This is your life writing you. Perhaps I’m your partner, child/ren, parents, friends, pets or inner-self. Remember when you decided to become your own boss? You were tired of working on someone else’s schedule, toward someone else’s goals. You knew you could have it all—embrace your passion, follow your heart and run your business the way you knew it should be run, all while controlling your own schedule and having the best of both worlds with love for your work and time for your life! I’m writing to remind you about that second part…
You’ve read articles on the elusive work-life balance. It’s something that can seem out of your reach but I’m your life–your only one. We’ve worked so hard to make it count, to live it to the fullest – now it’s time to evaluate the, “no regrets” clause. How are you doing on that? You had the courage to follow your dreams, the passion and dedication to do whatever it takes to make your business a success. These attributes helped you build a business from the ground up. Are you being as intentional in your personal life – taking time away from work to play, travel and spend quality time with your family and friends?
This letter is a “not so gentle” shove back on track if your answer to the above was no. The following is a list of some really great ideas gathered from a variety of sources. I’m not reinventing the wheel here, just trying to get it rolling.
1 – Schedule downtime and set boundaries:
This one really helps with the stress factor! When do you work, when do you play? Be ready to tell someone, “no” or “let’s reschedule,” if it crosses a boundary in your personal schedule. As your own boss, it’s very easy to believe the success of your business lies completely in your willingness to go the extra mile. Just make sure that the extra miles you travel don’t cross over into time you’ve scheduled with me. Some boundaries you want to think about:
- Email: Set a schedule for checking emails (no more than 3 times a day normally)
- To-do lists: make them, stick to them and be willing to delegate when necessary
- Leave work at work: if you work from home, make sure you have set hours so that you know when to close the office door and walk away.
2 – Prioritize and be willing to let go:
Since I’m your life, I’m going to be blunt. This is where you have to ask yourself, “What do I want people to say at my eulogy?” Decide what’s important to you and follow it! Some key questions to think about:
- What helps me unwind? Think about exercise, crafting, reading, get-away time, etc. Activities that help you unwind are crucial to your happiness and lowered stress levels. Make sure you put this as a priority and schedule it in!
- Is there someone else in my business that could do this? Hire a reliable person/people and rely on them to help with your business. This frees up your time and that leads to more happiness.
- If I work a flexible schedule, will my business fail? Taking a half day on Fridays or opening later on Wednesdays may not affect your business as much as you think. Look at your options and make time where you can.
3 – Be the boss of your phone:
Technology can be your best asset and your worst foe. Having a tool like a smart phone brings the world to your fingertips, but …”with great power, comes great responsibility.” You may find that the constant connection to technology becomes a low-level stressor. Use the following to take control of your phone use:
- Do I follow my schedule with my phone? Make sure to include your phone when scheduling your work. If you’ve vowed to only check email 3 times a day, then turn off notifications so that you’re not at the beck and call of the ding. Setting auto-replies for both phone and email during off-work hours can keep clients feeling valued, while allowing you some much needed down time.
- Tech-free time. Setting a time during the day when you and your phone get a break from each other allows you to reset. A meal time with the whole family, a bike ride or walk are good times to release you from the constant contact. I promise, the voicemails and emails will still be there when you return.
See, just three to keep it simple. I’ll let you go with this reminder. Balance requires continuous work. You have to check in on how you’re doing, regularly. Re-read this letter for inspiration, or pick another article from the amazing collection available on-line because regrets suck.
If you found this helpful, you might also like: Let Go of Stress and Learn to Enjoy