“Work life balance” is definitely a trending issue these days, especially among small business owners.
With women starting businesses at a rate of over 2.5 times the national average, it’s no wonder achieving that precarious balance between home, kids and work is such a hot topic.
However, is it really possible to achieve work life balance?
Is there some magic formula that will let you be everything to everybody?
Can you really break down each 24-hour period into neat little segments, equally divided between home, kids, pets, work, and friends?
The Myth of Work Life Balance
I suppose in a world where you could plan every second – and nothing unexpected ever happened – you might actually be able to achieve that elusive “perfect” work life balance.
But, as we know all too well, life doesn’t work like that.
Sick kids, projects that take much longer than expected, unexpected vet bills, clients pulling out of contracts without notice…these things all conspire against us in our quest to balance life and work.
And yet, although we all know these things happen, we still expect that we’ll somehow be able to rise above meeting all our work-related deadlines and being “super mom” or “super dad”…and doing it all with grace.
I believe that being able to “do it all” is a myth – and not a harmless one.
But what’s the alternative?
If it’s impossible to balance work and life, do we just give up and get used to living in a constant of guilt, exhaustion, and regret?
How to Stay Sane WITHOUT Stressing Out About Work Life Balance
I, 100% believe that while achieving “perfect” work life balance may be a myth, it is possible to reduce overwhelm and feel positive about both your work and your life.I, 100% believe that while achieving “perfect” work life balance may be a myth, it is possible to reduce overwhelm and feel positive about both your work and your life.Click To Tweet
1. Check Your Expectations
Shakespeare wrote, “Expectation is the root of all heartache”.
I believe this is especially true when it comes to work life balance. When we expect that we’ll be able to do it all – that we’ll never let anyone down, and that we’ll be the epitome of the “perfect parent” or “perfect spouse” and the “perfect business owner”- this is when things start to fall apart.When we expect that we’ll be able to do it all - that we’ll never let anyone down, and that we’ll be the epitome of the “perfect parent” or “perfect spouse” and the “perfect business owner”- this is when things start to fall apart.Click To Tweet
So if you’re feeling like a failure when it comes to managing your business and/or your personal life, ask yourself: Are my expectations for myself realistic, or am I holding myself to an impossible standard?
2. Watch Out for Signs of Resentment
“Burnout is about resentment. Preventing it is about knowing yourself well enough to know what it is you're giving up that makes you resentful.” – Marissa Mayer“Burnout is about resentment. Preventing it is about knowing yourself well enough to know what it is you're giving up that makes you resentful.” - Marissa MayerClick To Tweet
Resentment doesn’t feel good.
However, it can be an extremely helpful emotion as it’s a warning sign that you’re doing something – or not doing something – that goes against your values or desires.
For instance, if you find yourself feeling resentful that your partner seems to have all the time in the world to relax and just enjoy life, what is this saying about you?
Is there something you need to change in your life or business that will allow you to have more free time? What can you do about this…practically speaking?
3. Set Realistic Goals
When you’re running around putting out fires every day, life can quickly start to feel unmanageable and overwhelming.
However, if you can set reasonable, realistic, attainable goals – both in your business and in your personal life – life will start to feel much more manageable.
Instead of constantly holding yourself to unspoken ideals (and falling short of them), you can feel good about meeting the much-more reasonable goals you’ve set for yourself.
For more on this, check out my post, How to Set Goals in Your Business.
4. Take Time to Take Care of Yourself
I’m not talking about simplistic “self-care” strategies here – taking bubble baths isn’t going to cut it!
But what will help is being proactive and intentional about managing stress through building in time for rest, relaxation and recovery.
For instance, it’s cliché, but we know that exercise reduces stress; so build exercise into your routine – whatever you enjoy, whether that’s walking, jogging, hiking, yoga, etc.
Another helpful strategy for managing stress is using visualization techniques. These can lead to reduced stress, increased productivity, and just generally a more effective business mindset.
Finally, don’t forget to have fun!
You know the saying: When you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.
So, if you don’t truly love your business (at least most of the time!), it may be time to try something new.