The work/life balance has become an incredibly important discussion as it’s integral to a person’s livelihood as well as their overall happiness. Studies have shown that separating oneself from work and restricting work hours are some effective ways of enforcing a proper balance between work and personal life. Other reports claim that establishing priorities, both at work and at home, is the best means to maintain this balance.
This is a subject that has gradually risen over the last few decades as technology and communications have steadily increased. Emails, cell phones, and smartphones have slowly changed the landscape of what’s “personal,” and what’s “business.” While long hours are necessary for certain types of businesses, it’s never an ideal long-term strategy for a business, and has some very simple – but easy to implement – solutions.
Causes Are Subtle
The separation of work and home can sometimes be easier said than done, especially for small businesses and startups. Workers in the infant and young stages value every client as vital to their success (and with good reason). Especially in a home-based business, the lines between business and home can become blurred.
Frequently, personal cell phones and home numbers become an extension of company business, and hence, company time. This builds stress, as the “off” switch to business mindset virtually disappears. Especially for a person with a family, this can cause a serious problem in one’s relationship with their spouse, kids or both. A common complaint among spouses is that even when this worker is present, “they’re not actually there.”
Priorities cannot always be listed in a particular order of importance. A son’s baseball game or daughter’s softball game is important. Deadlines at work are important. Closing a sale or shipping a complex order out on time is a priority. All of these must be examined within their proper frame of reference, and weighed with objective intentions.
How to Fix It!
Hours are not a commodity, and hence should be valued at their appropriate net worth. This applies at work and at home – time spent at home should be centered around activities at home, while workers should focus on business tasks at work. Although sometimes difficult, when this is mastered, it enables a very full and satisfying career and family life.
Restricting business hours can seem counterproductive – as unfinished work can make personal time mentally evasive. Often, owners or professionals who work long hours have difficulty leaving the office, but it’s necessary. Sleep and personal time are both critical to working effectively, and cutting back on either can actually decrease performance. So while there may be less hours of actual working, the productivity for those hours can increase drastically from a professional.
The separation is quite difficult, but another very effective way to counteract the blurred lines is to simply turn off the phone, whether cell or home. However, many small businesses don’t distinguish between a personal or work phone. Hence, obtaining a separate business line with the sole purpose of business can give you something to walk away from (as well as a potential write-off, in some cases). There are many ways to combat the work/life balance, and each scenario is different. What may work for a single working mother may not fit for a family man, and a great solution for a single man with no kids may fail miserably for a married, working mother. Thus, the best way to strike a balance is something only you can decide.
Comment below and let us know what’s worked for you!