Many entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs state that concerns over work-life balance has held them back.
Not very many people have a job where they are getting paid to do what they love. For the vast majority of us, what we love to do and what we get pad for are two different things. A full third of our day is sleeping (if you are doing it right), a third or much more working, and the remainder is ours.
What is left after work and sleep we have to do chores, cook and eat, shop, entertain ourselves, exercise, get ready in the morning and get ready for bed, manage children and their activities etc. The fact is, there isn't a whole lot of time to pursue extra activities that may further our dreams.
Faced with this, we often cut sleep short, but that only decreases our productivity. We don't exercise or we dine out instead of cooking. Perhaps we have a glass of wine to wind down, just to take the edge off.
Our society is ever busier, with jobs harder to find and keep, expectations of productivity high and demands of our time increasing. Helicopter parents anyone?
It's no wonder we are dissatisfied with our jobs, tired, overweight and longing for something better. Stress increases and our quality of life decreases.
So now that I have everyone stressed and depressed, what do we do?!
The suggestions below might help. Keep in mind I'm not talking about stress management or learning to accept our situations more effectively, but how to focus more on what is important to you.
I hate schedules. I just don't relate to them well, have a hard time keeping them up, but managing time is important nonetheless.
For me, I've had to just come to grips that I can't do everything I would like to do, all at one time. I can't learn the guitar, train for a marathon, raise a child, get my work done, build a business etc.
Compromises need to be made. I have decided that thought there are hobbies and other interests I would like to pursue, I have to be realistic that I can't do everything.
I focus on a couple of things that are important to me. Other things may be important, but they are just going to have to wait.
Much can and has been written about time management, and I'm sure you know enough already to know what you need to do. You just have to have the fortitude to prioritize and take a close look at your hectic life and find ways to cut back or organize better.
Get good sleep, eat a healthy diet and exercise. I used to resent my doctor for telling me to diet and exercise (not really, ok, maybe a little). After all, who needs to go to the doctor to be told that?!
I do notice those that are healthiest, most in shape also often have the highest productivity, do more outside of work and generally have a better attitude.
If you read this blog for any length of time, you'll find that I struggle in this area, but continue to work on it. My general mood and outlook on life goes down when I'm tired and feel like a slug.
When I'm more fit, I get more done, feel less stress and have an overall better outlook on life.
If you really feel like your work-life balance is out of whack, take a good, honest look at it. Is your job just too much of a soul sucker that no matter what you do, you will never have the balance you want?
I do know people who have worked at jobs not because they loved them, but they were manageable, earned enough income and allowed them to have the time and lifestyle they wanted. That is awesome when that can be done.
Statistics show that 60% of US workers were so unhappy with their jobs, they would prefer another career. That's a lot of people.
But you know that if you 'do what you have always have done, you will always get what you have got.' It may be hard, but if you know a change needs to be made, you need to take action.
If you have a dream you want to follow, what is the one thing you can do today to more toward it? Is it reach out and network with one person in a career you want? Dust off the running shoes and go for a walk? Take an online course to gain skills you wish you had? Maybe its start a blog or start developing a product or service you would eventually like to have support you.
Don't wait for perfection, take an imperfect step forward. It may be hard and it may be scary, but you will find that if you step out into the dark, it isn't as overwhelming as you had thought.
You only have one life and only you can make it better.
Remember, there are a lot of techniques to approach this topic, but I've only given a few ideas here, but you have to start somewhere.
- Prioritize your time and cut out busy work. Simplify.
- Take a walk, watch your diet and start getting healthier. This will boost your energy and your mood.
- Take action. It feels good to do something for yourself. You will feel more in charge, you will move closer to your goals and you will eliminate even one stressor that holds you back.
For one week, choose one thing you can do in each of these areas, no matter how small. It will be significant, because it will be something. Keep moving forward.