Work Life Balance

stress-fot-webMy Biggest Challenge For The New Year

Thanks to Jeff Walker for the great video below – he gives you two challenges for your 2015 business life. The one I know I must work on is Work Life Balance.

I find it very hard to “stop work” and unwind. Two reasons:

  • I feel guilty when not working
  • I enjoy work more than non-work

Now I fully accept that's “not good”!

The image here really could be me, juggling all the spinning plates and trying to keep them in the air… I have:

  • Family commitments – as we all have!
  • An offline computing business
  • An offline property business
  • An offline book-keeping business
  • My online business

The theory is that increasing the income from my online business will allow me to be less reliant on the offline businesses, all three of which are pretty stressful and demand my presence to keep them going. The problem is, they pay the bulk of the bills, so have to take priority!

Then within the online business are the strands of:

  • Product development (free and paid products)
  • Blogging and commenting
  • Social media presence
  • Other ways of promoting my site
  • I know I OUGHT to get into videos, sigh….
  • Learning more!

From that you can probably see why the plates are spinning!

So what? I hear you say. That's what we're all doing. But is it right? The video below gives us two challenges for the New Year, and I know what I need to work on: work life balance.

Video About Work Life Balance

The comment that got me thinking the most was actually the joke about “what is an entrepreneur”.

What Is An Entrepreneur?

The answer is: “Entrepreneurs are people who work 12 hours a day so they don't have to work 8 hours a day.” Ouch. Guilty as charged – although, of course, I do have other reasons, and so will you.

Laughably my first reaction was “Only 12 hours? Someone's slacking”. And I meant it! There are times when I put in 15 hours and more on my businesses. OK – I have the quick break to snatch a coffee and a meal (usually in front of the PC), but basically I'm a workaholic.

Obviously anyone who has a family or life-partner “with them” couldn't do this … or could they?

It's In The Genes

I know that being a workaholic is in my genes, because my Dad was a newsagent with a shop on the seafront, which meant that for 20+ years he got up at about 6am to “mark up” the newspapers ready for delivery, and the shop closed at 6pm (when the Post Office closed). That was in winter, the quiet season. In the summer we stayed open until 10pm most nights, because the trade was there. What a great situation to be in. People queuing to hand over their money!

That wasn't five days a week – it was seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. Dad got about four days off from this when there were no papers published, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. (Imagine his response when someone rang him early one Boxing Day to ask where their paper was LOL.)

My Dad didn't have a day's ill-health until he retired, when he felt his life went downhill. He loved his work and was good at it. We had a successful business.

And I say “we” – because it was a family business, so when the day staff left, my Mum and I were there with my Dad helping out.

Tip: Is there an area of YOUR business that you could involve your family in, and make it a team effort” rather than them feeling isolated when you're working on your business?

My first job in the family business started as soon as I was old enough to count to twelve – I was in charge of counting the pennies from the stamp machine and putting them in piles of twelve to make a shilling (oh, that dates me – UK “old money”).

Then when I was old enough to serve customers, I had a part-time job in the shop after school, weekends and in the school holidays. I was so proud when I had earned my first £100 and opened a savings account.

Don't think “Poor child – slave labor”. I remember those days as some of the happiest of my life, working in a team and achieving success together. So much so that my ambition was to have my own retail shop and emulate my parents' success.

But my Dad was wiser than I was. He foresaw the demise of the retail shop as supermarkets started taking over. Instead, my Mum predicted the rise of computers – and they insisted I learned computer programming. That stood me in good stead as it's been my off-line business for over 30 years, and still my biggest source of income to this day.

However, those early days instilled in me a work ethic that's hard to shed – because of the happy memories and the sense of achievement that went with it. I got an early taste of success and I've never stopped craving it.

But I'm feeling that the years are slipping away, and perhaps I should try and change.

I'm lucky that I'm actually comfortable enough financially that “starting an online business” isn't just about the money. I have a nice house and a car that's fine for my needs. It would just be nice to have my hair done every week without thinking about it, and little extra treats like that.

How To Improve Work Life Balance

I have been trying to “do something” to improve my work life balance over the last month or so. Here are some activities that help me relax and turn off from work:

  • I've started going to a weekly Yoga class
  • Reading – and not just business books
  • I meet my long-time friends once a fortnight for a “girls night”
  • I still go line-dancing almost every week
  • Watching TV a bit – although I sit and knit for my grand-daughters at the same time, because I do feel TV is a bit of a waste of time
  • I've registered for some business networking groups – as much for the social side as the business
  • Must get back into “University of the Third Age” – that's been a casualty of the 2014 chaos

So how's it working out? Early days, but….. “Not sure” as my eldest niece (nearly 4) says. I'm afraid I still get my biggest buzz from work LOL. So I guess I've got to try harder to relax – does that make sense? I have a few other ideas up my sleeve, but still mulling them over.

The danger “with me” is that I fling myself into something else and end up with even more plates spinning. I've done it before and descended into what I call my “total overwhelm mode”. Those who know me best would not recommend that!

Over To You…

Do you think YOU have good work life balance? If so please share below your best tips, I know it's an area I can use some help with!

Please share

I left it too late to plan for a financially secure retirement. Don't make my mistake. Start building an extra income with a part-time (or full-time) business online. Think you don't have time? Can't afford the start-up cost? Can't meet sales targets? Contact me for free advice (no obligation) on the best fit for your circumstances.

Uttoran Sen - January 4, 2015

Hey Joy,

Over the past decade working on my online business one thing I can tell is that work-life balance is pretty difficult to maintain. It is more about how disciplined one is and self-discipline isn’t easy.

12 hours is way too low, 15 is kind of easy … I have worked for 18 hours a day and yet felt that there’s got to be more time that can be squeezed out of the day. This schedule in the longer run does effect productivity and hurt efficiency and even quality of the output.

I like your activities that you have started for the changes. Surely Yoga is on my list of to-dos. And yes, work is something that I like most – and that is all right I guess, as long as other daily activities are well maintained and balanced.

Uttoran Sen,

    Joy Healey - January 5, 2015

    Hi Uttoran

    Thank goodness I’m not the only one working those kind of hours. It’s such a relief that you (and others) can be honest about the hard work that’s needed.

    There was a time in my “innocent online” days when I really believed I was the only person who couldn’t buy a “Bright Shiny Object” and turn it into cash within hours. LOL. If only! I know better now, but sadly there are many new people who think they are “starting an online business” when actually they are just looking for the great Google or Bing (etc) to hand them instant cash. I guess they’ll either give up within weeks / months, or figure out that it takes hard work. Especially in parallel with an existing job / business.

    So, encouraged by your example, I shall continue enjoying my work, but keeping up with some of the other activities.

    Thanks for your visit, Joy

Ryan Biddulph - January 4, 2015

Congrats to you Joy for creating a freeing life!

Everybody resonates with different activities; you enjoy work so you may work more than the average entrepreneur.

I enjoy doing stuff I love online and do nothing else; I leave a few comments and write one, 7,000 word post weekly and leave it at that.

For me, well, I had to get clear on why I worked so much. Turns out I was working ineffectively.

My ego identified with the work, I loved punishing myself and I had Underdog Syndrome, setting up challenges, working harder, etc.

When I changed my intent to free me and to free my audience I was able to spend more time enjoy the beach or walks or whatever I wished to do away from the computer.

Yep, my balance rocks these days…..at least I think so 🙂

Keep on spending time away from work and you’ll start to get more addicted when you make letting go a habit 😉


    Joy Healey - January 5, 2015

    Hi Ryan

    Wow – I think you just came up with some very big insights there.
    Identifying with the work
    Punishing myself
    Challenges to work harder
    Underdog Syndrome – new one on me, but I do see what you mean LOL

    I know I’m always trying to emulate my parents’ success. I feel that I should use the great start that they gave me in life, to achieve more than I have done so far.

    One friend suggested that I work on the online stuff like being a crossword puzzle addict, a hobby. I must admit I sometimes refer to my online business as “my expensive hobby” to make light of the hours I spend on it. Only my son truly understands. He and his wife bought me Dolly Parton’s book “Dream More” for Christmas. It’s next in line after my current fiction book! I will dream of a weekly 7,000 word post and commenting and nothing else “work-wise”.

    I’ve just booked myself in for another term of yoga – so I’m “working” on it!

    Thanks for your inspiration.


Edward Thorpe - January 5, 2015

Hi Joy,

What a wonderful trip through your growing up years. Truly love it when you get personal.

Per you relaxing, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. (your words 😉

On the other hand, I think we should trust our feelings. If you feel you need more ‘you’ time, then you do.

The danger here, for a high achiever like yourself, is turning relaxation into another competition against your subconscious image of yourself. Not trying to be ‘new agey’, but I suspect you know of what I’m speaking.

And, I suspect, your new dedication for life balance, is a path you’ve chosen none too soon. It might not be that easy for you, but you’ll get the hang of hanging…

A wonderful 2015 to you, Joy.

    Joy Healey - January 6, 2015

    Hi Edward

    Glad you enjoyed the glimpse of my childhood background. My very first business was selling celebrity postcards from the shop at school! I took orders each night and delivered them next day. We started young in my family.

    Yes, I DO know what you mean with the “competition against my subconscious self-image” – perhaps a fear of that is why I’m waffling on about it, instead of just doing what any sane person would do and pick up a book when they want and go to bed when they’re tired. LOL Only “me” could make 1,000 word post about it!

    Perhaps it’s as mundane as realizing there are a ton of things I haven’t done and places I haven’t seen, so I’d better get cracking!

    Working towards a slightly more chilled 2015!

    Enjoy the rest of your week, Joy

Una Doyle - January 5, 2015

Hi Joy – oh you do make me laugh! 🙂

For me I’m juggling 2 main areas which is my business development coaching business and my acting career. For me, I feel that any more than that is just too much.

However after my very challenging time last year I did make the decision that I’m going to build a team and I’m on with that already. It’s so wonderful to be able to delegate tasks while I get on with other work where I can add more value…

It is easy to get caught up in work when you enjoy it, so one thing that I’m doing is making a concerted effort for us to have our evening meal about 6-6.30pm. That makes me take a break and unless it’s something urgent or I’m off to acting class or a rehearsal I’ll often finish for the day.

What does make this work better is really my main business development/life lessons of recent years:


The more I implement these, the easier it is to let of unnecessary tasks, streamline the business and – have more work-life balance! 🙂

Happy New Year!

    Joy Healey - January 6, 2015

    Hi Una,

    Well focus and specificity are things I should work on. I do “stick” with things. Probably too much.

    Perhaps one day I’ll find that elusive team – not had much success so far.

    I seem to be coping with adding in some “balance” type distractions in my life, although the result is that I go to bed with tasks unfinished from the “to-do” list – like blog commenting, which is now running a day late.

    Certainly if I had family or someone to look after there would be more incentive for “balance”.

    Perhaps a dog is the answer? There, you can have another laugh 🙂

    Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year, Joy

      Una Doyle - January 7, 2015

      Ooh I’d love a dog! Great idea.

        Joy Healey - January 7, 2015

        Me too – but with great dogs comes great responsibility so I’m having to restrain myself at the moment 🙁

Stephanie Nissen - January 5, 2015

Work Life Balance is a strong movement. I have a client who also encourages WLB through her real estate company. The importance of having a strong mind, healthy body, and thriving spirit are essential to really enjoy our lives!

donna merrill - January 5, 2015

Hi Joy,

Balance is the key to success! The video of Jeff Walker says is all and I thank you for including that important message from a great man.

There’s a term that people often use in the market place “Work Smart, Not Hard.” I live by that one.

I did have to learn it the hard way. I became overwhelmed because I, like you had so many things going on at once. My off line business, properties I had to take care of that I invested in, family, and so on.

But my journey with blogging and internet marketing started to become my first priority. Now I have sold most of my properties because it wasn’t like the old days when I purchased them. The cost and taxes were outweighing my profits. I only have two I’m holding on to right now because they are still making a profit and I hired a manager to take care of them. Phew…

I do spend some time with my off line business, but not as much. I only will take on a few clients a week.

I also moved to a more convenient home…The other one was too big and too much to take care of. Because I’m an entrepreneur, I decided to live a more quiet life near the beach..so I did.

The thing is, the more busy I got, the more I decided to take breaks. I needed time for me. It did take a while to train that stubborn brain of mine to stop thinking of work, but walking on the beach, or through a forest these days helped me focus.

OK..I’m writing a novella here, so I’ll stop! Balance is such an important issue for me that I’m passionate about. So, go to yoga, read fluffy books, get together with your friends and take time out!

Blessings to you,


    Joy Healey - January 6, 2015

    Hi Donna

    I’m glad you enjoyed Jeff’s video. I listened to it more than once I enjoyed it so much. Got something new out of it every time.

    Working smart not hard is definitely my next challenge, I have tried a bit of out-sourcing but it wasn’t terribly successful. Think I’m too much of a control freak! However one thing I happily have done for me is my housework LOL Yes it’s a luxury, but worth every penny.

    I used to live by the beach and would love to go back there. Just a bit nervous about breaking all ties with my friends who live nearby, and starting up again. Walking on the beach would be much more appealing than walking round here.

    Perhaps, as you say, getting to such a peak of being busy is why I’ve decided I need some me-time. Plans are in hand. Watch this space.

    Thanks for your thoughts, Joy

Mialei - January 5, 2015

Hi, Joy,

I agree with Ryan. Workaholic tendencies develop over time because the workload is enormous. As the workload decreases, the mind believes the work must expand to fill the same number of hours. I had to learn to fill hours productively without staring at the computer all the time. My other responsibilities were screaming at me.

Work life balance is a pendulum. The swing between the two extremes cannot be stopped without losing all of your momentum.

I try to manage this battle across an entire month. Week to week, life is always out of balance.

I look forward to your updates as the year progresses.

— Mialei

    Joy Healey - January 6, 2015

    Hi Mialei

    That’s a great idea – to aim for balance over a month. Although this month it might have to be a two month balance period as I know that January will be a particularly busy month for me. So, I should start to plan some nice things for February to reward myself when January is over.

    Yes, that’s right about work expanding to fill the number of hours. My (late) partner always used to say “He’d wait until I’d finished my work”, but of course I never did finish it. Looking back I should have finished it earlier. Just another of my mistakes along the way!

    I’ll check in every so often with a work life balance update post. That’ll keep me on my toes!

    Thanks for some great ideas.


James McAllister - January 6, 2015

I feel for you Joy, I really do.

2014 has been the busiest year for me yet and there were quite a few 18 hour+ days, especially last month. I love it all but like you said it’s not exactly great for us to work that often.

I hate to say it (sorry Mom and Dad!) but I really wish I had hard working parents like yours. My mother does work a lot but she doesn’t enjoy it and she’s underpaid. She deals with it and I have no idea why.

I’m the one trying to teach them about money when traditionally it’s the other way around. I still don’t think they’re satisfied with all of the work I’d do – they’d rather me be sitting in an office taking orders.

But in a way I’m glad to have experienced what it’s like being really poor, because it motivated me that it wasn’t how I wanted to live the rest of my life. I wouldn’t be such a hard worker if my parents hadn’t showed me the results of being lazy.

I’m going to be outsourcing and automating a lot more this year which should give me more time to relax without sacrificing income. Like you I’m a workaholic so I’ll be happy either way.

Looking forward to improving my work life balance this year.

– James

    Joy Healey - January 7, 2015

    Hi James

    I’m glad you’re busy and enjoying it, like I do. That’s a good point you make, about enjoying it either way whether you out-source and enjoy relaxing or DIY and enjoy working. That really is balance. I’ll be interested to hear how your out-sourcing goes. I suppose part of my problem with out-sourcing is that I wouldn’t know quite what to out-source.

    Shame your Mum doesn’t enjoy her work. Putting the other side of the coin I sometimes feel guilty that I worked too hard when my sons were little and should have done less, so I could spend more time with them.

    It’s funny that they’d rather you be sitting in an office – it must be a parental instinct. It’s what MY very entrepreneurial parents wanted me to do (hence the computer programming) and then when MY two sons decided they were going the entrepreneurial route, I had to really hold myself in check from advising them to “get a steady job”.

    Me of all people hah! I guess it’s because I know how hard it is to be self-employed and wanted to protect them. (Of course they both did exactly what they wanted to, anyway – as did I!)

    Good luck with your out-sourcing, and your plans for the rest of the year.


kelli - January 6, 2015

Hi Joy
Wow..you certainly do have a lot on your plate! I think people that work for themselves run into this problem. There is always something we can be doing, and not having a set schedule like an employee means we tend to go back to our work at random points throughout the day and that can easily consume us. If I am honest with myself, my balance might be a bit skewed towards too much ‘life’ and not enough work 🙂

I see you had the intention of getting more success with your online endeavors to maybe scale back on the offline businesses, and if I could give one piece of advice based on my own experience, I would say to work on putting a lot of good energy around that intention. For example, you might visualize for a couple of minutes a day what it would be like to just have your online work and nothing else,etc… When we do things like that, we start to see results and our reality starts shifting to reflect more of what we want, and not what we don’t.

Great post!

    Joy Healey - January 7, 2015

    Hi Kelli

    Thanks, that’s a great suggestion, and at only a couple of minutes a day I’ve no excuse for not doing it.

    My memory not being the best, I’ve decided my trigger to do it will be making the first drink of the morning to set me up in a positive mood for the rest of the day. For the avoidance of doubt that’s not an alcoholic drink LOL

    And, to be sure, I’ve put a post-it note on the mug cupboard 🙂

    Thanks for a great tip!



Fabrizio - January 6, 2015

Hey Joy, lovely post and just at the right time too. I think if you’ve become a workaholic in your business, then you’re certainly passionate about it, I think that’s a good thing, however long-term that’s not so good I think, because eventually you just end up burning flat out.

My work life balance in 2014 was almost none existent. I was working on my art business during the day, and my blog during the evenings and into the night hours. I was even working on weekends on most occasions, if that’s called freeing yourself then I’m clearly in the wrong line of business as an entrepreneur. So this year I’m making some big changes, work less, a lot less…

In 2015 I’m taking a completely new approach, I’m reducing the number of hours to work on my art business during the day, and reducing the time to work on my blog to just 4 hours per evening, no more than that. No more working on weekends either. We live so darn close to the beach here in Cornwall, UK, I really want to spend a lot more time living the free life, surfing and spending more time with the family this year, especially whilst my kids are so still very young 🙂

Loved Ryan’s last words in his comment “Keep on spending time away from work and you’ll start to get more addicted when you make letting go a habit” I’ll certainly give that one a try this year.

I think the key to having a great work life balance is being more organised, scheduling your work load properly and having good time management skills, these are certainly some of the things I need to work on myself, especially the time management part lol.

All the best for 2015 Joy, thanks again for a wonderful post 🙂

    Joy Healey - January 7, 2015

    Hi Fabrizio

    Glad you like the post, and can relate to what I’m feeling.

    I certainly spend far more than 4hrs each evening on my online business and so far trying to cut down hasn’t gone terribly well as I’ve ended up with a backlog of things I wanted to do and haven’t achieved.

    Anyway – let’s persevere! I have a heavy load with my offline business in January so that’s slowing me down too.

    What I need to improve also are my people management skills as I have to spend a lot of time chasing other people for things they agreed to do, and haven’t!

    Anyway – here’s to a better 2015 for us all,

    Enjoy the rest of your week, Joy

Sandy - January 8, 2015

Joy, Entrepreneurial spirit, I notice many are exposed during young age and develop over the years. Just like your goodself. It is becoming a part of your familiar life to build a business, if not a successful one. I admit I envy entrepreneurs with such growing up opportunities. Of course, they think and work hard. Some very very hard. As such, nothing comes free. You put in the huge efforts to reap your fruits, which is fair.

Back to your ever increasing plate. Boy, you do have many biz and growing! Kudos!
Have fun with all your CHALLENGES, which I know you do.

Opportunities are everywhere, especially when you are a ‘trained opportunist’. You can ‘smell’ them when they are near! Just know that you don’t have to ‘grab’ every single one. Sometimes letting go of some ‘too good to let go’ opportunities is OK.

Take care Joy. You are awesome!

    Joy Healey - January 9, 2015

    Hi Sandy,

    My younger entrepreneurial days certainly were great fun. Yes it does seem to run in the family. My Mum’s parents were in business too.

    The plates are really spinning out of control this week, and things are seeming more like challenges than fun. But hopefully by the end of the month a few things will have settled down.

    Yes you’re right – what I need to learn is when to say “NO” and let go of something in order to concentrate on finishing what I started. In fact that just has to be my focus for the next couple of weeks as I have a very big job in my offline business.

    Thanks for your words of encouragement, Sandy.

    Catch up soon, Joy

      Sandy - January 9, 2015

      Thanks for playing along with me Joy. It’s my privilege. Just glad to share. Goodday! 🙂

Mark - January 8, 2015

What a fabulous article Joy!

And hey if keeping busy being an active entrepreneur
is what puts and keeps a smile on your face, I say go for it!

I truly admire your work ethic! If i had it to the same degree you have,
there’s really no telling how much further along I’d be!LOL!

Jeff Walker totally rocks doesn’t he? I’ve been on
one of his list for years!

The guy totally knows his stuff! I’ll keep following and implementing what I’m learning from entrepreneurs such as yourself and I know I’m
gonna be fine!

Thanks so much for offering us a glimpse, inside the life and times of
an accomplished serial entrepreneur!

    Joy Healey - January 10, 2015

    Hi Mark

    Glad you enjoyed Jeff’s video -it was so well-timed it would have been a shame not to share it, and he has so much to teach us all.

    Well, after a rather challenging week (to say the least) I’m pleased to end Friday with a few successes – in a few of the different strands mentioned above. So there is light at the end of the tunnel and I caught a few plates!

    Have a great weekend. Joy

ChrisM - January 9, 2015

The hardest part about an internet business is the countless hours it takes to do the marketing. SEO hours seem endless. You need to market on social media too.

Owner CEL Financial Services

    Joy Healey - January 10, 2015

    Yes, you’re right. Writing the blog and making relevant comments is the best part. I’m not a great fan of marketing.

    Have a great weekend. Joy

Atish Ranjan - January 11, 2015

There should be a good work life balance in our day to day life because family needs our time too and we should take care of our health as well.

Mostly online entrepreneurs forget their health and work day and night but this is not a good way to work because health is the biggest wealth.

Loved the post Joy.

    Joy Healey - January 11, 2015

    Hi Atish

    You’re right of course – and I’m trying to improve my work-life balance. The other great wealth it’s easy to neglect is family. You think you’re working hard to provide a better lifestyle for them, but in fact they may prefer your company and their existing life. Very difficult balancing act!

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend, Joy

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