With the constant hustle and bustle of life and the constant demands of work, it can be difficult to set aside some time for yourself and your friends. Bloomberg reports that the pandemic has almost “obliterated work-life balance.” And a study done by Paychex, the payroll company, found that 42% of employees with children are burnt out trying to balance out their careers with childcare. You may be feeling like the only realistic way to experience a social life, work a full eight-hour day, allocate some family time, and some alone time is by picking and choosing which areas you want to focus on. However, that shouldn’t be the case. I’m a firm believer that it’s possible to have it all, it just requires dedication, strategic time allocation, and perseverance.
Leading By Example: How We Achieve Balance at Vonazon
One of the ways we implement work-life balance at my company is by offering fun team bonding exercises. For example, recently, we told our team to stop working at 1:00 p.m., catered lunch for our entire staff, and surprised them with a scavenger hunt. Our HR manager and Marketing Manager had already done the work ahead of time by separating our staff into teams, putting together about 20 different quests, and downloading an online application with a points system. We dedicated two full hours for the event, on company time, and the winners received prizes. These are the type of events that cultivate relationships between employees and help facilitate collaboration and communication.
What Your Company Can Do
Creating a workplace environment that takes into consideration a stable work-life balance doesn’t necessarily have to involve spending a lot of money. There are simple ways that you can implement an environment which considers employee leisure.
· Offering employees with post-work/life resources and articles
· Offering flexible work schedules and remote working days
· Encouraging employees to use their PTO and breaks
· Trying your best to lead by example
The F-E-E-L-S Framework
Perhaps the hardest one to accomplish is leading by example. Work can be stressful, especially for business owners. However, it is possible to accomplish a harmonious balance. I like to use a method called the F-E-E-L-S Framework. Here’s how it works:
F––Find your fuel: What motivates you to work long hours? For many of us, including myself, it’s my family. But what motivates you to do your best each and every day can be completely different from what motivates me. Find your reason for getting up every morning and use it to propel through the good and bad times. I’m glad I did.
E––Engage and learn: I’m constantly amazed at how much I’m able to learn from my wife and kids. Even now, as my children are adults, they push me to be the best that I can be. And when I fall short, they have no problem telling me. Sharing your successes, frustrations, and ventures with the people who support you the most can be a wonderful thing. Having those intimate, educational conversations can give you different perspectives, and help you step outside your daily job routine.
E––Eliminate distance: If possible, minimize your commute as much as possible. Living close to your office allows you to quickly get home for those little moments that let you de-stress. The less time it takes you to get from point A to point B, the easier it will be to maintain your balance and avoid unnecessary time on the road.
L––Learn to trust: Don’t be afraid to lean on others and trust your employees, team, and department. Hiring the right people that you trust can allow you to delegate your workload and gain support in the day-to-day operations of your business. Choosing people who truly embody your mission will help lighten your load and will also provide you with the peace of mind you need to leave work at the office so you can truly be present in those little moments that matter. If you create a culture that promotes trust, communication, and collaboration, you’ll be able to delegate with confidence when things get overwhelming, and you’ll have more peace of mind to step back when you need to.
S––Schedule selfcare: Fatigue, stress and burnout are three of the most common and dangerous things for entrepreneurs, leaders, and managers. Make time for yourself and start doing the things that you love. Over the years, I’ve developed a passion for woodworking. This hobby allows me to redirect my energy away from work related matters. Consider picking up a hobby that you are interested by! Your mental and physical health can play a huge role in how well you perform at work.
Breakdown Your T.I.M.E
No entrepreneur is superhuman. We all fall short. It’s just a part of the process. Asking others for help does not make you weak, in fact, that sort of selflessness is what makes you a true leader. The best way to manage your schedule on a weekly basis is by utilizing the T.I.M.E. approach.
T––Take Inventory: Look at your priorities and figure out how much time you’re spending on each. Review your calendar and start taking note of your duties. You’ll be surprised to learn where the majority of your time really goes. If you feel like there’s a misalignment—reallocate your time to wherever you see fit.
I––Implement Change: Set aside blocks of time based on family, friends, health, and work—whichever areas you feel could use the most attention. They can be things like spending one on one time with a significant other, playing with your children, exercising, hobbies, or a simple lunch date with friends.
M––Make a Commitment: Realize that there will be setbacks, and at times you may lose your motivation. And that’s okay. I’ve been there. One way to push through these times is to make a commitment to yourself and then share it with others. When we share goals with others, we feel a bigger responsibility to achieve them.
E––Enjoy and Adjust: At the end of each month, take stock of all the positive moments you’ve experienced by reprioritizing your time and highlighting your accomplishments. Write them down and take note of how you felt. Did you feel more optimistic? Energized? Hopeful? Taking note of even the tiniest changes that helped you achieve your ideal balance will help you make a positive change for your future.
Putting some time aside for yourself is no easy task, most of the time, busy people tend to put themselves last. The excuse, “I don’t have enough time” has become far too familiar. However, realizing this is the first step to changing your life. You must push yourself to make the time or else you will continue not finding the time. After all, achieving a harmonious work-life balance is what we all strive for at the end of the day.