If only life was perfect. Many times, some of life's biggest frustrations are due to expectations gone off track. There isn't a bigger offender of causing frustration than with the notion of achieving work-life balance.
Achieving a work-life balance sounds good on paper just as a business plan often looks like perfection until it's time to actually get on the playing field. Theory and application are on two opposite ends of the spectrum.
Achieving the standard portrait of work-life balance as a business owner (especially early stage) isn't being realistic. While not working yourself into the ground isn't recommended, expecting to have each area of life perfectly divided up like slices of cake isn't either.
Therefore, a more realistic option is to seek harmony and integration. To begin this process of making work harmonize and integrate into other aspects of life, here are three solutions to get you started.
1. Create work seasons.
When I was in college, I worked seasonal jobs unloading trucks during the holidays. While I didn't love my job, it helped to know that this particular job was only going to last for six weeks.
This notion of a deadline is something that I've brought along into my career as well. As entrepreneurs, ideas and things to do can quickly compound. And this is also where life can begin to feel overwhelming and you find yourself taking on too many projects. Unintentionally, life, often in the form of relationships and meaningful hobbies find themselves relegated to the sidelines.
Therefore, to keep your work and life in harmony, limit your big projects and missions to only a handful. For example, I had one season with writing my book as the big objective even though I had a handful of other big projects I wanted to work on.
Since I don't have a large team, it's important to be more precise with my actions. If you find yourself overworked, perhaps you're working on too many large projects at once and would be better off to tackle one at a time.
2. Create a weekly hierarchy list
If you're anything like me, you most likely enter each week ready to conquer the world only to have life happen in the form of an unexpected situation (or two). A lesser emotionally intelligent form of myself would throw my hands up and let those moments negatively affect the rest of my week.
However, now, I have a weekly hierarchy list where objectives are ranked according to importance. An easy question to ask for work is "if I only accomplished two to three things this week, what would the most impactful activities be that would propel my business forward?"
Now that you know these key actions, center them around important personal metrics such as relationships. If you happen to work your way down the list, great. If not, you'll still feel like a success at the end of the week since you've achieved those key two to three activities.
3. Create daily work themes.
As an entrepreneur, especially early stage, you're signing an invisible contract for numerous roles on top of the handful you knowingly commit to.
With that in mind, to help with energy and productivity, create theme work days to keep you from bouncing back and forth. For example, set aside a few designated days for sales calls, have another day for content creation if that's a responsibility of yours, and have a day where strategy is a focus.
To get started, look at your various work roles and see if you can begin to set them up in blocks throughout the week.
It's in your DNA as an entrepreneur to always be thinking about work which is why work-life balance isn't practical as that preaches separation. Instead, with the actions above, you can start to achieve harmony and integration of your work and life in which it'll become one entity instead of separate pieces.