How can you maintain a healthy work/life balance when today’s market demands more of you than ever before?
This week’s blog is all about work/life balance…
But Tom, hasn’t your entire message been that you need to work more, work harder, double down on your business, and continue to serve more than ever?
Yes, it is. And I stand by that, but I also believe you need to be doing more in all areas of your life to balance it out. If you just keep grinding around the clock, you’re going to hit a wall and burn out, and then what good are you going to be for the people who need you – at work and at home?
That’s why we’re about to take a dive into my beliefs on work/life balance and I’ll show you have you can get a better perspective on what you need to prioritize in your schedule.
Let’s start off with something else that might surprise you after what I just said…
And > Or
Now, I don’t normally have to keep justifying myself in my own blogs, but I did say something in the first sentence that needs to be addressed…
I don’t believe in maintaining a “work/life balance.” By that I mean, I don’t believe in separating your work from your life. Your work is one piece of your life, which is important, but don’t need to be in conflict with every other part.
Too many people approach this subject with a “this or that” mindset: “I can either work more or I can be a good parent to my kids;” “I can either spend more time with my spouse or I can make more money for us.”
But when you think with a “this or that” mind, you’re either going to get “this” or you’re going to get “that,” but you’re not going to get everything you want. Why would anyone choose to compromise when they don’t have to? That’s fixed thinking.
A better strategy is to replace “or” with “and,” because I believe you can have a strong exercise routine and a healthy spiritual life AND a thriving business AND still have time for your family.
Define What Balance Means to You
You’ve likely seen me talk about these categories before, but it’s important to bring them up over and over again, because what happens when you don’t see them for a while?…
You fall out of balance!
These are the eight categories of your life:
- Family – the people you love and provide for.
- Career – your business.
- Finances – your assets and the amount of time you can afford to not work.
- Health – how you feel, mentally and physically, as well as your mobility and vitality.
- Travel – how you’re expanding your view by getting out in the world.
- Knowledge – learning every day about something that is important to you.
- Social – your friends, hobbies, and what you do for fun.
- Contribution – what you give back to the world.
No one of these categories is more important than the other, but most people (regardless of what industry they’re in) separate their career from the other seven categories.
Here’s an exercise I want you to do at the beginning of each new quarter, because this is something you need to track and measure like anything else. Write down all these categories on a piece of paper or make a pie chart in Excel where you rate each category in your life on a scale of one to ten. Be brutally honest here, because this is how you’ll know where you need to focus.
When you’ve got your finished “wheel,” imagine what it would be like to drive down the freeway with it on your car. Is it a smooth ride… or more like off-roading in a Smart Car? What changes are needed to achieve more balance and a smoother path forward?
Get Your Systems and Processes in Place
When we were talking about work/life balance, we were just talking about work and life. Now there are a full eight categories to keep track of. That should mean it’s harder to keep up with, right?
Not necessarily… Because we’re being more specific about the categories and we’ve assessed our level of attention in each one, we now know where we need to focus. But maintaining balance takes a plan, organization, and systems.
Start with your habits – specifically your morning routine. When someone complains to me that they don’t have time for self-care or that their balance is off, my first instinct is to fix their morning routine. This is an opportunity to knock off at least two categories in the first hour of your day (health and spirituality), and because you feel good first thing in the morning, you’ll be more energized to tackle the others.
Next, if your career or your family life is eating up too much time with “busy work,” it’s absolutely necessary to see what you can outsource. Maybe you find that you’re spending too much time going to the grocery store or waiting in traffic to pick up your kids when you should be going on listing appointments. Instead of choosing between the two, consider hiring someone to do the shopping and pick up the kids for you. If you’re working the way you should be and using the resources available to you, then your hourly wage should be significantly higher than your babysitter’s. Think of it that way.
And lastly, in this section, we need to talk about your schedule… If you want a balanced life, you must be a master of time blocking (check out my blog on it here), because if something isn’t in your schedule, then it doesn’t exist.
Get the Accountability You Need
My job as a coach isn’t to improve your business at the expense of everything else in your life. My mission is to improve every single area of your life by starting with your business because it is such an important part. Everything else in your life can be perfect, but if you’re broke then things are going to fall apart pretty fast.
You’re accountable… You’re accountable to your business, your friends, your body, your friends, your God, and your society. It’s part of being an adult. But having someone to hold you accountable to maintaining that balance can be an absolute game changer.
You do need to do more than you’ve likely ever had to do before, but you don’t have to do it alone.
I hope this has helped. And if you need any more help with work/life balance or anything else, you know where to find us.