You work hard, but do you play hard? An employee review survey conducted by the Randstad Group found that 57% of Generation Y employees and 26% of baby boomers take off unplanned days from work to deal with stress. You may think that business owners would do the same but in my experience they tend to work harder, rather than step away, as the stress builds.
Entrepreneurs are multi-dimensional, passionate individuals so living a whole life is more important to their health and well being than almost anything. They are risk takers, yet are too often tucked behind their desk - safely focusing on the tedious aspects of their business.
It's easy to get caught in this trap, but really, how productive can you be when you are missing your family and friends, yearning for another sky diving adventure, and neglecting your workout time? There is no shortage of studies sighting that employee effectiveness rises when time off is taken on a regular basis, but entrepreneurs can easily lose sight of this fact, working for months – even years – without time away from the business.
It's a fact; productivity levels drop with lack of life balance. You need to recharge your batteries on a consistent basis. When you take time out your creativity, endurance, happiness and, most likely your profits, will all increase. Here are some simple ways to recharge.
1. Focus on what is important. Ask yourself, 'What is most important to me in life, other than a successful business?' Is it spending time with family and friends? Being in nature? Connecting with your spirituality? Now ask, 'How much of my time do I spend in this area of my life?' Odds are you are spending the least amount of time in the most important life categories. As you increase time in these areas you will feel more complete, less guilty, and more focused. It may seem impossible to escape work after only 5 or 6 hours, but give it a try and see how you feel the next day. Spend an extra couple of hours a week with the kids, your mate, your friends or extended family. You may just find yourself able to complete things more effectively as your focus and clarity returns after some hours of leisure.
2. Take a mini-vacation. Perhaps you can't afford a full-blown vacation right now; that's okay (for the time being). How can you get away from your familiar surroundings without getting on an airplane? Is there a little town nearby that offers unique restaurants and shopping? Do you like amusement parks? How about a picnic or hiking the trails? A day at the beach perhaps? Think of a one-day getaway that is low budget but enjoyable. You'll be surprised at how this can renew your spirit!
3. Schedule date nights. If you are married or have a significant other, make sure you are spending quality time together. You chose one another for a reason, spend time enjoying it! Reignite the passion and appreciate the value in having a mate. Imagine if you were going through life right now without someone to lean on and love, do your best not to take it for granted.
4. Spend time working away from the office. I am sitting in my favorite coffee shop, enjoying the presence of familiar faces as I write this article. Stepping away from my work environment every day gives me an emotional boost. So many business owners are social, people-loving individuals, yet they isolate themselves for days at a time. One of the reasons you probably started your own business is because you value your freedom; enjoy it! Take your laptop outside, go to the library, think about joining a networking group or find another work-related weekly event.
5. Take frequent breaks in your day. While it's important to have two-hour chunks of focused time in your work schedule, it's equally important to give your brain and body a rest. Schedule short walks, lunch away from the computer, and other pleasant activities into your day. You will find that you are able to complete tasks more quickly and efficiently as this habit becomes part of your daily routine.
What are your life balance survival tips? Share them here and spread the balance!