Smart moves: An entrepreneur’s guide to work-life balance
Everyone is searching for that mythical balance between work and life, but does it exist? Is there a magical sweet spot between the two that will take all your woes away? I believe there is but, not if you think of work and life as two separate entities, divided by impenetrable borders.
Several studies and researchers have stressed on the importance of Work-Life Balance. I can personally vouch for how important it is to find some semblance of work-life harmony.
My wife and I are entrepreneurs which means we can never entirely cut-off from work. Which is why I have a checklist of sorts that helps us get back on-track whenever one of us forgets that we need to take a breather from time to time. Here are some things that help us strike a balance between work and play.
Setting and sticking to priorities
While it is okay to do multiple things in tandem, it’s also important to ensure most of our efforts are focused on priority items. We have been quite clear about our priorities right from the beginning of CashKaro’ 6-year journey. As a result, we’ve always set goals for our personal and professional growth. Once we’ve zeroed in on a list of priorities, we focus on them like our life depends on it.
This is something we try to inculcate within our team as well. This helps you keep an eye on the prize while leaving enough room to adapt to the changes when required.
Regular exercise and healthy eating
Dedicated time for exercise and healthy eating can have positive effects on a person’s mental and physical health. A lot of people confuse this with taking things to the extreme. Exercise and diets don’t have to be impossibly hard – they need to be sustainable and consistent.
A relaxed mind and body help you to stay calm in the worst of the situations. This lets you analyse the situation better and arrive at better solutions. So, it’s important to introduce some exercise and diet rules in your life. You can even start small with something as simple as jogging regularly or cutting out aerated drinks from your diet.
Invest in yourself
Taking out some time for yourself must be a priority, no matter how hectic your schedule is. Find time for interests that will have a positive impact on your mental equilibrium. Whether it’s a hobby or an activity you always wanted to try out, pick something.
For instance, this year, I started taking violin lessons and it is something that has helped me unwind and relax. Just 15 -20 minutes on the violin helps me calm my mind. Find what works for you and ensure you make it part of your routine.
This may seem like an additional thing to do but including some leisurely reading is like exercise for your mind. I personally find that non-fiction and self-help books really add value. The aim is to read something that will enhance your life and give ideas on where you can improve. Reading a few pages every day will have a major impact on your mental and spiritual health. I feel it’s a good idea to read right before you go to bed because you then have something to mull over as you sleep.
Indulge in some guilty pleasures
Doing things, you love can ease the stress of responsibilities and increase your productivity as well. Every once in a while, you should treat yourself! You can travel, go clubbing, crash a party, shop your heart out or indulge in your favourite food.
Doing these things gives you a sense of being rewarded for hard work and you’ll soon notice that you enjoy work more as well. This way, when you return, your mind is ready to jump back into some work because it knows that in the end the effort and time will reap positive results.
Manage your time effectively
Plan your tasks, not just in your professional life but in your personal life as well. For this, you can adopt Mark Forster’s ‘Do it Tomorrow’ approach.
Procrastination is something every human is prone to, but this approach helps you to prioritise your work using ‘Closed Lists’. By establishing boundaries, you can prioritise important tasks and segregate them according to need and urgency.
Delegate work smartly
One basic rule that helps strike a work-life balance is to stop believing that doing everything yourself will always get your work done right. This makes delegation an important part of planning your work smartly.
For this you need to have a clear understanding of the tasks that can be delegated and whom can you delegate your work to. Unless you give your team members the freedom to do things on their own you will always end up approving everything. Choose your people and let them run with things – every detail may not be to your liking, but things will get done faster.
Protect yourself from decision fatigue
Being a decision maker also comes with several setbacks. Decision fatigue is one of those. To protect yourself from decision fatigue, try to invest the first few hours of the day in making decisions that you know are important. Avoid deciding minor things like what to eat for breakfast, what to wear to work etc. You may not realise how draining these small decisions can be. So, keep your decision-making power reserved for important decisions only.
Declutter your physical space
Decluttering is something that has both physical as well as psychological benefits. If your surroundings are clear and your mind is not crowded with too many thoughts at a time, it will be easier for you to achieve your goals. While you can always break-free from your office cubicle, think of this decluttering as an essential element that moves you close to striking that work-life balance.
Help your teams become more organised
No matter how sorted you are in your approach towards work, how your teams function plays an important role in a day. If they are unorganised you will pay the price for it. Therefore, it’s important to help them streamline things. Lay down processes for them for your own peace of mind. Make formats for reports, set benchmarks for meeting flows – so that no one needs to spend time figuring out what they’re looking at or why they are having another meeting that could have been an email.
We encourage our teams to employ the above tips in their own ways as well. This is the reason we have recently altered our annual leave allotment policy and shift timings too. Because it isn’t about the amount of time spent in office but, the way that time is spent.
So, while there is no magic formula for finding work-life balance, re-organising your schedule till you find a suitable balance for yourself, definitely helps.