Last week I spent time offline at a remote 'restorative retreat' in New South Wales and it really hit me just how much 'work' has gone into growing my business the last few years.
While away I was reflecting on some key intentions I set in January this year.
I am super committed to self-care, health and fullfillment in all areas of life (Primary Foods anyone?) And so in January I had so much fun planning grandiose 2015 goals of 'non-work related' activities. The last few years have been very work-focused as I got my business up and running and I was craving new experiences.
'2015 is my year of LIVING in all areas' I declared!
But, as I lay in restorative poses for most of last week I reflected on having been so clear on my intentions in January but the difficulty in actually fully playing that out as the year has progressed.
On one hand I want even more time for me, more time for family, friends, yoga, sleep-ins...
And on the other hand I love my business baby so much that I could work 24/7 birthing the endlesss stream of ideas I want to share with the world.
Can you relate?
Do you sometimes feel like you have two parts to you aswell? One as an entrepreneur building a thriving business and another as you; the friend, the parent, the carer, the partner…every day you?
For most of us, building our own business and becoming an entrepreneur is a life we work hard to achieve. Sometimes it can become all consuming, and you find yourself thinking, talking, breathing about your “business baby”.
I will never be one to pretend the road to success as a coach is all rainbows and lollipops! The first few years can be hard-going and truth be told, most of us love that when it is all shiny and new. But if we are not careful, too much focus on any one area of life can be detrimental.
To maintain a healthy, balanced life, it's important for you to schedule fun, mindlessness and improving your life balance which in turn will sharpen your business brain. Here are my 7 top tips for keeping your life in balance while staying connected to the purpose-driven maven that you are.
1. Let it go
Do you worry that if you’re not working 24 hours a day, your business will suffer? It sounds so obvious, but is easier to fall into than it sounds. Dropping this fear will naturally bring more productivity and a sense of satisfaction as you will enjoy your work. Quite often I send my private clients home to 'do nothing' for a week - burnout is the quickest ticket to a boring and unsuccessful business. And last week while away at the retreat, I scheduled social media posts, and course work for my clients ahead of time and nobody even noticed I was gone!
2. Book in down time
It is important to schedule time for activities that allow you to recharge and add value to your life. Some ideas include a walk at lunchtime, a regular chai tea with dynamic friends and reserved time for family activities. These scheduled times will give you fun times to look forward too and as you’ve booked them in, you’ll be more motivated to keep your plans. After last weeks retreat I set up a new little 'Restorative Nook' in my apartment and now have restorative time booked in between the end of the working day and family evenings.
3. Technology holiday
Having access to so many communication devices is awesome as an entrepreneur but we can become too attached! Allocate a day (Sunday is my fav) or time period and switch off your phone completely – you will be amazed at how much you can get done without this added distraction and how present you can be in other areas of your life instead. You need to separate work and life, which starts with freeing your mind from everything to take time for yourself. When hanging in the bush retreat last week it was so freeing to never pick up the phone to 'check' on anything - and guess what - the world didn't even fall apart!
4. Become a student
Expand your knowledge whilst firing up your brains pathways by learning something new. When we take on a role as coach or teacher it is also important to take time to be the student. Take a short course or weekend retreat like I did, read a new business magazine, try learning a musical instrument or enrol in an online program. Scheduling this time for you ensures time away from the computer and as you’ve made a commitment to participate, this will ensure you shut off and remain present. I learnt some wonderful new yoga practises, spiritual concepts and made beautiful new friends, all in just a few days of stepping into being the student.
5. Health and wellness
Being an entrepreneur, your business relies on your alertness to capture opportunities and ability to focus. Make sure that you are putting yourself first by eating well, getting enough sleep and exercising. Schedule workouts in your diary and make sure you fit it in. If not, you’ll most likely regret it when you start seeing a negative impact. While I eat pretty cleanly by anyones standards, it did amaze me how full of energy I felt after the retreat after eating super duper clean and nourishing food for only a few days. My brain feels so clear this week as a result!
Remind yourself that those things are critical to thinking, creating and performing at your best, and make sure you stand firm to your commitments to all three.
Often we find much of our time bogged down by tasks we don’t have the expertise including bookkeeping, marketing and admin work, but for many your budget doesn’t allow you to hire full-time help. Odesk is a great resource for outsourcing small business tasks with no commitment and can free you up to do tasks you love.
Consider also delegating more of your “life” duties including childcare, cleaning and grocery shopping to your partner. Having that extra bit of help will give you more time to spend with your family and friends and reconnect. It took me a while to convince my husband that we needed a housekeeper and a chef but hey, he now loves it more than I do and our weekends are spent together not cleaning!
7. You time
There’s a good chance you’re a Type-A and overwork yourself when you are building a business. (I make that guess as your ambition has no doubt driven you to pursue a new career) But to avoid overworking and burn out, schedule in down time just like you do meetings and appointments. Ideally, 30 minutes each day should be dedicated to slowing down to allow your brain to relax and ideas to flow. Try meditating, going for a walk (leave your headphones), sitting with a cup of tea or just simply being still. For me it's often as simple as picking up an Almond Milk chai in the middle of the day and sipping it by the beach between clients - a 20 minute 'me time' break can feel like I've had hours to myself!
Let me know in the comments below how you implement Self-Care while being the super-driven business owner you are!