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Business Times Column #62

by Marcus

How Well Are You Balancing Your Life And Work?

Without breaks to the routine flow of work and life we become burned out, fatigued and overwhelmed, reducing the quality of everything we do on a daily basis. One of the keys to happiness and success is to keep yourself refreshed and at your best.

Many business owners and their team members never stop working. While it might not appear they’re working outside business operations, they’re thinking incessantly about their responsibilities and new opportunities and worrying about the past, the future, competition and the economy. They never truly give themselves a rest.

These thoughts often interrupt sleep and eating patterns, exercise routines, personal and professional relationships, hobbies, and further learning and growth. In general, these thoughts limit happiness and success. Little by little, these seemingly minor disruptions will destroy you and the quality of your life. When all you do is work, many wonderful and necessary things in life go by the wayside.

I recently returned from a nearly three-week long vacation in the Pacific Northwest during which I consciously stepped away from my coaching and consulting business. I only responded to a few urgent calls from clients. I also stopped my social networking. In other words, I took a break from my business life and fully engaged my private life.

This was not always my choice in the past. During the first couple years of business I took little time away. I was so focused on meeting the needs of my clients, and on meeting the growing demand for my services, that I often forgot about myself.

I began to feel tired and recognized that I had to work even harder to keep up my best effort. I was running out of steam, so to speak. While my passion for my work as a coach and consultant did not fade, I found myself losing my life to some degree. That is not why I became a business owner.

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

  • Are you a workaholic?
  • Do you often allow thoughts of business to occupy your mind as a loved one is talking with you?
  • Are you frequently woken by thoughts of work?
  • Do you tell yourself and others that you can’t step away from your business?
  • Do you feel exhausted?
  • Are you happy?

In truth, there are occasions in running a business where extra time is needed to effectively deal with situations. However, if this is the norm rather than the exception, I encourage you to take an honest look at your situation and make necessary adjustments that will allow you to experience a fuller and more meaningful life.

On your way to reaching new heights in life and business, it is imperative for you to take time to truly enjoy your life and the fruits of your labor.

The benefits are many when you choose to live your life outside of business. And, you don’t even need to go on a vacation to do this! By bringing structure and focus to the time you spend in your business or career, you actually free yourself to fully engage both your personal and professional life.

An example of this would be making a commitment to yourself – and perhaps to those closest to you – that you will begin and end your business day by a certain time, say 9am & 5pm. Then follow through on your promise. By doing so, you are also committing to not work between 5pm & 9am each day. With this little bit of structure in place and your commitment to it, you will bring greater focus to your business, the quality of your work will increase, and you will actually accomplish more as you become a better manager of your work time.

Taking actions that allows you to spend more quality time with family and friends will improve your relationships and your life. Making time to exercise, and engage in hobbies and activities you most enjoy will relax your mind and body as you break from business. Your sleep will improve, your energy will grow and you will become happier and more successful as you bring balance and refreshment to both your personal and professional lives.

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

Access the article here.