Help! Where’s My Work-Life Balance?

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New business owners start out on their own for many reasons; one of them may be having more control over one’s time, that work-life balance.

According to a recent radio segment by Calgary’s News Talk 770 and interview with successful entrepreneur, philanthropist, and former Dragons Den ‘dragon’ W. Brett Wilson, work-life balance no longer exists. Wilson, a self-declared workaholic, explains his new approach: “I blend my work and play. I’ll be working every day while I’m in Australia but that allows me to be in Australia.”

One could argue that work-life balance has not become extinct, it has merely evolved. With technology having reached new heights, most business and communication now takes place via Internet and e-mail and the proverbial 9-to-5 job has become a relic. Business owners can and do take their work wherever they go: the golf course, home, and on vacation. The rapidly growing number of solopreneurs working from their home-based offices or dining-room tables, with 24/7 access to and tempting/distracting visibility of their workspace, has further blurred any lines of separation between work and life.

As Wilson points out though, the balance is there for the taking – it just requires more self-discipline and boundaries than in the past. In an article in The Art of Magazine, Fall 2013, Mitch Joel, author of the book Ctrl Alt Delete – Reboot Your Business. Reboot Your Life. Your Future Depends On It, uses the metaphor of a three-legged stool. Without the right blend of the three legs – family and friends, profession, community – Joel says the stool (aka life) will topple.

Business owners and solopreneurs therefore have to take charge of balancing their work hours with their personal lives to stay physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy and maintain good relationships all around. Just as Justitia’s scales need to stay in balance in the judicial system, so do our life scales. Piling tons of work onto one side, and only a few ounces of personal time on the opposite will otherwise have us hitting the ground and rock bottom in no time.

To improve your ‘balance’ and work-life blend, try implementing the following:

  • Schedule breaks: Set an alarm on your cellphone or computer. When it rings, step away from your desk/workspace for at least 5-10 minutes every couple of hours.
  • Turn off your cell phone and laptop during your downtime: Vibrating phones and flashing indicator lights are too great a temptation!
  • Don’t procrastinate exercise and workouts: Schedule them, just like any business meeting! Arrange a date and time to meet a friend at the gym, yoga class [insert your preferred exercise here]. Whether you work out together or not, this makes you accountable to show up.
  • Take your personal time just as seriously as your work. Well, maybe don’t be serious when you’re off work but see it as important as anything else you do.

So in the New Year, take charge of your personal time and tip the work-life scales in your, your health’s, and your family’s favour.  Happy New Year!

Martina Rowley is the founder and operator of Beach Business Hub – THE coworking space east of the Don Valley. She combined her passion and experience in the environmental sector with her community engagement side to create a local work environment where space and resources are shared. She fosters and facilitates collaboration, networking, and learning for and with small business owners and new startups.  Contact her at:http://www.beachbusinesshub.ca, on Facebook and on Twitter

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