Many people in the workforce, from business owners to employees, struggle with achieving and maintaining a comfortable work/life balance. Many leaders in their industry work long hours to reach their business goals. Unfortunately, this often means that executives feel they have to put family activities and personal hobbies on hold to work eighty-plus-hour weeks.
While burning the midnight oil is often necessary to start a successful business from scratch, it should not be the modus operandi throughout the rest of your life. In fact, many executives hope to reap the rewards of their hard work by being able to take time off to head out to a baseball game or watch their daughter’s piano recital. But, if they are stuck in their old approaches to their work, these simple pleasures don’t often materialize.
How to Achieve Work/Life Balance as an Executive
Business owners and executives struggle more than most with trying to find the right balance between work and life. They may have to take customer calls during vacation or step out of their daughter’s graduation speech to prevent a catastrophe back at the office. They may be answering emails and until 2 AM, only to get up at 6 Am to start their day. This is likely not the work/life ratio of which they dreamed.
It can get better. Here are our strategies to help you get some balance back into your life:
Write down your goals
A work/life balance means different things to various people. Some executives would prefer to integrate work into their life, allowing them to go on working vacations or only answer emails at specific times throughout their day. Others would like to be able to disconnect from work for a period of time to go sailing, spend time with their kids, or just read a book on the back porch without disturbance. Still other business owners may want to be able to retire from heading up their company in five years time.
Write down what work/life balance means to you and define your goals. This will allow you to plan out and take steps to achieve those goals.
Surround yourself with people you trust
When you trust your employees to do their jobs, there is no need for you to micromanage or worry about their performance. Employing trustworthy and skilled staff can help prevent emergencies from calling you back into the workplace.
Empower others to make important decisions
Executives have a wide variety of responsibilities. Some of these are vital to their job – such as talks with the board or company-wide decisions, and others are simple “to do” tasks that may not require executive-level attention.
Delineate what an actual executive-level responsibility is and what functions you can assign to an assistant or another employee. What can happen (especially with business owners) is that you try to hold all of the reins in the company at all times. This is exhausting and can feel impossible. That’s why it’s okay to hand the reins over to the qualified people you employ and allow them to get on with their jobs.
Make conscious choices about technology outside of the office
Staying constantly plugged-in can drain people and make them feel as if they are “always working” – even when they are at home. Decide what technology you want to deal with, and at what time. This may mean that you need a business phone and a separate personal phone. It could be that you need to actively log out of your work email after working from home.
By deciding for yourself what technology you want to surround yourself with and creating personal policies regarding your accessibility when you’re at home, you will be able to disconnect as needed.
Reconfigure your priorities
Often, we put work ahead of everything else. This can make you feel like you can never get away from work, making achieving balance appear as an impossible dream.
It’s time to take a look at your priorities in life and find the places which you are willing to compromise. It may be that you’d rather be at home at 5 PM, but you would also like to put in a few hours of work after you get the kids to bed. Perhaps your passion lies with your work, and you want to keep that as your priority. It could be that you want to prioritize getting in a vacation twice a year.
Setting your priorities and sticking to them can turn the “daily grind” into a daily pleasure as you move toward accomplishing your personal and business goals.
Finding the right work/life balance can feel very personal. However, to achieve this goal, you need supportive and skilled people helping you make it happen. We offer executive coaching here at the Business Success Consulting Group. Take advantage of our services and achieve the balance you’ve been chasing!