I’m a strong believer in this concept, but perhaps not in the way you might think.
I believe it’s OK—and even expected—to have weeks, months, or whole seasons of your life that are more about one than the other. I also believe that it’s possible to find a harmonious balance unique to you and the season of life you are in right now. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all work-life ratio.
For me, finding that balance was a big learning curve, but after a lot of trial and error, I think I’ve started to get the hang of it. Here’s what I’ve learned:
I’ve learned that if I go too hard for too long that I go into the “red zone” (just like the red zone on your car’s speedometer). I know I can only do that for so long before I need to schedule some time away. I’ve learned that being disciplined with time is a life-saver. I’ve learned that a worn-out leader is an ineffective leader. And I’ve learned that when I am operating in the red zone at work for too long, it puts my family on weak footing at home.
What’s helped me most during the past 20 years of business growth is continuing to adjust my ideal work-life balance.
At first, I could only schedule time away from the studio in small increments. I had to build the muscle of taking time off, of feeling comfortable spending time with my family instead (and not feeling guilty).
The good news here is that it doesn’t have to take you 20 years of practice to start finding out what works for you! Here are some of my tips for scheduling time off and finding balance in your world:
- Start by putting your phone away for just a short amount of time, maybe just through dinner. Then start leaving it in your car when you have a date night with your partner, or try shutting it off after 8:00pm so you can tuck your kids into bed and enjoy a good book. (Eventually you might want to work your way up to a whole phone-free day!)
- Use a similar concept to carve out time during the week for important family events or “catch-up” time with a friend. Start by blocking out a few hours once a week for your daughter’s soccer game, or for a 30-minute coffee shop meet-up with your best friend. Then try adding in more pockets of time for other important people in your life.
- With the discipline you are building with those first two tips, apply what you are learning to your communications with the studio: protect your time by only answering emails at a specific point in the day. You may even decide to set up an auto-responder and choose to take whole weekends (or other days of the week) off of email.
Acquiring the work-life balance that suits you best is something that will take effort, yes, but it’s a muscle worth strengthening!
Give yourself the grace to work up to your ideal balance over time; you’ll know when you find it.
P.S. If you are ready to save some time this holiday season, check out my friend Austin Roberson’s “done for you” Tutu Under the Christmas Tree social media kit. I know I’ll be using it to save hours away from the computer this month so that I can spend more time with my family. <3.