This topic is something that is very dear to my heart & is something that I think most creative business owners have to discover at one point or another. It’s vastly important to be able to find that work-life balance & though I’m still working on it, I’ve been learning a lot about how to minimize my to do list & gain control of my life (rather than my to do list controlling me!)
I received an email newsletter this morning from the lovely Nisha Moodley where she sums it up so perfectly: “This cycle of anxiety, overdrive, overwhelm, and despair was running my life, and there was no space in my life for me.”
I know I’m not the only one out there who has felt like this (or maybe feels this all the time!), so here are a few things I have learned along the way & am continually trying to remember:
1. Slow down & enjoy the little things.
This one is BIG. If I can communicate even one way that I have been able to (start to) find a work-life balance, it is finding the ability to stop & smell the roses – literally. So often we are buzzing around from one thing to the next & by the end of the day, we are so exhausted that we don’t take the time to open our eyes to what’s around us. Slowing down allows us to see the world with more clarity & peace. Find what brings you joy, seek it out, & bask in its sunshine.
2. Find a routine that works for you & stick with it.
I have never, ever been one for a schedule. In fact, it’s a serious struggle for me to be on time to events & I’ve always been a kind of “go with the flow” type person. However! I recently invested in a fabulous planner (The Day Designer, if you’re interested – I highly recommend it!) & it’s been truly life-changing, in the least-cliche way I can think of. For the first time in my life, I have had a system that works well for me & that I have been able to stick to. There is more forethought put into each day, better organization, & a more healthy routine overall. I schedule out the amount of time I have each day for work, for play, for family – & it helps me to stay sane. Though sometimes the day turns out a little bit different than what I had scheduled, having a plan helps me to find harmony in my day.
What does my average day look like?
5:30 am ………. Coffee & planning
6:00 am ………. Work time
8:30 am ………. Breakfast & playtime with my toddler before his nap
12:00 pm …….. Work time
2:30 pm ………. Lunch, playtime, & errands
6:30 pm ………. Dinner with the family
8:30 pm ……… Relax with husband, watch an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, or take a bath
10:30 pm ……. Sleep!
3. Set limits & give yourself time off.
I’ll be the first to tell you that my to do list is never-ending. While I have a dream of one day checking off all the items in my list, I’ve learned to manage the to do list & accept it for how it is right. this. second. This means learning how to prioritize, doing my very best to improve every day, & finding peace in knowing that it’s never going to be perfect. Give yourself a break & recognize that though there will probably always be work to get done, you are not a machine! You are one person & your priority must be your sanity, your health, & your family.
4. Be present.
Whatever you’re doing, be present. When you’re working, focus & manage your time well so that you are able to be more productive in whatever time you’re given – & when you’ve closed your office door or your computer to spend time with your family, it’s also a time to stop checking emails, messages, & texts on your phone. This is something I’m so guilty of – & though sometimes it can feel inevitable, shut off your phone or turn off the sound so you are better equipped to be in the moment without the distractions & stresses of work.
5. Pat yourself on the back!
If you’re constantly focused on the things that didn’t get done, it will be really difficult to avoid the burnout that it can cause. However, remember to pat yourself on the back for the things that you did do! I am one who will add already-completed tasks from the morning to my planner just so that I can check them off, if they weren’t already on there. This has given me a way to look back on the day & remember, “Oh! This didn’t get done because this, this, & THIS did.” – Sometimes this is the effect of simply overscheduling myself, so when I’m able to look back on a day and see all the things I was able to check off, I’m usually much happier & feel much more accomplished.
6. Take time for yourself.
We’ve all heard that “In order to take care of others, you must take care of yourself.” This rings SO true in terms of entrepreneurship & business. I am absolutely one who take care of everyone else without taking care of myself – leading to an exhausting type of overwhelm & burnout. If you’re like me, you might be thinking that you can’t afford to designate thirty minutes or an hour as personal time – and often are consumed by all the work you could get done in that same hour. However, one thing I have learned time & time again, is that by taking a beat for myself helps me to stay refreshed & in the end, my work is better & more inspired because I feel healthier.
Since it is different for everyone, I would love to know – how do you find balance in your life & business? Share your best tips below!