Like many of you reading this, I run a business that I am very passionate about and that I want to be successful.
The problem is that my personality is all or none, so much so that this year, I got too focused and I forgot to eat healthy, play with my kids, etc.
As a result, my health began to suffer because I was spending so much time at the computer, writing, working with clients, managing my team, etc. So it wasn’t really surprising that at my yearly checkup my doctor gave me a grave warning.
“Tierra, you need to change my lifestyle immediately.”
Not only had I gained too much weight, but I also had vitamin deficiencies, a lowered immune system, borderline pre-diabetes, high cholesterol, chronic sinusitis, allergies, and more.
Was I really jeopardizing my health for success? The same success that I would never get to enjoy if I didn’t start finding balance…
I knew something had to change… but reading a million “How to Meditate” articles were just not working.
So I took a different approach to work-life balance. I approached it just like I approach my clients who come to me to implement marketing strategies, I created a plan, which turned into therapy, which transformed into a life-changing journey.
Here are the questions I had to ask myself:
Question #1: What is Work-Life Balance?
First, I needed to define what work-life balance was. We all hear about it, but what does a genuinely balanced life look like? It’s not just about working for a certain number of hours a day and then stopping. It’s about having a real balance between different areas of your life that are important to you.
According to Wikipedia, Work–life balance is a concept including proper prioritizing between “work” (career and ambition) and “lifestyle” (health, pleasure, leisure, family and spiritual development/meditation).
According to this definition, from a business perspective, there are six categories of work/life balance:
- Mental Health/Spirituality
Seemed pretty straight forward… but what did each of those categories mean to me?
Question #2: What Does Work-Life Balance Look Like For You?
Next, I tried to define each of the categories above for me. To help I turned to other’s who seemed to have figured it out. Two of my favorite books that helped me see how other entrepreneurs approached work-life balance was Thrive and I Know How She Does It.
In the end, although each book inspired me and gave me much to think about, I realized that they were someone else’s definition of balance.
So, I asked myself, what does work-life balance look like in your life. Here’s what it looked like:
- Business and brand that represents my true passions in life. (clients, team members, partnerships, and projects I truly love)
- Consistent business growth quarter after quarter (web traffic, social media traffic, audience engagement, leads, profit, etc)
- Healthy business systems and financial reporting
- Personal brand success (becoming a thought leader, name recognition, press opportunities, etc)
- Diet that works for me including delicious, healthy foods available throughout the day
- Hiking/Cycling at least 3 times per week
- Yoga/stretching to increase my flexibility.
- Monthly massage for circulation due to sitting at a desk all day.
- Spending time with friends outside of my family
- Date night and dinner at least once per week]
- Weekly hair/nail appointments
Leisure (aka laziness!!)
- Netflix and chill time. (I know some entrepreneurs claim they never watch TV, but I enjoy it in moderation)
- Reading of fictional books
- Yearly travel to somewhere new
- Kid free nights for hubby and me
- Helping with homework daily
- Reading to/tucking kids in bed
- Tech free family time
- Family day every Saturday or Sunday
- Being present at all family extracurriculars
- Daily quiet time in nature (meditation or just peace)
- Positive thinking and mantras
- Exploration of personal spiritual beliefs
Question #3: What In Your Life Can You Outsource?
Once I finished defining what each category meant to me, I realized something… there was no way I was going to be able to have work-life balance if I didn’t outsource/delegate some things.
So I wrote a list of all the things that I should outsource, that would prevent me from having the balance needed to live a healthy and fulfilled life if I did them myself.
Everyone’s list will be different, but here’s what my outsource list looked like:
- Cleaning + Laundry
- Accounting/Bookkeeping/Financial Planning
- Shopping, Meal Prep, and Cooking
- Project Management
There are many affordable tools, apps, freelancers and businesses that can help you can outsource these tasks if needed. Some of my favorite include UpWork, TaskRabbit, Postmates, Uber Eats, and more. Also, my local grocer, Safeway, does grocery delivery as well.
Question #4: Are You Being Honest?
Next, it’s time to take the strategy from above and put it into action. But to do that, you have to be honest with yourself and understand how your mind and body works.
I can tell you right now a few things about me:
- I’m not productive in the mornings.
- I HATE restrictive diets and extreme exercise routines, but I love healthy food, cycling, and hiking.
- I am an ambivert, so being very social and staying at home, are equally important to me.
- I need lists, plans, and strategies to stay on tasks and be productive
The more honest you are with yourself, the better your chances are of achieving your goals.
Question #5: What Would a Perfectly Balanced Week Look Like?
After all of the research and self-exploration, it was time to put this strategy into action. Below is what my work-life balance would look like in my life if every day were perfect.
Question #6: Do You Give Yourself Permission to Fail?
Life is not perfect, and it doesn’t fit into little squares. For this to work, you have to give yourself permission to fail every day. This strategy isn’t about having a perfect life, it’s about trying to find balance every day, in the midst of chaos.
I couldn’t predict my sister’s kidney surgery, the massive flooding in Louisiana where my family lives, switching accountants right before tax time, the hottest summer in Phoenix ever which meant I couldn’t hike, etc.
Also, my work-life balance is just an example, yours will not look the same.
A few common sense things you should know:
- I’ve been running my business for over five years, and I’ve been freelancing for over a decade. When we started this journey, we could barely afford dinner, let alone outsource anything. So if you are just starting, your work-life balance will look a lot different than this.
- This doesn’t include eating, breaks, and sleeping, etc. So don’t go crazy on me in the comments. It’s just a rough example of how to use the strategy above 🙂
- I have help. My husband works from home as well, so we tag team on the things that pop up in everyday life.
Have I ever made it perfectly through this schedule? No. But every day I try my hardest. Honestly, just having this around reminds me that I should strive daily for balance.
Want to implement a work-life balance strategy? Check out my work-life balance strategy toolkit to help you put together your own strategy.