Ways to achieve a work-life balance

If you’re reading this article then I take it you’ve stepped away from your busy day to take a moment to relax and let’s face it, catch your breath.  I would also make the assumption that you’ve taken a break because the idea of achieving a work-life balance seems like a fantasy to you – and yes, to many other entrepreneurs and small business owners as well.   Unfortunately, there is no magical schedule that is a cookie-cutter fit for everyone, but there are simple habits and lifestyle changes that can help you build your ideal work-life balance.

A report by the Canadian Mental Health Association found that “58% of Canadians report “overload” as a result of the pressures associated with work, home and family, friends, physical health, volunteer and community service”.  Maintaining a positive work-life balance is also a greater challenge for entrepreneurs and small business owners, who more often than not find their personal and work lives becoming intertwined in order to meet commitments. 

An article featured on Entrepreneur.com discusses different ways to maintain a work-life balance from people who’ve been there.  The five key tips include: forget the balancing act, leverage technology, get selfish, get outside help, and prioritize.  If you are looking to get deeper into learning about how to establish a work-life balance, Entrepreneur.com also featured an article that covers a range of habits one could adopt to get a better balance.

There are many articles and guides available that can help you achieve a work-life balance, but here are a few ways in which I try to manage my own balance:

  1. Establish priorities – I always take time to reflect on what’s happening in my life and then rank them from most to least important. I make sure to consider every aspect – work, family, hobbies, exercise. Then I compare how much time is required for each of the aspects.  Knowing what’s important to me makes it easier to plan enough time to the most important aspects.
  2. Lists and more lists – I make lists for everything to make sure I don’t forget any detail. A key list I make every day is what I want to accomplish before I hit the pillow and call it a night.  This helps me keep focused and when surprises come up I know how to make them fit in.
  3. Technology is my best friend – I schedule a lot of reminders and even schedule specific time slots for things as simple as grocery shopping, gardening or getting out for a run. Keeping track of how I spend time in my day keeps me productive and on the ball.
  4. Leave work at work – I learnt this trick from my father, where in order to be in the moment with family and friends you have to unplug from work and leave the phone and work emails to rest.  And for me this applies to even talking about work; once I’m off the clock, there’s no shop-talk.
  5. Accepting that perfection is impossible – I know I’ll never have the perfect balance, or may never get through everything on my lists or may go over the time slot for things in my calendar, but that’s life. I’ve come to terms with knowing that as long as I find a balance that keeps me stress-free and enjoying the things I love, that’s all that matters in the end.

While we may always be hustling and juggling work and personal goals, we should give ourselves more credit for at least trying to be the best that we can be.  Achieving and sustaining a work-life balance is not something that can happen overnight. It takes time to establish and to understand where your priorities are both personally and professionally. 

Do you have tips and tricks for sustaining a work-life balance?  Share your ideas with us on social media by following @HastingsCounty on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.