How to reclaim control of your life

Today more than ever people across the globe are trying to find that elusive work / life balance. Balancing your career and your personal life isn’t easy and a lot of people aren’t even sure how to divide their time.

Here is the low down on achieving a sound work / life balance and why it’s important to reclaim control of your life.

Telana, people seem to be really struggling with their work life balance these days. Entrepreneurs in particular seem to battle to juggle their work and home life. To put things in perspective, what does work / life balance mean and is it really something for which we need to be striving or is it just a fad?

Work Life Balance ScalesAnswer:
We hear a lot about this elusive concept of work/life balance, and yet the way we understand the concept can actually create more stress than is needed. Just the word “balance” donates that things should be equal and steady– that we need to be spending as much time on our home and personal life, as on our work. Yet in today’s work world, we are being required and expected to work more and more hours, and to deliver on pressing deadlines.

I often wonder if we focus more on quantity, than quality.

Dr Linda Friedland is well known author on the topic of balance, and one of her most useful concepts is challenging the traditional view of ‘balance’ (I explain her idea here). We’ve been conditioned to believe that balance is the ultimate, and that it involves having certain amounts of time and energy to focus on each compartment of our life at the same time.

A far more useful approach is to acknowledge that life today is just not like that- we have spurts when the scale needs to tip towards work to meet a deadline, and then it should swing the other way and we spend time with family and friends, and to rest and recoup.

So work / life balance is a fad in that it’s a term that is thrown around in order for us to feel we’re doing the right thing.

However, if we truly stop to explore what the concept means to us, and then find a way of making its meaning a part of our life style, we can experience many benefits and find a sense of peace in our priorities.

What are the effects of a skewed life balance in terms of business or work?

If we focus all our energy and time on work, and neglect to make the time for our personal life, we can become “workaholics” and experience stress and even burnout. If we are constantly focusing on just our next deadline, to the extent that we ignore the rest of us (because after all, we are so much more than just a Manager, or Entrepreneur, or deadline-meeter) then we may experience life in a limited way.

We tend to see only what we are looking at, and will miss opportunities for inspiration to be more creative in work, for opportunities to learn ways to increase productivity, or to expand our thinking that would give us the edge.

What are the effects of a skewed life balance in terms of your personal life?

Likewise, if we are focused solely on our life outside of work, we can lose a sense of purpose or achievement that work and meeting deadlines can bring.

We can also experience a different type of burn-out, in that if we are constantly focusing on our personal development, for example, we can not create the time to test out our learnings and integrate our new level of development.

Too much attention on personal life can leave our work life unattended- and any area of our life that we don’t manage and own, someone else will.

Balancing work and lifeQuestion:
What would your advice be to entrepreneurs looking to get their work / life balance on track again?

Ways for entrepreneurs to get a sense of work/life balance is to start with understanding what this concept means to them personally. What areas of their life needs attention and when?  Then it’s about giving themselves permission to shift their time, energy and attention as it is needed.

Entrepreneurs can become so focused and wrapped up in the creation of their business that they neglect to see the other areas of their lives that need attention at certain times. There are times when we need to work long hours to meet a deadline, and then it is important to make time after meeting that deadline to rest and recoup, and to look at personal issues that may need attention or development.

Also for Entrepreneurs to perform at their peak, they will need to play and work, to rest and to take action. It’s not an either/or process, it’s about both/and.  For example, getting exercise and eating healthily will give them the vitality and energy to think more creatively and be more efficient with their tasks.

So often it is about acknowledging that resting or exercise are as important as work- as these activities give them what they need to perform at their best. A client of mine even when as far as to see rest as a type of “work activity”, as the value he got from resting when needed was so great.

Also, time with family and friends can lead to feeling supported and inspired and can take away from the loneliness many entrepreneurs experience.

so my advice would be to become aware of how you see the different compartments of your life, and look for the both/and approach that gives the important areas the amount of time and attention they need, at the point in time that it is most needed.


About the Author:

Our Coach, Telana SimpsonTelana is a dynamic, transformational Personal Coach and Blogger who specializes in communicating and relating.  She helps people have no regrets in life by having conversations that count.   Follow her on Twitter or her podcast show, Let’s Talk Communication.