While each is as unique as a business plan, the questions the Yaniszewskis ask themselves to help crystallize their goals will get you started. Write down your answers, but also draw up action items (e.g., hiring a nutritionist, getting travel brochures), a timeline (e.g., for both the short and long terms), and a budget. Review the plan as often as necessary to determine what isn't working and tweak where needed. Make the process fun. "We go out of town--no phones, no laptop, no distractions," Linda says. "We usually choose a nice resort where we can sit by the water and contemplate. We're big believers in visualization, and it's very exciting to look at how our lives will be down the road."

While they initially drew up a life plan because "the business needed to work for us, instead of our working for the business," says Linda, the Yaniszewskis discovered their company benefited as well. ExecuScribe made the Inc. 500 in 2002 and 2003 and the Inner City 100 in 2003.

  1. Core values What's most important to us?
  2. Dreams What do we dream about? What do we want to splurge on?
  3. Family Is the business allowing us time with our children?
  4. Employees Are we helping them accomplish their personal goals?
  5. Exit plan Do we want to retire? If so, what do we want the business to look like when we are ready to leave it? Who will run it? Or do we just want to reduce our hours, and if so, when?
  6. Financial How much money do we want to make? Can the business support our income goals? How much do we need to expand the business? How much do we need to save for our later years?
  7. Friendships Are we spending enough time with people who are important to us?
  8. Fun Are we still having fun at work?
  9. Interests Do we have the time and the resources to entertain and travel? What places do we want to visit in the next two to three years?
  10. Location Where do we want to live?
  11. Physical Health How can we maintain our health?
  12. Relationship with each other Are we continually developing and improving our relationship?
  13. Society Are we giving back to our community?

The Well-Balanced Life

The Turnaround
How a life plan charted the course of one company and its owner. By Donna Fenn.
Not sure how to devise your own life plan?
Use this worksheet to help get you on your way to developing a life plan that benefits you personally and benefits your business.
Got Game?
When life makes you want to call a time-out, perhaps it's time to call in a coach. By Jess McCuan.
Need help getting your life into shape?
Resources to help you get your life into shape. By Stephanie Clifford
Paid Time Off
Avocations become side businesses for entrepreneurs mixing work and pleasure. By Stephanie Clifford.