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Business Times Column

by Marcus

How Well Do You Balance Your Work With Your Life?

The typical entrepreneur is driven, task oriented and focused on accomplishing great goals. These characteristics are highly useful in creating a successful business, but can get in the way of a pleasant and happy life if they are not kept in balance.

Many company owners never stop working or take a break from their revenue-producing activities. While they may give the appearance of not working when outside of business operations, their mind is never far from their responsibilities or new business-related opportunities; worries about their future success, past decisions, growing competition, state of the economy and more is what they think about incessantly. They never—truly—take a much-needed and well-deserved rest.

Do the thoughts and concerns listed above resonate with you? If so, you may notice that they can interrupt sleep and eating patterns, exercise routines, personal and professional relationships, hobbies, passions, and—in general—limit your happiness and success. Little by little, these seemingly minor disruptions will diminish you and the quality of your life. When your entire world centers on your business, many of the other wonderful things there are to experience in life go by the wayside.

Consciousness of your particular situation is your best friend here. Take a few moments to ask yourself these important questions:

  • Do you feel exhausted?
  • Are you a workaholic?
  • Do you sacrifice personal time with your kids or spouse to work instead?
  • Are you frequently awoken by thoughts of work?
  • Do you tell yourself and others that you can’t step away from your business?
  • Are your relationships with your spouse, kids, family and friends as healthy and vibrant as you want them to be?
  • When was the last time you took a vacation and left your work behind?
  • Do you regularly engage your other life passions?
  • Are you HAPPY?

In reality, most people who work with or for motivated business owners, and those who share their personal lives, are not as driven as they are. If left unchecked, the nonstop pace, single minded focus on success and unending pursuit of financial gain that fuels their activities can, and will, burnout even those who are closest to them. Top talent and loved ones can absolutely be negatively affected by a lack of appropriate life/work balance.

There are times, in the course of running of a successful business, where extra time is needed to effectively deal with situations as they arise. If this, however, is the norm rather than the exception, it’s important to step back and take an honest look at the situation, making necessary adjustments that will allow one to experience a fuller and more meaningful life.

When you choose to engage your life outside of business, the benefits are too numerous to count. And, you don’t even need to go on a vacation to do this! By bringing structure and focus to the time allotted to the continued growth and development of your business, you actually free yourself to fully engage both your personal and professional life—at the same time!

For example, make a simple commitment to yourself—and those closest to you—that you will begin and end your business day by a certain time each day (i.e. 9am and 5pm). By doing so, you are also committing to not work between 5pm and 9am each day. With this little bit of structure in place, and your commitment to it, you will bring greater focus to your business during the hours you are there, the quality of your work will increase, and you will ultimately accomplish more as you become a better manager of your work time.

Consciously balancing your life and your work will free you to spend more quality time with family and friends as you bring balance and refreshment to both your personal and professional lives. You will have and make the time to engage in other things that you enjoy. Your mind and body will relax. Your sleep will improve. Your energy will grow. You will be happier and more successful. Your relationships will improve, and so will your life.

On your way to reaching new heights in business, it is imperative that you take the time to truly enjoy your life and the fruits of your labor. After all, isn’t that why you started your own business in the first place?

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This article was written for and published in collaboration with The Business Times newspaper.

Access the article here.