Before I begin, I must tell the truth!! The day I finished writing this blog I did not meditate, there was no yoga, and for lunch I ate cold leftovers from the fridge while watching educational How-To videos online. It’s all about balance y’all – sometimes it happens and sometimes you just go with it.
Begin blog post…
In the early years of my entrepreneurial life I was a bit of a workaholic. The first thing I did when I woke up was turn on my computer, and the last thing I did at night was turn off the computer.
Yep, I was a typical new businesswoman entrepreneur with so much passion and excitement for what I was doing that it was hard not to spend EVERY WAKING MOMENT dedicated to the business’s launch and success.
Being single at the time and naturally introverted, made staying home alone all the time easy to do. I was totally having fun on some level.
I had a lot to learn and new clients to please, so I was full speed ahead!
Eventually though, my need for human connection, physical activity, a balanced diet, and laughter kicked in.
I took a quick glance at my life, and…
- I could see that I was working all of these hours and not really producing a proportional amount of great work.
- My diet consisted of turkey and cheese roll-ups or a pizza slice from the restaurant below my apartment.
- My exercise was taking Charly for about a 20-minute walk, read – NOT ENOUGH!
- And of course, I definitely wasn’t meeting anyone except for new potential vendors with whom I might eventually work.
As a first time entrepreneur, I was slowly realizing that I needed to start caring for myself in a different way.
It took time over the years to truly develop a complete work-life balance, and being an entrepreneur definitely requires a bit of dedication along with flexibility.
“There are days where it is absolutely necessary to buckle down and work long into the night, and there are times when it can wait. And there are days when skipping out on a work day to go down to wine country with your girls is highly necessary, and there are times when you have to say no and keep focused and committed to your own success.”
Learning to decipher when to do which is all part of the balancing act!
I’ve built two successful service-oriented businesses and have pretty much honed what brings me work-life balance. And because I tend toward the workaholic side, I set myself some guidelines to follow about not working too much.
So here are my guidelines:
- Create a morning routine that is all about getting connected with YOU – meditate, exercise, and eat well!
My morning consists of: a 30-minute meditation (this happens 75% of the time), lemon water, 20 minutes of yoga, a good hearty breakfast, and watering the plants. If I still have some time left before 9 a.m., I go to the craft room and work on some art projects! I’m a morning person, so getting up at 6 or 7 works well for me.
No matter what time of the day you wake though, create a ritual that is non-negotiable to get your day started right!
- Set a schedule for your work hours, and allow yourself to be flexible when needed.
The flexibility part is the most important here. I work with a lot of entrepreneurial women out there who feel guilty about not spending time with their friends and family when they are working, and feel guilty that they are not working when spending time with their friends and family.
Set your work hours. And then if it’s one of those days where you just feel like hanging out with your friends, give yourself that permission, or you feel like skipping the party to write a blog, give yourself that permission.
Make it a conscience choice to deviate from your schedule and check-in with your body to make sure that is the right answer. Only commit to either if you can be fully present for the chosen activity.
- No email checking before your work hours begin or after you’ve closed up shop.
My workday starts at 9 a.m. and I do not allow myself to check my email before then, not even on my phone. I know from experience that if I do, I’ll encounter some email that sucks me in and BOOM, my work day has started completely unintentionally.
Even if I try to go back to the meditation, yoga, breakfast, etc. my working brain has already been activated and there’s no going back.
So, do whatever you need, in order to keep all electronics far from you unconscious hands who have a mind of their own!
- Plan your meals and allow yourself AT LEAST 30 minutes for lunch, away from the computer.
If I am not intentional about planning and creating meals, I’ll end up eating incomplete meals all day long.
I use an app called MealBoard to help me plan out 3 – 4 meals at a time, so that I always have something delicious and healthy on hand. Eating well midday keeps me focused and moving forward with that fun energy I love to have.
Step away from the computer when it’s lunch time! I know this can be difficult at times… This is how my lunch break goes EVERYDAY:
- Prepare lunch
- Grab plate and head back to the office
- Tell myself I should be going outside instead
- Repeat instruction until I either give in to the computer or actually go outside.
- Create a method to stay present and in your flow throughout your work day.
Of all the guidelines, this is the most important one. Staying present and in that space where I feel super connected to myself allows the work to simply flow out of me. I am ON FIRE with moving my business forward, and I feel so jazzed and excited and happy.
When I notice that overwhelmed feeling arising or I’m all over the place with a million open tabs, etc., I simply take a pause, start moving my body, breath, and get more in tune with my confidence. I also take a step outside to get some sunshine or practice a few handstands.
Whatever you do to get into you flow start do it as soon as you realize you are straying.
Maintaining balance in your life is ultimately what it’s all about. Most entrepreneurs are exactly THAT because they are highly passionate about what they are doing. This can often lead to dedicating an exorbitant amount of time to that passion. So, in an effort to nurture the body, mind, and soul, it is important to keep work-passion in balance with life-passion so they can all happily co-exist!
I’d love to hear how you work toward your work-life balance. Please share in the comments below.
And if you know a fellow entrepreneur with workaholic tendencies, then please share this with them.