The Easy-Breezy Balance Game Between Life and Business

Denise Duffield-Thomas (Business Heroine Magazine)

I get asked how I achieve work-life balance a lot, and I think it’s because I’m a fairly chilled-out person who leads quite a relaxed life.

I know people are curious about how I’ve been able to do that.

Here’s how I achieve work-life balance:

First of all, I think work-life balance only works if you love your life and you love your business because only then does it kind of calibrate itself without thinking too much about it.

I’m a bit wary about saying this because people do want specifics and they want strategies.

But the truth is, I don’t see a huge difference between my work and my life. I float between the two, not exactly effortlessly, but neither of them stress me out and that’s by design.

My philosophy: chillionaire lifestyle

I evaluate everything in my life and business – do I really want to do this?

I don’t chase money for money’s sake and I don’t aspire to buy a lot of stuff.

It’s my aspiration to have a very easy, chilled-out life with little stress. Maximum result with minimum effort.

Some people aspire to that and others don’t. Some people like the adrenaline thrill of working really hard or living life on the edge not knowing where their rent money will come from. Or they think they “need” the motivation, otherwise they’ll become slobs or something.

These days I crave stability. Ease.

When I was growing up, my life was a little bit chaotic; there were lots of ups and downs and we moved all the time.

Now, as an adult, I find I don’t have as high-highs or low-lows. I’m a very stable person by design, and that contributes to my chillionaire vibe and my work-life balance.

Things honestly don’t stress me out that much. It doesn’t mean I’m this Pollyanna person all the time – that is absolutely not true, but I do love my business and I love my life.

I do have a lot of help, and I’ve cultivated some strategies to get rid of the things in my life that stress me out.

So let me share some of my tips:

Create a work environment you love

One, I work from home, and this is really important to me and KEY to my good work-life balance.

Mostly because I don’t have a stressful commute. I don’t have stressful co-workers. I don’t even have a big team to manage because that doesn’t suit me. I keep my team very lean.

It’s pretty much just me in my office, and I love it that way.

So I think one of the secrets is to design a working environment that’s right for you. Some entrepreneurs need to work in a co-working space to have people to talk to, otherwise they go crazy.

If you’re still in a job, and you aspire to become an entrepreneur, maybe it’s time to transition out and go part-time, or change jobs to one that stresses you out less, so you’ve got time for your business on the side.

Either way – ask yourself how you’d most like to work. When you have your work set up the way you like it, you don’t feel as stressed and resentful of your clients.

Choose how you live and work

Do you believe that you can choose your life the way you want it?

You’re allowed to have a work environment that you love.

You’re allowed to have things in your work environment that give you pleasure.

I think your work environment plays a huge part in loving your business, and by extension, your life.

Learn to outsource

Get others to help you achieve your home and life goals, and save your energy for things that you really love.

I used to really be stressed about cleaning and laundry – and it made me resentful that I had to do those chores instead of stuff I really liked.

Now I’ve eliminated that stress altogether. I have a cleaner and a nanny who does light housekeeping. Nobody is paying me to clean my toilet, and I’d rather spend the time doing other stuff.

Work / life balance tension comes when you have too many stressors in your life, so things like negotiating who is cleaning the bath on Saturday morning are no longer stressors for me.

Can’t afford it yet? Trust me, I had a cleaner WAY before I could afford it. I cancelled things like cable and nights out so I could afford my cleaner. Start with a monthly deep clean and upgrade from there.

Want to hire an assistant? It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Start with a few hours a week with the things you hate most (for me, it was answering emails) and work your way up to more hours.

Make time for work & time for life

Resentments come when you don’t allocate time to do the things you want to do.

And how do you do that with kids?

Let’s talk about the nanny thing, right, because when I hear from entrepreneurs who’ve got kids they say, “God it stresses me out when I’m trying to be on my computer and the kids are running around.”  Then they feel guilty because when they’re with their kids, they don’t feel like they’re 100% present anyway.

I’ve tried to combine kids and biz before and I wanted to pull my hair out.

You CAN’T sustainably grow a business if you don’t have dedicated time to do it. Yes, there will be times when you have to type one-handed while you’re nursing the baby but honestly, not carving out dedicated time for work is a recipe for burnout and resentment.

You do need to carve out a specific time and a specific space to do your work; otherwise it is going to be super stressful.

It’s not like you even have a work-life balance because there’s no time for either of those things, they’re all meshed together and it’s incredibly stressful.

If having a business is important to you, you have to carve out the time, whatever that looks like childcare-wise for you and what you can afford right now.

If you can’t afford anything, what can you change?

You’re going to have to pull someone in to help you, whether it’s family, partner, child swap with somebody else, or find the money somehow, otherwise nothing is going to change.

It makes me angry when I hear people say, “Oh well, get up at 4:30 a.m. to do your work.” That’s such a finite, short-term solution. You have a finite amount of energy. It’s not a sustainable solution and seriously – sleep is a precious commodity.

No – talk to your partner and find a way to allocate resources so you can work. For your sanity and for the long term benefit for your family.

It will be worth it.

And sometimes you have to invest the money in child care BEFORE it pays off in your business. I see women so pressured to make money in their business but NO time to actually make it work.

Maybe your husband is saying “Well – when you make money, we’ll get some help for you”.

IT DOESN’T WORK LIKE THAT DUDE.

Maybe you can do it if you are super, super desperate (people have done it before). But if you can afford to get some help, do that because your energy is a finite resource.

Set clear boundaries

Again, look closely at what stresses you out in your life because it can totally impact your work-life balance and how you feel about yourself.

Toxic friendships?

Maybe you have toxic friendships with people that you don’t need to be friends with anymore.

That stuff can really impact the way you feel about your life. If you’re spending your down-time with toxic people, it can feel like your energy is being sucked away.

Protect your energy.

Stressful family?

If you’re constantly spending time with family members who stress you out, it can make you feel like you’re off purpose all of the time.

When you’re off-purpose, it feels like your work/life balance is out of whack.

Start to notice your rough edges

The other thing to do is to look at your rough edges in both of these areas, work and life, these are things that stress you out.

Do you need to have conversations with people about how they’re creating stress in your life?

Whether it’s a partner, someone you work with, or someone who works for you.

As I said, I don’t have a lot of stress in my life, but when things do come up, I try and deal with them before they become huge problems.

If there’s an awkward conversation I need to have with someone in my life, I try and have it before it becomes a bigger problem and I start to feel off center.

How to switch off from business

You might ask me if I switch off from my business, and the truth is – I don’t.

But it doesn’t stress me out either. Those stresses aren’t there; those rough edges aren’t there. I’m not surrounded by toxic people.

A rough edge for me in my business used to be about doing things at the last minute or having to pull all-nighters because I hadn’t done my sales page.

I smoothed out those rough edges, and could then start to spend time in my business all the time without it being a stress for me.

An example of this is that I run a big, successful community as part of my money bootcamp.

There are thousands of women in that group, and I dip in and out of the group all day long.

I do it on my phone, but I don’t have to do it. It’s not a stressor for me and I’m happy to do it. If I’m waiting in line for the movies and no one else needs my attention – I can dip into the group.

There’s no big demarcation between my life and business in that way. I can dip into both of those as and when I like because there aren’t any stressors around either of them.

How to get a better work/life balance today

Here’s what I suggest you do.

Write down everything that stresses you out in your life and business at the moment.

Make a plan

You don’t have to do everything at once.

Maybe pick one or two things this month that you can eliminate, delegate, or find a way to smooth over, so it creates less stress for you in your life.

Once you do that, you’ll find your stress levels go down, your enjoyment for both your business and your life go up and you won’t worry about arbitrary things like work-life balance because you’ll love them both.

You’ll love your life.
You’ll love your business.
It’s part of who you are.

 

Denise Duffield-Thomas (Business Heroine Magazine)

Business Heroine Magazine

 

We’d love to hear from YOU…

Do you feel balanced in your life and business? Which of these tips will you implement first to create the balance you crave? Leave your answer in the comments below!

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