So....you've done it. You've created a business that you're passionate about. The business that you've been dreaming about creating. You feel pride, excitement, some trepidation and uncertainty. But mostly, you feel like 'this is it'. You can have the perfect work/life balance. Working for yourself means you work when you want to work right? Only when you want to work? You can enjoy leisurely lunches with friends. Go to your children's school events (every single one). Take in a sneaky movie, or indulge in a midday massage or yoga class. Right?
How long did it take before you realised that it isn't actually like that?
You're working more hours for yourself than you ever did working for someone else. Starting first thing in the morning and working late at night. Missing time with your loved ones.
Those dreamed of lunches, massages and movies...nowhere in sight.
And you start to wonder...is the sought after work/life balance a myth if you're an entrepreneur?
Well, today I'm going to share a hard truth with you.
I'll also share some strategies to help you do more of the things you want, and less of those that you don't.
The hard truth. Work/life balance is a myth...whether you're an entrepreneur or not! Sorry
What does balance actually mean? Its definition is "giving several things equal amounts of importance, time, or money so that a situation is successful".
But when it comes to dealing with your business, your family, your friends, YOURSELF, it seems impossible. It is impossible to give each of these areas equal amounts of weight or importance at the same time, and for long periods of time.
You'll find yourself in a situation where you have to dedicate more attention, effort, time to one of those aspects of your life than the others. And that's natural and normal.
The term 'work/life' is itself misleading.
It implies that work and life are not the same things; that work is the opposite of life. And we know that that's not the case.
Work is PART of life, like family, friends, self-care, fitness, hobbies. These are all the parts that make up our life.
So the concept of a work/life balance needs to shift.
If you're always looking for 'balance' you're going to be disappointed more often than not.
It is a constant Juggle trying to keep everything in check. But the concept of juggling doesn't have to be a negative one.
The trick is to find a way to keep only the necessary balls in the air at once.
And here are my strategies do that.
1. What are your priorities?
Okay, I'm keeping with the juggling analogy.
So first thing first is to look at the balls that you're juggling and make a determination on what your priority balls are.
There are going to be some balls that you HAVE to keep in the air all the time.
They are different for everyone, but they could be priorities like your children, your partner, your business, your health.
These are things that you can't drop.
These aspects of your life must take priority over anything else.
2. Plan your year...realistically
Have an idea in advance of when things are going to take place in your business. When are you going to launch a new program, add a new offering, start a new project?
Be realistic in your commitment to this plan.
Don't try and launch 10 different things in one year.
This puts unrealistic pressure on you and your life.
You are one person and you have limited time...so be considerate of that.
3. Deadline non-priorities
There will be times that another ball needs to be added to the mix.
You may be launching something big, and so your focus is going to amp up on that launch.
Adding an extra ball into the daily juggle without an end in sight, will tire you. Eventually, something will have to drop.
But if you know that this extra ball is only there temporarily, it will be less likely to take a toll on you, on your family, on your health.
And let your friends and family know that you're adding this ball into the juggle. That you will need to focus on this new ball for a period of time, but it's a temporary addition.
4. Determine your non-negotiables.
When you started your business I'm guessing you had plans of things you were going to do in the quest for that work/life balance.
You don't need to give up on those plans.
If going to your children's school events is important to you, make it a non-negotiable.
If going to yoga every Tuesday at 1:00 pm is important, make it a non-negotiable.
For me, one of my non-negotiables is no client work on a Wednesday. I spend Wednesday with my 2-year-old. We go to swimming lessons, go out for lunch, spend time at the park or a museum, or at the library. When he's resting, I do some work ON my business, not IN it. But I NEVER do client work on a Wednesday. No matter what...not under any circumstances. It's a non-negotiable for me.
When you've determined what those non-negotiables are going to be, commit to them. Carve out time for them.
Which leads me to number 5.
5. Schedule EVERYTHING.
I recommend blocking out time and scheduling in everything you can. And use ONE calendar. Not a work calendar and a home calendar and a fitness calendar.
This is all part of life, so keep it on one calendar.
Schedule out your launches. Schedule out your non-negotiables. Schedule out your deadline non-priority tasks.
If you want to be an amazing juggler, you need to know how many balls you're going to be juggling at once. And scheduling them in is a gamechanger.
6. Automate & Delegate
I bet you're not surprised to see that I've added these into the mix!
If you want to make sure you're only keeping the most necessary balls in the air at once, automation is crucial. Once you've automated, delegate out the low-value activities. A low-value activity is anything that isn't necessary for YOU to be doing. It needs to be done...but not by you. It could be your social media, inbox management, house cleaning, ironing, lawn maintenance.
Delegate what you shouldn't be doing.
You can check out my Automation Guide right here
This isn't a quick fix. It's going to be hard at times. Sometimes you'll feel overwhelmed by the juggle. Sometimes you'll feel like you've got too many balls in the air.
But if you keep these strategies in mind and incorporate them into your life, the juggle will be easier.
Let me know what you think about the work/life balance myth in the comments below.
I'd also love to know what your non-negotiables are. And what strategies you're using in your life to keep all the balls in the air.
I truly want to help you get aboard the automation train in 2020.
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