|Every once in a while, we as entrepreneurs have to burn the midnight oil to meet deadlines and go that extra mile to accomplish a specific task.|
I'm always reminding clients and readers to make sure they remain aware of how they are allocating their time so they donít create an imbalance between their work and personal lives.
All work and no play makes for a lonely, unhealthy and unfulfilling life.
This week I created an imbalance for myself and as a result, am now sitting at my computer on a Saturday night with one eye partially closed and a very tired mind and body.
Like you, I too get caught up with a project that demands a great deal of time and energy and requires uninterrupted, total attention.
Being a small and home-based business owner requires periods of intense focus and hard work and part of the entrepreneurial spirit is the amazing ability to do whatever it takes to accomplish a task when a situation warrants.
I stress the importance of maintaining healthy work/life balance, particularly as it relates to the day-to-day activities of the small business owner.
Even more so, however, is the absolute need to re-establish balance after the scales have been tipped due to a short-term demanding project or intense activity.
You know when you are out of balance. You're energy is drained, you can't focus, you aren't eating properly, you are easily agitated and your zest for fun is gone.
As soon as you recognize these symptoms, make a conscious decision to take corrective action immediately.
The thing you want to avoid is riding the wave of overwhelm and imbalance any longer than you have to. Pay attention to how you feel and if you don't like it, do something about it pronto.
Yesterday I completed the demanding weeklong task I had set for myself and knew I had burned the candle at both ends just long enough to start feeling burned out.
I recognized the effects of the imbalance I created and instituted Operation "Rescue Me" that will run for the next several days.
Today was get-plenty-of-rest-and-eat-only-healthy-foods-day. I did a lot of napping and when I was awake, I ate only raw vegetables, yogurt and drank a lot of water and fruit juice. Tonight I will go to bed early to put myself back on schedule.
Tomorrow is get-outside-enjoy-the-sunshine-and-spend-time-with-loved-ones day. The weather here has been absolutely beautiful and I missed a great deal of it while locked in my office for a week. Tomorrow it's sunshine, a beautiful warm breeze and a delicious BBQ with family.
For the following several days I have tennis dates planned with a good friend.
To rebalance the scales, you need to incorporate physical exercise. You may enjoy walking, doing weights, yoga, cycling, table tennis Ö anything that gets your blood pumping and energy rising.
I enjoy yoga, but when I've pushed myself too far out of balance I need a good game that involves hitting a ball to get me back in line. Another upside to playing a game with someone means there will be a lot of laughter.
While playing a game of tennis or squash with good friends, it is easy to feel like a kid again.
For a brief moment in time, I forget I have a home, a business and family responsibilities. My entire focus is on not getting clobbered and making my opponent laugh so hard she can't hit the ball back.
When we have nothing left to give, we head to the Dairy Queen for some soothing ice cream, sit on the tailgate of my truck and contemplate life and our dreams for the future.
Working hard is a part of being an entrepreneur. Working smarter and not harder is what will truly set you free and allow you to move mountains.
But, every once in a while, there will come a project that will demand more of you than usual and if you have the true mindset and passion of an entrepreneur, you will jump in with both feet and not quit until the job is done.
The important thing here is to not let the project become a long-term demand on you that will create an unhealthy balance in your life.
Set the condition that the task will receive your utmost attention and if you know it will create a deficit in your other personal accounts such as sleep, family and physical exercise, have a recovery plan in place to rebalance the scales.
What is one activity you do (or used to do) that made you feel like a kid? When is the last time you participated in this activity and what is stopping you from doing it today?
If you have been focusing all of your time and attention on your business and have not let up for air, ask yourself this Ö
What is one activity that I absolutely love to do that I haven't done because I am so involved in my business I have neglected it?
Then ask yourself Ö If I were to do this activity today, would my business suffer? Would I have to close my doors? Would it make or break my success as a business owner?
If the answer is yes, it is time for you to realize that critical changes need to be made in the way you are managing your business.
If the answer is no, leave your office/shop/store, lock the door behind you and go have fun. Call a friend who enjoys the same activity you do and forget about your responsibilities even if only for a little while.
About the Author
Laurie Hayes works with small and home-based business owners who are struggling to maintain a healthy work/life balance. To receive valuable tips, strategies and techniques designed to grow a successful business without sacrificing quality of life, subscribe to her free bi-weekly newsletter at www.wheretheheartis-lifecoaching.com