I'm a business owner with no time for a personal life. Networking, social media, and traditional business responsibilities seem to take up all of my time. When I'm not engaged in these activities, I'm thinking about them. I seldom have time or energy for events with family or friends. I'm afraid that if I don't participate in all of these activities my business will begin to falter. I'm starting to feel completely out of control and overwhelmed. Please help!
-- Overwhelmed Entrepreneur
Dear Overwhelmed Entrepreneur,
Many business owners find business ownership represents absolute freedom and absolute bondage: free to have you dream job, compelled to do it all the time.
I am happy to tell you there is a way out, but it requires commitment to balance and holistic - mind, body, spirit - health instead of a sole commitment to your business. It requires a willingness to sacrifice the connection that could have been made, the dollar that could have been earned, and the work excellence that could have been accomplished.
It sounds like you already understand that as you become more exclusively devoted to your business, you will suffer. And as you suffer, your business will suffer. That is an awareness that many people don't have. It also means that you are no longer willing to sacrifice you personal life for your business.
Commitment to holistic health and organization are the critical factors in achieving balance. First, get an idea of what "personal life," "family or friends," and "these activities" mean to you. Actually make a list. What does a personal life, for you, include? What family and friends are you referring to? What kinds of activities do you feel you are missing out on? Next get an idea of how many or what kind of activities you would like to participate in each week. Approximately how many blocks of time would you like to spend on personal life each week? How many hours are in each block of time? Some blocks of time can be one hour, some four. Make them work for you. Try scheduling a minimum of 10 hours per week. It can include exercise, reading stories to your children, reading a book, going out to dinner with your husband, or meeting with a friend for coffee. Consider regular time blocks that make your fit personal time routinely into your schedule.
Now consider your work week. Basically, you are going to be putting book ends on your days, establishing start and stop times. Again consider blocking out your days in a fairly routine fashion throughout the week, working around and/or leaving room for personal life. The blocks will represent the type of what you will be doing, but not necessarily the specific work. This will require a fair amount of fore-thought, organization, planning, and commitment. Every time you think you can't afford to fit in personal activities, ask yourself if you can afford not to. Be flexible, think creatively, and be committed.
Once you have a fairly solid prototype for a week which includes both work and personal time, you can use it to create a monthly calendar. Like exercise, you will need to stick to it in order for it to work. Similarly, when you stick to it, you will feel great about your accomplishment!
About Author / Additional Info:
Lauren Trecosta is a Licensed Professional Counselor offering virtual Individual, Relationship and Group counseling via SKYPE webcam and teleconferencing. In-office counseling is available on a limited basis.