I couldn’t talk. My heart swelled to the point of bursting. Tears threatened to spill.
I lay there, staring at the overhead light, as the surgeon finished his job.
The memories of fear, pain, and suspense slipped away. None of that mattered now.
Our baby boy was healthy.
He was our miracle boy. Entering the world via emergency C-section. Wrong way up and with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck.
Born after nine months of testing and worry. Born after more miscarriages than I cared to count.
And yet our boy was finally here.
Several hours later, I lay in the hospital bed. Our perfect baby nestled in my arms. I squeezed him tight. And I remembered…
… I remembered why I do the work I do.
… I remembered what matters most in my life.
… I remembered that nothing is more important than time spent with our two precious children.
Six Months Later
Fast forward six months and I’ve forgotten.
I snap at the kids when they interrupt my work.
I’m frustrated by the constant demands of a hungry baby.
I struggle to find one-on-one time with my daughter who now takes a back-seat to her baby brother.
Running a business and having a life is hard. And I know I’m not alone in thinking this. Many online entrepreneurs have publicly shared their personal stories of burnout.
Like Derek Halpern from Social Triggers who lost his way (and found it again) after working long hours on his blog and business. Or Chris Guillebeau who approached breakdown – leading him to re-focus on connections and relationships.
So, when I found myself juggling to balance work and family – I knew something had to change.
Work Life Balance Strategies
I decided to work no more than 15 hours a week. I was determined to be successful in business and have a life.
Eventually, I uncovered some helpful strategies. I’m not going to lie to you. Balancing work and life is an ongoing project. But it’s much easier than it used to be.
If you struggle with the same things, keep reading. In this article, I share seven strategies I use to manage my life and work.
1. Remember Your Why
This first strategy is key. It’s where I recommend you start.
Figure out why you’re doing what you’re doing. A huge part of my why is spending time with my children. Each day I’m thankful to have escaped the nine-to-five.
What matters most to you?
I recommend writing your motivations down, so you can easily refer to them. I keep mine on my phone.
When you find yourself struggling. Wondering why you even bother. Or on the verge of giving up. Read your list and remember why you’re pursuing this path.
Your “why” is your north star. It guides you through the crazy world of working from home.
This brings me to strategy number two.
2. Set Meaningful Goals
Once you’re clear on your why, you want to set meaningful goals.
There’s power in having meaningful goals. When you do work aligned with who you are and what you want, life becomes easier. You see bigger results. Faster.
Most people set the wrong goals.
Goals that look like this: “Get 1000 email subscribers” or “Earn $100,000 by the end of the year” or “Launch my course and get 100 new students”.
These kinds of goals don’t work. Well… the financial one might… for a while. But money won’t motivate you forever.
What does work is pursuing goals that matter.
3. Prioritize What Works
The third strategy is about spending time on the right things. Prioritize the 20% of activities that drive 80% of your results.
Of all the work life balance strategies, this is my favorite. It’s a quick and easy way to skyrocket your productivity.
You want to have a life outside of work. So, you need to focus on the top few tasks. The ones that create massive outcomes.
Tweaking your website design, researching the latest shiny object, catching up on social media. These tasks don’t make you money.
But writing your book, creating your next offering, or executing effective marketing strategies do.
Identify the tasks that bring in the money. And do them first.
4. Eliminate What Doesn’t Matter
Once you know which activities move the needle, you can go even further. Delete the stuff that doesn’t matter. Get rid of it altogether.
Great peace comes from doing less. When you do less you open space in your life. Space to do what really matters.
My kids have taught me the power of slowing down and living in the moment. Though I confess, I struggle in this area.
Some things I’ve eliminated are:
- Watching most TV (though I still binge watch English shows on Amazon Prime);
- Social media;
- Extra kids’ activities (I keep it to just one or two at any time);
- Social commitments I don’t enjoy;
- Networking in online groups (this doesn’t feel real to me and takes up way too much time).
Your list will look different. But I’m willing to bet there are some distractions in your life you can get rid of.
5. Set Boundaries (For Work And Play)
Strategy number 5 was a game changer for me. It went a long way towards eliminating working mom guilt.
Boundaries work because they create rituals in your life. They help you plan your day how you want it to be.
For example, I have a boundary between work and family time. By 3pm each day I put my laptop away and don’t open it again until the next day. From 3pm until I fall asleep is dedicated to family.
This simple rule has:
- Created certainty in my kids’ lives.
- Created certainty in my life.
- Helped me remain present when I’m with my family.
6. Get Help
Okay, I Have to be honest here. Strategy #6 doesn’t come naturally to me. When it comes to work, I’m a loner. I also happen to be somewhat introverted.
But seeking community has had a huge impact on my business. I get more done and I feel less alone.
We all need help. Whether it’s help at home (someone to watch the kids, cook meals, clean the house) or help in our business (outsourcing tasks that take up too much time).
I started by partnering with people to write my books. I have a list of 50+ books I want to publish. Books I know will help people. But I can’t do it on my own.
There also comes a time in your business when you can’t grow unless you hire help. No man is an island. Embrace this concept, and focus on your passion. Do more of what you love and what you do best.
7. Be Kind To Yourself
This last strategy is so important. Yet it’s the most overlooked.
Nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes.
I still snap at my kids when I’m tired. Make bad decisions. Or fail to give my best.
These things are inevitable. What matters is what you do when they happen.
Instead of beating yourself up, forgive yourself. Acknowledge that it’s okay to make mistakes. And look forward to the next moment.
Life is an amazing journey. We’re all surrounded by opportunities – in business and life.
Try these work life balance strategies out and start building a business and life you love. I know you can do this.
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