Work-life balance is a hot topic. Technology makes it easier than ever to take your business home. As a result, finding a comfortable state of equilibrium between your business, family, friends, and self becomes more challenging.
So, what to do? First, realize work-life balance is an ongoing process, not a goal you achieve. What is balanced this month may be unbalanced next month. Different phases of life present different challenges, and the balance needed to handle obligations changes.
Let’s look at five work-life balance mistakes many business owners make.
Mistake 1: Not defining work-life balance for yourself.
What constitutes balance is a personal thing. What works for someone else may create a completely unbalanced life for you. Define your needs and priorities. Know your personal rhythms and when you work best. Know what is important and what you want in your work, in your relationships, and for yourself.
Bottom line: What works for you now?
Mistake 2: Not having a realistic plan.
Once you know what you want and need, set up a realistic plan. You may have an ideal day in mind, but life often intervenes. Your plan needs to reflect the reality of your life. Idealistic plans that you don’t follow are demoralizing.
Bottom line: Make a plan that factors in all the variables in your life.
Mistake 3: Not involving the important people in your life.
If you have family, business partners, or other important people in your life, they need to be on board with your plan, meaning you need to involve them in setting it up.
Bottom line: Any plan that doesn’t consider the needs of other people in your life is probably doomed to failure.
Mistake 4: Not scheduling your time.
After you have a plan, you need to schedule your time. Again, a realistic schedule is essential. You want to stick to it. However, if demands of life take you off schedule, let yourself be consciously flexible while you keep doing enough to maintain your momentum. It you’re not doing something on your schedule consistently, re-evaluate it.
Bottom line: Self-managed structure allows for freedom
Mistake 5: Not taking vacation.
Research published in 2017 by Project: Time Off found employees who don’t use all their vacation don’t perform as well as those who use all their time off. In addition, employees who forfeited vacation were less likely than vacationers to receive promotions within the last year or a raise or bonus in the last three years.
As much as possible, disconnect completely while on vacation. Leave your laptop at home. Set up automated reply emails. Put your cell phone on airplane mode, and if necessary, check it once a day for no more than 10 to 15 minutes.
Bottom line: Your brain needs a break. Take a vacation.