As busy entrepreneurs, our days can get lost in an overwhelming jumble of deadlines, meetings, and appointments. When you are also a parent you have to also add in practices, rehearsals, games, concerts, projects, assignments, and on and on in a seemingly endless list. How many times have to come to the end of a long and busy day to find yourself exhausted and collapsing on the couch only to realize there are still piles of laundry to be folded, birthday gifts to be purchased, and social media posts still to write? It is in these moments of overwhelm that we ask ourselves “how can I find a better balance between building my business and living my life?”.
The honest truth is, there is no such thing as real balance. Work/life balance is a constant juggling act and one that we work at every day. As you try to prioritize, it’s important to take a step back from the chaos of your daily life and look at the big picture. Identify key areas that are important to you and keep those in focus as you decide what to prioritize each day. Balance looks different for each of us, so there is no one solution. Give yourself some grace and be flexible.
Here are six things that helped me maintain the work/mom/life juggling act.
- Define your purpose. What is important to you? What higher purpose inspires you? I have always said I was going to change the world…I just wasn’t sure how. Today I do that one small business owner and one family at a time. By helping them live their best lives, I know that what I do has a ripple effect on everyone that business owner touches.
My other why for starting my business was to have the freedom & flexibility I desired. This past year there have been so many times that I have had to remind myself that the flexibility I had to care for my kids and still run my business was EXACTLY why I went into business for myself. Going back to my why put things back into perspective.
- Self-assessment. Determine what you need to feel personally fulfilled and happy. Passion gives us energy which contributes to a more positive attitude and drives us to be more productive. What do YOU really need to feel recharged, whole, and happy?
As a giver, I often put everyone else’s needs before my own. And through this pandemic, I have found it harder than ever to pay attention to what I need. As we all are more cautious and staying home, I am not doing many of the things that energize me like networking or traveling or visiting with friends & family. And without any family around to support us, my husband & I have had very a few moments away from our kids over the past two years.I am trying to focus on the things I can do that refuel me, like taking 30 minutes to run on the treadmill while my girls play.
- Be adaptable. Life is full of surprises, and as they say, the best offense is a good defense. Learn which methods work best for you in dealing with unexpected situations and changes. Challenges will become easier to overcome, and daily life will become easier to manage.
For me, this has been embracing video. I had built my business through in-person networking and speaking at live events. Both of these things have completely disappeared over the last 2 years. Last August, I finally said yes to being a guest on my first podcast and started producing weekly videos that I shared on social media, my blog, and a newly created YouTube channel. They have a few hundred views each week and that has helped land me two of my biggest clients to date.
- Embrace process and structure. Creating processes and even basic foundations can help streamline day-to-day tasks and free up time and energy for you to use elsewhere. For example, don’t waste time creating a proposal for each new prospective client, have consistency in how you answer the phone or make a list of how to respond to questions that frequently come in. This will eliminate your need to make the same decisions over and over again.
- Know when to ask for help. We really can’t do it all, and it can be hard to face the truth but it’s a fact. Take your most draining tasks and delegate them to someone who enjoys them. It’s a win-win for everyone. This year I have outsourced my marketing and social media and hired a coach to give me an outside perspective on ways to elevate my client experience.
The help I missed the most during the pandemic was my cleaning lady! I hate cleaning more than just about anything, so I have someone come into deep clean once a month for me. It felt like such an extravagant, unnecessary luxury when I first hired someone to come clean. But instead of scrubbing toilets all Saturday morning, I was able to spend more fun time with my kids. That tradeoff was SO worth it to me.
- Celebrate. Even the smallest success is worth celebrating. Reflect on where you started and what you have accomplished. Be proud of all your progress, and let it inspire you to achieve even more!
Business ownership is hard. You need to celebrate the successes to keep you motivated. Recognize the people who have sacrificed with you, including your family, because there is no point in achieving massive business success if you can’t also experience the things that give you joy along the way.
Use these steps to help you take a step back from the day-to-day whirlwind; to help you assess your path towards happiness and a sense of fulfillment. Empowered Leadership helps businesses find freedom through business coaching, executive coaching, assessments, and training. Stacie is an entrepreneur who helps business leaders balance their time to run an effective business and enjoy their life.