As a business owner or leader, sometimes that work-life balance that we promised ourselves we would maintain goes astray – often around Christmas time. It happens, and you shouldn’t curse yourself for having let work take over your life. The important thing is that you’ve recognised it and you’re working on – finding a strategy to bring it back into alignment.
Research from Simply Business found that almost half of small business owners cancel plans with friends and family at least once a week because of work. Over half a million small business owners simply don’t even bother making social plans in the first place because they know that work is keeping them too busy to commit.
I’ve been guilty of falling into that trap recently, taking on an ever-increasing number of operational tasks and leaving little room for the strategic and personal aspects of running my business. With Christmas fast approaching, the concern is that I won’t be able to step away from work without suffering for doing so.
Then I remember that I’ve been here before. I know I’ll come out the other side, as long as I revert back to my strategy for achieving work-life harmony…
1. Seek out peer support
The first thing I do when I find myself overly invested in work is reach out to my understanding peers – fellow business owners who know how to navigate the ups and downs, and can help restore some clarity to my thinking.
Whilst I don’t look to them for operational help, I do want some personal and strategic support, i.e. some reassurance that this is all part and parcel of leading a business, and how I can better plan for the busy periods in the future.
2. Keep non-work commitments
As the research indicates, when work starts to stack up, the temptation is to retreat from socialising and put all your time into leading the business. But where does that get us? It creates a long-term mentality that social and family life must always play second fiddle – that’s not how you imagined it when you first entered the business world.
In periods of seemingly never-ending work, I’m reminded of what Mark A. Weinberger, Chairman and CEO of EY, once said: “You cannot succeed in keeping your work commitments long term if you don’t keep your commitments outside of work. They could be family, sport, hobby-related … After you plan them, keep your commitments.”
That’s what I’ve tried to do this time. Events like the ‘Friends of Agnentis Partners Dinner‘ – which took place at the end of November – have re-energised me by reinforcing the reasons why I started on this journey of business ownership.
3. Learn from every experience
Just when you thought you had got yourself into a position whereby work could no longer dominate your life, along comes something else potentially all-consuming. It’s vital that you learn from every experience and continuously look for ways to improve your strategy for sustainable success, so that you become more resilient and more decisive in the busy periods.
It’s all part of becoming a more self-aware leader. By being more attuned with your personality, thoughts, beliefs, motivation and emotions, you can stop yourself from making decisions which will ultimately lead to unhappiness, allowing you to be the business leader you set out to be.
When working through your work-life balance journey, ensure you have a trusted person who you can call upon for personal, strategic and operational support. At Agnentis Partners, we think about you as a whole person and try to see things through your eyes. We understand that business success is futile if you are not able to enjoy it with friends and family. So, let us help you find balance in all areas of your life.