For many leaders, asking the classic question of when is a job more than just a job usually has a pretty basic answer — when it’s a job. As a leader who has built my own company from scratch, the answer is never that easy. I have invested much more than the regular 9 to 5 in building my brand and my vision, and for many leaders, that is their reality. The reality that the line between the job and the life that it helps sustain continuously begins to blur. So how do you make sure that you maintain that balance while still building your business?
There are standard ways to separate your work and home life but being a leader and holding true of your vision takes a bit more than the average level of commitment. However, you can still take steps in your daily life to at least create a comfortable balance between your work life and personal life that will help to sustain your leadership abilities. Even though we might not think it, how we live our own lives has a lot to do with what kind of leaders we are. Identifying and relieving stress factors in all aspects of your life will assist you in being the best leader you can be. Here are a few ways I balance work and life:
Resolve Work Issues at Work
Maintaining a work/life balance is a long-term solution for your future as a leader. While you have more to worry about than the regular 9 to 5 employee, try not to bring home unresolved issues every day. Leaving the office with a clean slate at least once or twice a week goes a long way toward keeping that divide between the two worlds active. On that subject, don’t make building your business your hobby. If it becomes your whole world you may find great success, but at a high cost to your personal life, family and friends.
Take Advantage of Vacation Time-Off
Plan ahead for time off. No matter how demanding your work or home life is, you deserve some time to set back, relax and reset. While many of us find it difficult to just shut off the machine and kick back with a cold drink on the beach while our company runs without us, it’s still very possible to at least go for a drive out to wine country, where the cell phone signals are sparse, and the air is crisp with freedom from responsibility. Of course, the catch is that you’ll feel you have to earn this break, but you probably already have.
Plan to Disconnect with Loved Ones
If you can’t get away for a reset, that’s fine. There are things you can do to make sure that you have a personal life sitting somewhere between work and work. Set aside at least a few hours a week to spend with your partner, family or friends. Try to make this time non-negotiable. You might not think much of it, or think you’ve got to much work to do, but you are a leader. And leaders cannot lead without a clear head and a certain amount of joy. Your family and friends bring that joy to you (and if they don’t, then get another puppy perhaps). If nothing else, take a few minutes each day to be completely offline. It may feel scary at first, but the disconnect is healthy in the long run.
There is a clear correlation between your work/life balance and your performance as a leader. You’ve noticed it. You know that when you don’t get enough time off, you get feisty and short-tempered. You know that when you miss your kids, you start to question everything. This is the hard part of building a business, but an important one to consider as you move forward. Growth is much more than raising those profit lines; it’s finding the strength within yourself to live the life you are building and not just watch it pass you by as you feed the machine.