The following is a guest blog by Mark Griffin of In HIS Name HR. Mark read our blog, “Two Years in Business: The Search for Balance Continues,” and decided he was not going to put his vacation on hold for another minute. I encouraged him to write a guest blog about balance – let it be a reminder to all of us!
New business owners often run into a trap they never intended to set for themselves. They become entangled into the very lifestyle they set out to avoid: unbalanced. And a lack of life balance leads to unhealthy living.
Many business startups are launched with the owners thinking they will immediately have the balanced life they desire – a life away from an 80-hour work week at the office, slaving for the man. Perhaps a new career within their own domain where work and home life are in perfect harmony.
One of the main reasons I left the corporate world and began my startup was to balance my life and enjoy a more rounded career that could make a positive impact on the world. I understood I would probably need to forego a vacation during the first year, so that I could be in constant contact with my new and potential clients and to ensure I did not lose focus on what I was trying to create. But I figured balance would fall magically into place after that.
If you promise yourself some time off- TAKE IT! You’re the Boss!
Though that 12-month span of “nose to the grindstone” seemed like a reasonable expectation, I soon found my year without vacation had turned into a 13…14…and then 15-month stretch without a break. I realized I was becoming the person I was trying to leave behind – all work, no balance. It really hit me when I was in my Mastermind group, and Rachel mentioned she had not taken a break for close to two years. I made up my mind then that I was going to take some days off to backpack and break away from my work. I would not allow myself to reach that two-year point!
Fortunately, my lack of discipline in taking time off has been the only unbalanced aspect of my life. I am really good at keeping a schedule that allows me to work out, volunteer, and attend Worship at my church. Despite the demands of business ownership, I am also blessed with the ability to spend more time than ever with my family. Sometimes that requires heading back into the office in the evening or on weekends, but my schedule is much more flexible because I own it, and I’ve made my family the priority.
Let me give you some ideas on how you might improve your work/life balance.
- Find a Hobby. Many people don’t seem to know what a hobby is anymore - and no, Facebook is not a hobby!
- Volunteer. It is amazing how many people don’t do it. Try giving your time and talent. You’ll be glad you did!
- Spend Time with Family. Make it a priority! Your family needs you first; everything else will fall in place.
- Practice Social Media Fasting. The world will go on without you and you won’t miss much. Fast from social media for several hours at a time, several times a week. Your brain will thank you!
- Physical Activity. Now, more than ever, you need exercise! Working out reduces stress and makes you more productive.
Running a business and achieving life balance – you can do both! Just realize it’s up to you to make it happen.
In HIS Name HR provides human resource consulting for small and medium-sized organizations. Mark is also an accomplished Career Coach and has coached hundreds of job seekers for many years. Get Coached