On the Importance of Balance in a Small Business Lifestyle
Balance in a small business lifestyle can often go conspicuously missing, especially during the Fall, when the change of seasons and the impending rush of the holiday season means that business owners are very likely to get sucked deeper and deeper into their business priorities to the detriment of their other commitments, both to themselves and to their loved ones. While the idea of balance may come off as slightly conceptual, in reality it is not difficult to identify where it comes into play for business owners and when it is being neglected in favor of a lifestyle that is overly weighted in one direction.
Why is balance an important element for small business owners? Balance isn’t only useful in a business context, it is a principle which can help improve anyone’s ability to focus and achieve their goals. When work piles up and a business owner has no choice but to dig in and work longer hours to get it done, they are increasing the weight of one part of their lifestyle, and need to balance it out on the other end through stress management, proper nutrition and rest. Conversely, if a business owner begins to neglect the duties they owe to their business in pursuit of other goals, they can lose their focus and move backwards against progress that they made when they were more consciously engaged with the work that they were doing.
How can you identify an imbalanced lifestyle? Usually, there will be obvious signs if your lifestyle is not properly balanced when it comes to your business. When you are working too hard without giving yourself a chance to recharge, the side effects will be high levels of stress leading to irritability, distractibility and poor organization, which in turn contributes to more of the above. If you are not working hard enough, the means that either your employees are being forced to pick up the slack and may show signs of being overworked, or there are duties being neglected that will more often than not appear in your earnings statements. You may have already perceived an imbalance in your lifestyle, but are putting off doing anything about it because of a feeling that there is no time to spend fixing things.
What can you do to improve your feelings of balance? The first thing that you must do in order to regain a sense of balance in your lifestyle is to diagnose what you are not doing enough of for yourself. If the problem is that you are working too hard, then step back and identify why that is the case. What could you do to streamline your processes and make things easier for yourself? Are you doing work that your employees should be doing? Why is it that you cannot get everything you need to handle taken care of within the confines of a normal work day? If you are simply working hard because that is what needs to happen to get your business to the next stage in its growth, then recognize some ways that you can combat your stress when you are not working so that you don’t burn yourself out. Running a business is a marathon, not a sprint, and while it may seem like you have enough energy to keep pushing yourself indefinitely, the reality is that unless you balance your efforts it is likely you will burn out both your energy and your enthusiasm for what you are doing. If you are not doing enough for your business, then you must also identify why that is the case in order to fix it. It could be because you are distracted by a competing passion, in which case you must recognize that one flame feeds another and only by embracing your duties to both your business and your other interests will you be able to fuel both going forward.
Photo Credit to Murray Barnes on Flickr