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!