“I don’t look at work as work and play as play; to me they are the same thing. If a new business opportunity or project doesn’t excite me and if it’s not something with which I can have a lot of seriously creative fun, then I’d rather pass on it and move right along. Life’s too short to waste your time doing things that don’t light your fire.”
This quote from Richard Branson is a rather powerful take on the life-work balance debate.
Finding the ultimate work-lifestyle balance is like the holygrail for any entrepreneur, CEO or everyday person grinding the 9-to-5. Technology now means we’re accessible 24 hours a day and with high unemployment, the pressure of job security leads to longer working hours and a somewhat sliding work-life balance. And if you’re a start-up, pfft, forget it. You’ll be working around the clock and spending every last waking minute working on your new and exciting project.
In fact, anecdotal evidence suggests that more than 90% of the Australian workforce work a 50+-hour work week. But how do we ensure that we run like a well-oiled machine so we can sustain high levels of productivity and is the concept of a great work-life balance just one big delusion?
Getting the balance right is good for your health, your relationships, your mental and your overall physical wellbeing.
Here are five tips to help you get on the path to a good work-life balance.
Disconnect: In most cases, technology has us checking our work emails in bed at night and on weekends. Don’t be a slave to technology and learn to disconnect. It’s really important to put up boundaries and personal policies and these might include only checking emails twice a day at certain times during the work day, and never once you leave the office. In fact, make it a daily routine to put your phone on silent and in the drawer every day for at least one hour. It’s important to disconnect so you can reconnect and give your mind a chance to wind down and rejuvenate.
Turn your Passion Into Your Work: You hear this one often, but achieving it is challenging. JDL Strategies’ founder Julio De Laffitte definitely falls into this category. He, and his business are one and the same. There is no such thing as work for him because he lives and breathes and LOVES what he does. You’ll find this is a common denominator amongst most entrepreneurs and successful business leaders. Find what lights your fire and put some thought into how you can turn that into a business or ongoing work.
Meditate: The art of meditation is difficult to achieve and takes a lot of practise. The benefits of meditation are vast and wide. It claims to increase brain function, aid better sleep patterns, increase immunity and fight disease amongst many more. Taking a minimum of 15 minutes each morning to meditate before work is the first step in a better balance all-round. You’ll be surprised at how many of our Unstoppable entrepreneurs make meditation part of their daily ritual.
Exercise: This one is a no-brainer and if you’re not exercising regularly then you need to start – now. The benefits of regular exercise transcend to the boardroom and into the living room of the family home. Start your day with a minimum of a 30-minute walk to clear your brain and get fresh oxygenated blood pumping around the body to ensure more productivity in the office and more time for loved ones outside of the work day.
Be Ruthless With Your Schedule: This is possibly the most important of all. If you’re working in excess of 60 hours a week you probably have a personal assistant who manages your diary and meetings. Get him or her to set aside personal time every single week. Block it out in your diary like it is an important meeting and refuse to alter it for anyone. One of the biggest mistakes we make is rescheduling private and personal time for colleagues or business. Be ruthless with this and put some boundaries around your own personal time to spend with family and friends and resist the urge to bend this rule for anyone.