Establishing a work-life balance has become a hot topic over the last few years. Many companies are putting more emphasis on ensuring their employees have a satisfactory work-life balance. They may provide free or discounted childcare services, offer exercise classes, encouraging flexible hours, or conduct employee engagement activities.
Where does that leave entrepreneur moms, though? Who is supporting us as we strive to reach peak work-life balance? In theory, one might think that working for yourself means that you’ve already achieved the ultimate balance – something that others can only dream of. But, of course it’s not that simple and couldn’t be further from the truth – especially for moms! Yes, as an entrepreneur, I don’t have a boss or company to answer to, but in many ways, the pressure of establishing a sustainable work-life balance is amplified because it lies solely in my hands. No matter your situation, whether you work at a company, work remotely, or work for yourself, one of the most challenging obstacles we face as working individuals is finding a healthy balance that contributes to our happiness and the betterment of our families.
What are the benefits of work-life balance?
- Increases productivity
- The Corporate Executive Board did a study of 50,000 global workers and the findings show that those who feel they have a good work-life balance work 21% harder than those who don’t
- Improves bottom line and profitability
- Prevents burnout
- Leads to healthier choices, less stress, and fewer health issues
- Studies have long shown that being in a high-stress occupation means more trips to the doctor
- Promotes happiness
What can we do to establish a work-life balance?
First and foremost, figure out what your ideal work-life balance looks like. As a working parent, it is essential that I don’t neglect my duties as a mom, and that I enjoy my time with my family. For me, the “life” in work-life balance is largely centered around my children, not on relaxation or decompressing (though I recognize it is important to schedule in “me time”).
- Take time off. Vacation should be a necessity, not a luxury. There are so many benefits to “taking back your time” and allowing yourself to step away from everyday responsibilities.
- Disconnect after work. All of our electronic devices make it way too difficult to simply sign off, but it’s so important. In fact, in 2018 France passed a “right to disconnect” bill, recognizing that “the boundary between work life and home life has shrunk with the introduction of digital tools.”
- Allow yourself breaks throughout the day. This can look like taking a 15-minute walk around the block, calling a friend, resting your eyes for a few, listening to music, making a healthy lunch, or going to your weekly therapy session. Don’t be afraid to “blend” self-care into your workday and get out of the mindset that it will disrupt workflow – like most things in life, practice makes perfect and you’ll learn to adjust.
- If you work alone or from home, don’t eliminate the human connection from your day. Find ways to stay connected and socialize in some way, whether video chatting with a friend or popping into a local coffee shop.
- Even if you work remotely, establish a workspace and schedule that promote productivity. Here are some tips that work for me.
- Seek out resources that will help you learn more about and achieve a healthy work-life balance. There are experts dedicated to compiling information around this topic – many that focus specifically on working parents.
- Establish what helps you manage stress and make time for it. You may think that fitting in a run, meditating, or spending a half-hour a day reading will take valuable time away from your other responsibilities – but if these activities reduce stress, they will likely increase your work performance.
- Be efficient with your time at work. What organizational changes can you make to ensure you’re crossing items off your list quickly without diminishing the quality of your work? If you can, consider outsourcing to an Online Business Manager (OBM) like me.
- In the same vein, set realistic goals. How can you be efficient if your workload is impossible to complete? A critical element of maintaining work-life balance is being realistic. It really can be that simple!
In closing, it’s important to talk about adaptability. If you’ve read this far, you might be thinking, “easier said than done.” And that’s ok because if truth be told, the perfect work-life balance simply doesn’t exist. Workloads increase, kids get sick and have to stay home from school, work trips get scheduled, groceries get put off. You name it; there are so many variables (some foreseen, and others not) that can affect your life or work. The balance that works for you can be achieved over time. If you have to work 12 hours on Tuesdays, perhaps Wednesday can have a greater focus on your personal life.
I hope this helps you take the necessary steps to creating a healthy work-life balance in your business and personal life. We’re all in this together!