I always love the New Year because it inspires and empowers us to be better. Nearly all of us make resolutions to lead more balanced lives. The challenge is that we often overcommit and try to do too much; whether it’s dieting, spending quality time with the family, or exercising (those are the biggies for everyone). In particular, as busy and time-starved entrepreneurs, we are often working long and crazy hours with our iPhones glued to our ears.
While we entrepreneurs feel that we have the ability to conquer just about anything, attempting too much change at once can often set us up for failure. Though we can learn from failure, let’s take a more reasonable approach and start with finding a bit more work/life balance from the get go. There are 3 easy tactics you can implement and you’ll immediately start realizing the benefits of being able to better balance your life and work:
Every day, take 15 to 30 minutes for you – not for your family, not for your spouse, not for your pet – but for you. This is your time to recharge and do something healthy for yourself. By doing this, you’ll have more energy to give to everyone and everything else. I promise! For me, I like to meditate in the morning. I get up a little extra early so I can have this alone time with myself without any distractions. I have found that just 10 minutes greatly improves my mental well-being and clarity for the day. Plus, I’m able to make better business decisions, which totally makes this worth it. While there has been much positive research about the benefits of meditation – if it’s not for you – then try something else that calms your mind such as taking a walk or enjoying a cup of coffee.
Set aside a time once a day or once a week, where you and your family, partner, spouse, or friends can eat a meal together. The key to this exercise is to make it technology-free. Turn off your cellphones, iPads, TV, radio, etc. so you can enjoy each other’s company. Try it for 30 minutes… it can be hard if you’re not used to it but imagine actually paying attention to and focusing on those around you for 30 minutes. You’ll be surprised at the bonds you’ll strengthen and the positive impact you’ll have on them. Being a great business owner begins with being able to listen and respond to people, be it your customers, team-members or investors. Think of this “family time” as an activity to train your listening and communicating skills.
I don’t know about you but there are times throughout the day where I’m totally frustrated, whether it’s an overly long commute, bad employee behavior, a deal that’s fallen through, or any number of ‘big’, bad things that can go awry. Before reacting or screaming bloody murder at somebody, I step back – sometimes literally – and take a deep breath. Depending upon the severity, I may have to take several. However, I have found that by doing this, I have always mitigated the emotional outbursts, found greater clarity, and handled the situation better by being a bit calmer. In the heat of the moment, emotions can get the better of you. So, do yourself a favor, and take a deep breath. You’ll be better off for it, I guarantee it.
I hope you find these exercises helpful as you think about your New Years resolutions – in particular, as you strive to find a better work life balance. I truly believe that they can improve your state of mind – hence your decision-making ability as an entrepreneur.