Work-life gurus recommend “making time” for exercise, relaxation, meditation, and time with family and friends. The flaw in this argument is that time cannot be “made”, but it can be managed. It’s hard to leave work at work when you’re the boss, so for busy business owners, work-life balance and time management are linked.
You can bring your work and non-work lives into sync without sacrificing the success of your business. Time management is meant to make you more efficient, and when you’re more efficient, you can spend less time working without guilt.
All this talk about work-life balance and self-care makes for some nice buzz words, but the big picture is important: if you work yourself into a burnout, you’re no good to anyone, and you’re a liability, not an asset to your business.
In Psychology Today, Paula Davis-Laack J.D., M.A.P.P. advises self-efficacy as a first step to avoiding burnout: “Self-efficacy is having the belief in your own ability to accomplish (and exercise control over) personally meaningful goals and tasks. People who have a stronger level of perceived self-efficacy experience less stress in challenging situations, and situations in turn become less stressful when people believe they can cope…. The most direct and effective way to enhance self-efficacy is through performance mastery experiences. When you accomplish a goal, your brain asks, ‘Hmmm, what else can I do?’”
In the time management classic, Eat That Frog, Brian Tracy tells us that starting your day with the most difficult, arduous task sets you up for an efficient day. It also begins your day with Davis-Laack’s recommended self-efficacy.
Davis-Laack also stresses the importance of creativity: “Burnout interferes with your ability to perform well, increases rigid thinking, and decreases your ability to think accurately, flexibly, and creatively. Even if you aren’t able to flex your creative muscles at work, having some type of creative outlet will keep you engaged and motivated.” Once you’ve freed up some time, find a creative outlet that fulfills you.
For those days when you just can’t pull yourself away from the job, burnout-avoiding activities can be built into your day. Ten-minute yoga or meditation breaks, eating lunch alone without your phone, and adding basic workplace wellness practices are great first steps for yourself and your team.
Apps for That
When it comes to work-life balance your phone can be your enemy or your friend.
According to the makers of Breakfree, “Study shows that an average adult checks his phone a whooping 110 times a day. That makes it once every 13 minutes. And for most people this peaks to once every 6 seconds in the evenings.” To help keep your focus off your phone during off hours, Breakfree monitors and limits the time you spend using your phone, with friendly reminders from Sato the avatar if you’re overdoing it.
Weekly Planner for Android or Week Plan for iOS encourages you to plan out your week and include time for what matters outside of work. The Muse raves, “Both apps are simple but effective for scheduling important routine tasks like household chores, exercise, or self-improvement—and they, of course, remind you to keep those promises to yourself.”
You may be thinking, “That all sounds good in theory, but I simply don’t have time.” You do. The only thing keeping you from work-life balance is you, and the price is too high to put it off.