I’ll be the first to admit that my own personal work-life balance could use a little TLC and it’s something I am always and forever working towards. Between being a wife, mother of 4 children, 2 still at home that I homeschool and the 2 oldest being adults, and a grandma of 2 little boys; I have a lot of responsibilities to tackle here, just as I am sure you can also relate to.
To get just a tad personal here for a minute, I’ll be 37 next month and the truth be told adulting is no walk in the park sometimes. Without getting into full details here I do struggle with anxiety and I have a lot of things that have happened in my childhood that have negatively affected my adulthood and probably the main cause of my anxiety. However, I don’t let this define who I am, and most of all; I try my darn best to keep it out of my work. So if you yourself also have anxiety then you know a work-life balance can feel like a huge hurdle, but know that you are not alone and you can find ways to make a healthy balance.
I here so many other business owners say in the past they have hired someone to help them with graph design or web design and the project just went on for months, sometimes years, and in some cases it never got finished. In these cases, it was all because who they hired did not have a work-life balance and instead just made up every excess in the book on why they are behind and why things are not getting done. Most of these excuses revolved around their children. And honestly, I don’t feel that using your kid is sick or I just had a newborn, as justifiable reasons for not doing your job as a business owner. Now I am not saying this is the case 100% of the time because I know many women who have gone into labor extremely early, like myself, and that’s not something that anyone can plan for. And of course if your child is in the hospital and really sick then that’s totally understandable.
My point is that being a mother, wife or grandmother and a business owner, does not give you an excess not to be able to run your business smoothly and effectively. Finding that balance is necessary not only to keep your sanity but to also make your clients happy and keep them as a lasting client who you can build that trusting relationship with.
Word of mouth for every business is almost always a key factor in being successful. We are rewarded with all of the happy clients that we are able to help achieve their goals. I don’t know about you but for me, knowing that I am part of something in someone else’s success or solving a problem, is really the overall, calm in my inter storm, when I am feeling the stress and overwhelmed with life. It makes me feel as though I am worth it! And because I know that feeling, I know you yourself can have that same feeling.
As a mom of teenagers, I have learned that they are perfectly capable of helping out around the house and doing their own laundry. I use to do all the cleaning, cooking, and laundry in my home but since owning my business I have learned that I can’t do it all and I have limits. My girls are really helpful as they take turns doing dishes on weekdays and then on the weekends are when my husband and I do them. Cooking is also something that I do not do a ton of anymore. In fact, my family goes out to eat about 3-4 days a week. It can be a little pricy depending on where we go but the payoff of relaxing as a family and my sanity is well worth it. I really enjoy places like Bob Evens, Applebee’s, Texas Roadhouse, Firehouse Subs, and good pizza just to name a few.
Before being a business owner I was really a neat freak about my home and living spaces. I would spend hours picking up after the kids and cleaning the house. I think part of that was because we always rented and I was worried about what someone might think of me and I never wanted to give a landlord a reason to evict us and have my children be homeless. Silly thoughts I know. Now I own my home and I have about 3000 sq feet under roof. Not exactly a small home but not huge either. I have had to learn to really relax a lot and let my home be lived in! I have dog hair on my floor pretty much 24/7 thanks to my love for my dogs. I clean when I know it really needs it now and not just because of what others may think.
I think is the key to setting your limits. Let go of some of those things you can. Rather that means outsourcing some things in your business, or hiring a cleaning company, or giving more responsibly to others who should be helping anyway.
Know how many clients you can take on or work with at the same time or within a month. If you’re a wedding photographer and you’re doing double weddings in one weekend then maybe it’s time to up those prices and takes only one wedding in a weekend. Or maybe you need help with editing photos. It’s okay to let go and allow someone else to help you especially if it will have a positive impact on both your personal life and business.
When I first started this business I was so guilty of responding to my client emails 24/7. I would be walking around the mall with my family or having fun at Bush Gardens and still on my phone, working. My husband and children were so open about how they felt neglected and that it was like I wasn’t even present. It was truly an eye-opener for me. Luckily, my husband as an amazing listener, and a good problem solver. So, I sat down with him and explained why I felt I needed to respond but he was able to make me see the real issue with what I was doing.
Having a business that a work from home business is probably the toughest work-life balance issue you will find. And that’s because it’s not like you can just leave your work and come home when your work is at home. Not to mention with the way technology is so the norm nowadays. It’s so easy to get an email on our phones and just open it right up. I know have set hours of mostly 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday to Friday with the exception of appointments for those who have to work with me after 5:00 pm, and for new inquires.
When I feel like that balance of my personal and work life is missing or lacking, I like to look at the positive areas in both that I already have to let myself know that it’s okay. It’s okay that I am not perfect and as long as I am well aware that there are some areas that need improvement then that means I care! I look back at all the ways I have already crushed some of my goals and how I did it. Reflecting on the positive and not the negative also helps me stop feeling so overwhelmed.
Lastly, please don’t forget to pamper yourself and celebrate your accomplishments! Go get your hair done or go shopping and do something that makes you happy and relatives some of the stress. For me, I love to go away for just a weekend with my husband. It helps me stay grounded as a person, and it helps grow our bound. And in turn, it reminds me of why I work so hard and need to get away sometimes. I want nothing but the best life I can give my family and that means giving them not only contributing the family financially but also giving them my best self!