Work and life balance is important. Many say success happens when you throw yourself wholeheartedly into what you're working on. Yet, when work and your personal life are tightly interwoven, it's hard to power down when you should be off the clock. Whether you're a one-man team or have plenty of helpers, being actually present in the moment in a world of smartphones, email, and work from anywhere ecommerce can be pretty difficult. Here are some tips on how to give your personal life just as much attention as your work life.
Tip #1: Unplug to be present.
Here's a fair warning about this tip - it can be pretty tricky to accomplish. Try focusing on just one thing at a time, whether it's a TV show, conversation, or an article in a magazine. Experts swear you'll get much more out of each moment this way. This might sound like it's going directly against what you're naturally prone to, but Harvard University studies show that multitasking is way less productive than people think. In their study, frequent multitaskers were found to perform worse overall because they "had more trouble organizing their thoughts and filtering our irrelevant information, and they were slower at switching from one task to another." According to these findings, it definitely sounds like many irons in the fire at once aren't so helpful after all. So how can living in the moment benefit you in other ways besides brain power? Jay Dixit, senior editor of Psychology Today, states that it can reduce stress, boost your immune system, lower blood pressure, and even increase your happiness.
Tip #2: Loosen the reins a little.
After your business gets off the ground and you've hired the best people possible, keep in mind that you hired them for a reason. Often, it's hard to let go of a business you've nurtured from a teeny, tiny business plan, but by letting go a little bit and delegating to your employees, you can actually give them what they crave in order to grow. Susan Payton, President of Egg Marketing and Communications, points out that admitting that you're not the best at every aspect of your business is a little hard to swallow at first, but the sooner you realize this, the happier you'll be.
When should you start doling out some of your responsibilities? First determine your priorities, then delegate when you can leverage the team you have on hand, lean on the network you're a part of and are willing to share the credit. Cindy Krischer Goodman, a columnist for the Miami Herald, suggests delegating when you have a task that you feel someone else would be a better fit for. For example, if there's a social media aficionado on your team and you're struggling with keeping up with all of your accounts, turn the task of posting new content over to this co-worker for a while and see how it goes. It might take a little time to get comfortable with someone making different decisions than the ones you would make, but you'll have more time to spend on higher priority matters.
Tip #3: Give your personal life just as much priority.
Jeff Davidson, work-life balance expert and author of Breathing Space, states that it's incredibly important to be with loved ones and find hobbies outside of work; otherwise, you're short changing loved ones and yourself. Joanne Chang, Owner and Chef at Boston eateries Flour Bakery + Cafe and Meyers + Change says one of the ways she gained balance is by scheduling personal events with the same resolve that she schedules business meetings. This meant no more skipping out on Wednesday's evening workout class or rescheduling dinner with a dear friend. By following a similar philosophy, you'll benefit from setting clear boundaries, nurture your own needs, and strengthen your relationships others since you aren't constantly canceling.
Tip #4: Protect your energy.
When you wake up in the morning, you've got a finite amount of energy. There are positive things you can do to add to this reservoir, like eating healthy, working out, and getting a good night's sleep. There are also negative things you can do to quickly empty your stock like engaging in drama, surrounding yourself with negativity, and taking criticism too personally. "We often get sucked into these habits that are making us much less efficient without realizing it," says Laura Stack, a productivity expert and author of SuperCompetent: The Six Keys to Perform at Your Productive Best.
Why is this harmful to your work-life balance? Well, if you get too low on energy, burnout and stress can take over, leading you to sacrifice potential positive opportunities in order to try to increase your energy levels. Protect yourself by taking stock of the activities that add to your life and eliminating those that do not enhance it. Achieve better balance by minimizing the time you spend around those that sap your time and engage in more activities that help you recharge.