Striking a balance between work and the rest of your life can be challenging. Here’s how to make this goal achievable.by
"Making the most of life" is not a goal that needs much selling. Most of us would readily admit to not living completely fulfilled lives, especially those of us suffering from constant work preoccupation. Customers, cash flow, marketing, staff... let's face it, the demands on an entrepreneur do not always foster a healthy work-life balance.
In fact, the average business owner spends most of his or her day in reactionary mode dealing with day-to-day work challenges that crop up, rather than being proactive about the work they want to do. This is stressful and frustrating because it takes away an individual's sense of purpose, and causes them to lose sight of the pursuits that energized them in the beginning.
Does any of this sound familiar? If you're looking for a little more balance in your life, know this. Finding balance does not necessarily mean working less. Balance is about choice. Doing what fulfills you. That means the freedom to do the work you want to do, rather than the work you have to do. Here's how:
1. Systemize your business. The single most effective way to balance your work world is to develop a strategically-documented Business Manual. This manual should house all of the policies and procedures required to operate your business- from how you manage your customer information to your inventory to your marketing goals. By systemizing your business, you'll finally be able to rest assured that everyone knows how things are supposed to run (i.e. soon they'll be able to answer the questions they've been asking you every day).
2. Delegate everything you can. Delegation needs to become part of your ongoing behaviour. New work will show up on your desk on a regular basis. If you don't need to deal with it, don't. If it is important that it gets done, but someone else can do it, then 9 times out of 10 you should pass it along. If you're not used to delegating, now is the time to begin. Keep the true value of your time firmly in mind and you will more easily be able to decide if you should or should not be handling the next item in your inbox.
3. Of course, the more you delegate, the more you'll need to have competent people following through on your behalf. If you don't have a trusted team in place, set out to build one. Always remember, it's your job to clearly communicate what everyone's roles and responsibilities are and to define your expectations.
4. Finally, in order to sustain your new well-balanced life, you need to be able to trust that your firm is running like a well oiled machine, even when you're on holiday or escaping to the gym mid-day. You can do this by building ‘a culture of continuous improvement', which is created by putting in place systems that foster motivation and growth in your team. Engage your people in the success of your enterprise by sharing your vision and giving everyone a chance to really contribute. And when they do, remember to recognize them.
It may take effort up front, but putting these fundamentals in place will steadily remove the burden of business management from your shoulders and provide you with the life-balance you deserve.
About the Author:
Mark Wardell is President of Wardell Professional Development an advisory group specializing in growth management for owner-managed companies.