How business owners can avoid the trap of work-life balance
For business owners, the goal of achieving work-life balance is a myth.
This idyllic state of having time to do everything is always just around the corner. Many work a few extra hours now thinking it will get them closer to the work-life balance dream. Then they do the same next week, and the next, and the next.
The problem is that balance is not something you achieve, it’s what you are always doing. When thought of as a fixed goal it represents a state of equilibrium that is simply not possible. So many people use balance as their goal to work towards without fully considering it.
Being pulled between work and life is natural, especially when you run your own business. So rather than looking for ‘balance’, we should be balancing, adjusting how far, and how often, we get pulled between work and life.
The quest for balance never ends
Work-life balance is very appealing. Imagine having time to get everything done and have time left over for the things you love. Notice how good that makes you feel just reading it.
Working hard to get to that point means you’ll always be working hard. Unless you change how you work you’ll perpetually be working towards achieving ‘balance’. When you should be focusing on balancing along the way.
I just need to finish this
We’ve all said it. Working now to enjoy time off later is a risky strategy. The reason you started your businesses is so you could be in control. So if you don’t take control and make time when will you get the benefit of being in control.
Being an entrepreneur means you will always have something else to do. So putting it off to squeeze in more work isn’t going to make things better, it makes them worse.
You can’t multitask
Don’t feel bad, no one can. Steve Uzzell says it best when he says:
“Multitasking is an opportunity to screw more than one thing up at a time”
When you try and do more than one thing it pulls you off balance. You lose focus, and it takes a lot longer and the end result is not as good as focusing on just one thing.
If you want to get better at focusing on one thing then I’d recommend ‘The One Thing’ by Gary Keller. It completely changed the way I work, for the better.
Get comfortable with balancing
Author Gary Kellar tells us that nothing is ever truly in balance; it’s always being pulled one way or another. Just like running your business, you need to balance between work and life.
Leading a rewarding life requires that you dedicate time to things and focus on achieving them. To maintain balance when you spend time one it must then be counterbalanced by working on the other.
Know where you’re going
To balance work and life you need a goal to work towards that you can achieve. Defining a goal for what you want to achieve is the first way to get better at balancing.
Imagine a tightrope walker. They focus on a fixed point ahead of them to help them balance. You can do the same to help you.
Your life and work goals should align, otherwise, you’re going to have a very hard time achieving either.
Goals are best achieved when your work goal helps you realise your life goals. This helps motivate your work as you can see how it progresses you towards your life goal.
Think of where you want to be in 3-5 years time, what does your life look like? What does your business look like?
Don’t try and do everything
Make this vision your goal, then plan how your business is going to help you get there. Your business should be helping you achieve your goal, not keeping you from it.
Defining your work and life goals enables you to work backwards from them and make a plan of how to get there. This then enables you to focus on these goals and work towards them, like the tightrope walker.
It enables you to say no to things that are not taking you in the right direction. Things that you might have previously said yes to, but can now see are actually pulling you off balance.
I’ve got too much to do
All business owners know the feeling of having too much to do. To resolve this you either need someone to help you do some of the work or have less to do. Both take time to achieve but are possible if you focus.
“My goal is no longer to get more done, but to have less to do” – Francine Jay
Getting help with your workload without first setting a goal is a short term fix, as you will quickly fill your list again with other tasks.
A better long term fix is to change what work you’re doing, so you have less to do. We work with solo founders, coaches and consultants teaching them how to attract better leads who see the value in what they do and are willing to pay more. This means they can spend less time working, whilst earning the same or even more money. We run a monthly workshop if you’d like to know more
Defining your work and life goals will help you focus. It will enable you to manage how far and often you get pulled between work and life. It will help you focus on doing the most important things in both work and life. If you focus on the most important things and let go of the things that pull you off balance you will get to be your vision of the future you.
It’s a balancing act
Don’t think of work-life balance as being a fixed point that you will one day get to. Think of it as a balancing act that you get better at over time. Set your work-life goal to work towards, balancing as you go.
Join us for a live workshop where we will show you the first steps you can take to get better at balancing. We also share our method for setting and achieving your work and life goals. Book your ticket today.