Work/Life Balance is Impossible

Work/Life Balance is Impossible

Work/life balance is impossible as an entrepreneur, especially once you have a family.

The concept of balance means things are equally weighted on opposite sides of a scale; work-time and life-time in some symbiotic, mirrored existence; turn one on, turn the other off.

When was the last time you left the office and didn’t think about your company until you got back to the office the next day?

If the answer to that question is anything other than “never,” do yourself (and your employees) a favor and sell your company now, because you obviously have lost the passionate spark that is required to be successful as an entrepreneur.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating a Spartan or Puritanical life of all work and no play.

Not only is it vitally important that you get away from the dizzying roller coaster of the day-to-day grind of being an entrepreneur and recharge, but to be a well-rounded person, a meaningful life outside of work is necessary.

In order to be a successful entrepreneur at both the office and at home, balance cannot be the goal.

You will inevitably fall short in one or more likely, both places. What you have to focus on is Work/Life Integration, and here are 3 ways you can do this.

  1. Leverage Your Calendar

    Work-Life Integration is about leveraging one of the major benefits of owning your own business (calendar flexibility) and mitigating one of the down sides (sheer number of hours). It is about leveraging the quality of time, not necessarily just the quantity.
    There are many nights (more than my wife would like to see) that I barely get home in time to see my daughter before she goes to bed. On the other hand, I’m able to travel with the family when my wife has to work out of town and take more frequent trips to visit her family who all live out of town, because I’m able to work remotely. This flexibility also allows for me to go with my daughter to appointments and—when she’s bit older—games and activities. Being there for your family’s important events must remain a priority, even if your business world is crumbling around you. You can always work after they all go to bed.

  2. Communicate Openly

    Consistent and constant open communication is extremely important. During rough business patches that require additional TLC, my wife is very supportive and encourages me to take the extra time that is needed, because she knows on the other side of the storm are clear(er) skies and a more open calendar.
    This can only happen if I’m effectively communicating the ups and downs, lefts and rights on a consistent basis, as well as mutual expectations and boundaries. Every weekend, we map out the upcoming week to identify important events, late nights, and late-late nights to make sure we are on the same page.

  3. Be Present

    We live in a world of distraction and multi-tasking, but one personality almost every entrepreneur has is the ability to hyper-focus on an idea, concept, or interaction. I know I am not as good at using this skill set at home as I am at work, but it’s something I am working on and have gotten much better. When you are engaged in a family activity, be fully-engaged. Don’t be haphazardly responding to emails or taking phone calls, otherwise the time will be wasted being some-what productive working and some-what productive with your family will lead to everyone being frustrated. Stay focused and be present…no matter how hard it may be mentally.

We all must stop trying to force this balancing act and understand that our work-life and our home-life are not mutually exclusive elements living independently of each other, but must be integrated and co-exist together as harmoniously as possible.

 

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