“The brain is a wonderful organ. It starts the moment you get up and doesn’t stop until you get into the office.” – Robert Frost
I’d be the first to admit, that when you run your own business (in our case two businesses) one can easily slip down the path of working endless hours and forget about what my real priorities should be. It’s so easy to stop noticing the small joys life can bring and turn yourself into a workaholic.
When you’re a small business owner, in many cases you have to wear a lot of hats – a boss, administrator, marketer, blog post writer, supplier…you name it.
To avoid the slippery path of overworking yourself and focusing on business only, we have to ask ourselves what our values are.
Where does the family stand in this whole equation? Or “me” time? Our friends, things we enjoy doing, our hobbies.
How about health? If we have a successful business, but it ruins our health, everything is pointless, isn’t it? Admit it, when we’re busy at work, eating healthy or finding time for a break are things we more often than not neglect.
About one-third of the general population in industrialized countries self-identify as being a workaholic.
Research shows that the human body only has a finite amount of energy that it can provide during the day. Even when we properly manage that energy, it will still eventually go away. That’s why longer working days are so devastating on the workaholic.
With that in mind, workaholics shouldn’t be mistaken for people, who love their job and go the extra mile to finish a project.
We’re not going to go deep into details why people become workaholics – whether it’s to avoid certain problems in their personal life, to fill a void in it, or simply because they’re afraid of being dispensable.
We’ll just give you 5 ideas how to balance your life and not turn into a workaholic. Because, after all, being a workaholic is not a virtue.
First of all, and you have probably heard it many times:
Set your boundaries
Put a limit on how many hours a day you work; How many tasks you put on your calendar; Whether everything you do is necessary to do, and if it is- can’t you delegate it to somebody else? It’s all about prioritizing and, as we say in another blog post: Automate. Delegate. Outsource. Then you will suddenly have some extra hours to spend on things, other than work, work, work.
Eat food. Real food.
Make sure you don’t forget to eat quality food during the day. If you fall into the famine and feast (and feast being totaling the fridge in the evening, every evening, because all day long your food has been coffee and a bag of chips), you are on the path to ruin your health and…hmm… possibly your figure. (No, the Twinkie you had for lunch yesterday is not considered real food 😉.
Something else – set aside time to eat and enjoy food. Don’t eat while you are working. This is the easiest way to overeat. Stress and anxiety can easily contribute to us overeating, and whether it is courtesy of an over demanding boss or you own your business and have to think about a million solutions to work-related problems, set-aside-time-to-eat-properly. Whether you go outside and sit on a bench during your lunch hours or to your favorite diner, your brain and your body will be thankful for that.
When you leave work and go home – don’t immediately open the laptop.
Make sure you turn off the internet for a while. Don’t bring your work home. Try to disconnect from everything work-related. In the beginning it might be difficult, too many of us are addicted to being online all the time .We worry so much that we might miss something important, but when we turn into a habit to not be online for even two hours after work, it is quite liberating. Your brain is able to rest, your eyes are able to rest, not to mention your poor spine from sitting endless hours.
Wondering what to do if you are not glued to your laptop or tablet?
Be active. Go outside. Look at things.
You don’t necessarily have to go to the gym. Even a simple walk around the neighborhood or spending some time in nature is a huge stress relief. This is the perfect way to disconnect from your work-related worries, not to mention the overall impact on your body. Simply looking around when we are surrounded by nature is a big stress relief. Noticing that beautiful yellow flower, the blue sky, the birds chirping will not only relax you, but put a smile on your face (well, at least that’s how it works for me J).
Speaking of walks, which I love to do with my husband as often as we can:
Make sure you spend enough time with family and friends.
After all, we have to remember why we do what we do and focus on the important things in life. It doesn’t necessarily mean having to go to parties, or restaurants, or even the cinema, although such activities help in more than one way. Simply sitting next to your significant other, your child or friend and talking to them, really listening to what they have to say, showing them you care, will be appreciated a lot and help not to alienate you from your loved ones. I’ve spoken to lots of young adults with busy parents and one thing they have in common is saying they wished they spent more time with their parents, while they were growing up. Something to think about.
In conclusion: If you feel like you are turning into a workaholic, it is probably time to reassess your values and goals in life. Our life is short and we don’t have a do-over. Again, as we said before- being a workaholic is not a virtue.
Talk to me. How do you manage to balance work with life? What do you find difficult? Where do you see progress? I’d be happy to chat J.