When you are an entrepreneur, it can easily take up most of your time. So, how do you find your life – work balance? We have a few tips for you right here.
How Do Women Entrepreneurs Find Work – Life Balance?
This is the million-dollar question for women entrepreneurs. As we discussed in a recent post, the demands on any entrepreneur are massive. As the founder, owner, and boss, what CEO usually means in the startup capacity is Chief Everything Officer. Any dedicated entrepreneur could easily spend 80 hours per week working on their business. And for women entrepreneurs, it doesn’t stop there. Most women have many other roles and responsibilities beyond their businesses, such as supporting spouses, kids, parents and contributing to their communities.
So, how do we do it? How does a career-driven woman manage to thrive (not just survive!) while balancing work and family? And honestly, what does work – life balance even mean? Please allow me to volunteer as your personal work – life balance coach for the next few minutes and offer some extremely effective hacks that have been proven to work from my own personal experience and the women I’ve worked with over the years.
First and foremost, we must drop this word “balance”. It’s a terrible word that has become commonplace in the media, and quite honestly, it sets all women up for failure before they ever even start. Why do I hate this word? Because “balance” implies that all things must be equal, and that’s not the case at all. At Digging Deeper for Success, we believe that our lives are really broken down into 8 Lanes of Life or 8 Lanes of SuccessTM.
In a nutshell, our 8 Lanes include: Spiritual Life, Family, Career, Personal Growth, Physical Health, Financial Health, Social Life/Adventures, and Community Involvement. Our goal is to create synergy and harmony between these 8 Lanes of our life in order to create a life of meaning, fulfillment and joy, not drive ourselves crazy by trying to make everything equal.
Let’s break down exactly what it takes to accomplish this seemingly impossible mission.
How Do You Manage Work – Life Balance?
Though it seems impossible, if you incorporate these next 5 ideas in your life, You’d be surprised to find out that you managed to maintain this proverbial work – life balance.
We’ve got so much to say on this elusive topic of Time Management for Women Entrepreneurs that we could write a book on it. In fact, we did write a book on it. It’s called Time Management Secrets for Highly Successful Women, and you can grab your copy here. But here’s the bottom line: Time Management isn’t really time management at all. In the words of Albert Einstein, “Time management is an oxymoron”. It’s like trying to rope the wind or herd cats…it’s just not possible.
To truly master time, you need more than Type-A scheduling skills. It’s really about priorities management, task management, and self-management. One of the most powerful things that any woman can do is to get crystal clear on acutely defined priorities. Once you’re locked in on what is truly important to you, then it becomes much easier to prioritize your tasks and make the executive decisions on how and where to invest your time.
To learn how to do this, check out my Time Management 4-part online course.
This is another big one that’s essential if you really want to know how to have a balanced life. (Again, think harmonious life.) Boundaries is a critically important, yet often overlooked life skill for any entrepreneur or professional who really wants to win in life, both at work and at home. ‘Boundaries’ is the skill that separates work ethic from workaholic.
An easy tip here is to clearly separate your work time from your personal time in your calendar and weekly schedule. Just like above, start with the big picture. Decide how much time you actually want to spend on your professional goals and obligations versus your personal life. Have a pow wow with your spouse or partner to make sure you’re in alignment as a team. Then align your tasks and projects so that you work only on work tasks during work time and personal tasks during personal time. (Once more, this may sound stupid simple, but the data shows that common sense isn’t exactly common practice. It’s easier said than done!)
Boundaries also include learning how to say ‘no’ with firm grace to invitations, people, and projects that aren’t in alignment with your goals and priorities.
One other note: boundaries are also what protect you from having your time and energy robbed by other people. It’s obvious that we need to minimize our time around toxic people if we want to create a joyful, powerful life. But even the most well-meaning and loving people can hijack our time, energy, and focus if we haven’t set strong boundaries.
In fact, this is one of the topics that we focus on in our 90-Day Powerhouse Blitz that helps professional women design and create their dream lives.
It almost sounds trite and overly simplified, but balancing career and family like a rock star is very strongly correlated with excellent goal setting. As my Dad loves to say, “It can be challenging to hit a moving target, but it’s darn near impossible to hit an invisible one.” Similar to strategic planning for your long-term business goals, I recommend doing the exact same exercise for your personal life. The basic premise is to start with the end in mind. At Digging Deeper for Success, we work with all of our clients to create a long-term life vision that maps out their goals across all 8 Lanes of their life.
Then once we know what we’re aiming for, we can work backward to design strategies and tactics to help us accomplish all of our goals in tandem. This is actually a very empowering visual process that helps women to literally ‘see’ what they’re aiming for. At a basic minimum, ask yourself “What are my goals in each of these 8 Lanes?”. Write them down for 1 year and 5 years. (FYI, we do 10 and 20-year plans with our clients, which is actually life changing, believe it or not. Many women start the process thinking there’s no way they will be able to map out what they want 20 years from now. By the end, they are totally transformed, and their newly defined goals have helped them 10x their personal power.)
Bottom line, the clear goals help you to choose your tasks and invest your time wisely. This approach to life is in stark contrast to the all-too-familiar feeling of running around like a chicken with your head cut off, responding to whatever seems most urgent and whomever is screaming the loudest. Living your life like a firewoman only putting out fires is not what you signed up for!
This is classic self-love, y’all. The stuff that high-achieving women desperately need, fully enjoy, and know they deserve, but often just don’t seem to have time for amidst the never-ending wave of tasks, responsibilities, and projects. So, let’s be clear: making time for you is a critical component of women’s work – life balance. You know it. I know it. And yet, somehow, we still keep wearing this “too busy” label as a badge of honor.
Depending on your personality and phase of life, you may prefer different flavors of self-love. It could be yoga, running, strength-training, meditation, long walks, staycations, an afternoon at the spa, or even an hour after the kids are in bed with a good book and your favorite drink. (Or all of the above – you’ve earned it, woman!)
And, for the record, anything involving phones, tablets, laptops or social media does not actually qualify as real self-love. Taking care of yourself means allowing yourself to fully unplug and just enjoy being you, at your essence. This has almost become a foreign concept in today’s fast-paced, always streaming world.
However, self-love isn’t always bubble baths and warm fuzzies. Sometimes true self-love is tough love. Like digging yourself out of debt, putting the bottle down, or extricating yourself from toxic relationships. It may require focused, intense work with an excellent therapist or mentor to help navigate yourself from where you are to where you want to be. But trust me when I say, speaking from personal experience, the long-term investment required for this type of tough self-love will pay you back in ways you can’t even begin to imagine.
In addition to carving out personal time amidst your hectic usual schedule, career-driven women also need time to fully unplug. This could be a week (or three) in a beach or mountain cabin. Or, it could be a fabulous staycation where you don’t even let anyone know you’re home. No DIY projects or zoom meetings…just enjoying a slow, peaceful change of pace.
My best tip for fully recharging? Try to schedule at least one trip away with kids per year, and one trip without kids. The family trip allows for amazing memories and fantastic family bonding, but let’s be honest – there’s not much recharging happening for Mom on that trip. A trip away with no kids may take an act of Heaven to pull off, but trust me when I say it is the best gift you could ever give yourself and your family.
Every superwoman needs time to get away, relax, recharge, refuel, and refocus on her purpose and her passion. Mama, this actually empowers you to come back with exponential strength and drive to share your brilliance with the world and resume your role as the best darn entrepreneurial mom on the planet.
So, where should you go from here?
The most important take-away is this: be encouraged! As your work-life balance coach, allow me to remind you how much potential and opportunity you have to totally rewrite your family’s legacy. You do not want to go down in a pile of potential! That’s why your investing time in reading this article, after all. So, let’s embrace this path ahead and rise to the calling of becoming the Superhuman you were born to be.
By taking control of your situation, you are taking control of your future. According to the most current data shared in Entrepreneur, 1 million married women lost their jobs last month due to back-to-school season. As you commit to roll up your sleeves and dig in your heels to create your own personal version of success, you are ensuring that YOU as an entrepreneurial woman will never need to succumb to the workforce and fear corporate downsizing again!
Will you have to work harder than your male counterparts? Maybe. Afterall, even if there were no such thing as double standards at work, you still are expected to perform the job of a small army on any given day. But let’s not get distracted by comparing ourselves to other people. The name of the game here is competing against yourself and becoming the best version of you that could ever grace the face of this earth.
It may take several rounds of failing forward and tweaking as you go to finally create the infamous balanced life that you’re looking for. But trust me, the payoff is more than worth it. What kind of ROI are we talking here? Peace of mind, inner happiness, fulfillment, a solid sense of achievement and accomplishment, professional success, making a genuine difference in the world around you, personal joy, quality time with your family, financial freedom, and the deep self-satisfaction that comes from knowing you never gave up on yourself, your family, your future, your purpose, or your dreams.
It may seem impossible at times, but work-life balance IS possible! All you need is the right toolbox to build this properly.
Did I get you curious? Well, soon I will expose to you 4 life changing secrets and many more tools. Stay tuned!