Why Women entrepreneurs should focus on maintaining a work–life balanceVidya Mamallan - President of Human Resources and Administration at Electronic Payments Systems
Today, the very nature of business means that the lines between "work" and "life" are blurred. We are equipped with efficient technology and other tools to make our work easier. However, it seems that the workweek just keeps getting longer. Technology has morphed the thin line that exists between professional and personal lives. This is especially true in the case of entrepreneurship, which is not a typical nine to five job. The entrepreneurial journey is challenging to navigate and, woman entrepreneurs are still a minority. However, more and more women are quitting their jobs to turn entrepreneurs and are facing a new set of challenges.
Most entrepreneurs believe that it is selfish to put yourself before your business; particularly when it is in the fledgling stages. Unfortunately, their dedication to work quickly turns into a 24/7 grind. When they prioritize their work over other important aspects of life such as family or friends, it can lead to a burnout. This is where “work – life” balance; an essential tool to be productive and successful comes in.
The Biggest Hindrance to Attaining Work Life Balance – You!
Achieving a successful work – life balance as an entrepreneur, often seems like one of life’s biggest mysteries. Entrepreneurs benefit both professionally and personally from starting up. However, failing to find a balance between work and life leads to an unhealthy lifestyle that has severe repercussions. Challenges evolve from the imbalance between the demands of your environment and your ability to cope with these demands.
While balancing your professional and personal life is a challenge for everyone; this is especially true in the case of women entrepreneurs, who are playing pivotal family roles. Women are still largely responsible for the domestic chores and are expected to juggle commitments to their family and the pressures of work effortlessly. When women have families and a career, they are working more. The key to strike a balance is to understand and accept that doing everything by yourself all the time is not humanly possible and create a support system at home and work. As Indra Nooyi – Former CEO of Pepsico mentioned, one has to cope, as ‘having it all’ is just an illusion that comes with painful sacrifices and trade-offs.
Attempting to create artificial boundaries between your work and your personal life causes stress and frustration on both sides. On the other hand, not creating boundaries and instead, mixing your life and work, can also make you inefficient. The key is to achieve a balance that works for you, your business and your family and not beat yourself up if you drop a few balls. There will be certain days when you will have to focus on your business above all else and there will also be days when you will have to focus on your personal life. Going with the flow to do what feels right at the moment without feeling guilty, will help create more balance in your life. Essentially, picturing your life with different parts that cannot be divided equally in half; will give you a more realistic representation.
Knowing Your Values
Balanceforbetter should be one’s mantra in life to take optimum charge of your responsibilities. Having a dream is great, but what matters is how you give it a realistic shape. To setup an empire of your own, the leader in you needs to have a profound vision, streamlining all tasks, growing your support network, taking action and being decisive. Taking simple steps with humility keeps one grounded and helps you understand the minutest of things occurring around you.
I have always been a true believer of transparency, flexibility and harmony. These virtues enable a person to become a leader in her own domain. This was the path I undertook, and I strongly believe in this. Everyone is an entrepreneur in their own areas of expertise. It is left to you on what choices you want to make. The journey to build a professional organisation was definitely an uphill climb, but the determination to achieve that height is the key to success.
It is essential to identify the factors that cause conflicts and induces stress, and to recognise that your personal goals are as indispensable as your business goals. For instance,maybe you are always postponing a family holiday due to pressures at work. This will ultimately cause frustration and affect your professional life as well. Putting yourself and your family first in certain situations does not mean that you are neglecting your business. However, this should hold true the other way around as well. Your work is a big part of your life and has to be gratifying and enjoyable; more importantly, it should do more than just pay the bills. Your work also gives you an opportunity to learn and grow as a person.
Entrepreneurs have the unique advantage of being able to shape their own identities and responsibilities. Women entrepreneurs should also step up to alleviate the dearth of female role models, mentors and communities that can guide other new entrepreneurs. This will help develop a strong foundation within the entrepreneurial ecosystem and give a true picture of entrepreneurship to them.