life balance: think differently and live differently
Some of these strategies and tips to help you improve work-life balance will allow you to think differently and work differently immediately whilst others will take a little longer to implement but will be key to your long-term success.
Creating a balance between how you think, how you work and how you spend your time is essential to your long-term health and mental wellbeing.
The desire to create that change only comes from within. Hopefully these strategies and tips will set you on the right path to a better work-life balance.
P.S. Whenever you’re ready….. here are 5 ways I can help you free up your time to grow YOUR business:
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