Eight… Teen…. Days.
So how’s your planning going for your business in 2018? Have you got your Marketing and Sales plans in place ready to start the new year with a bang? Have you got your financial plans in place to make sure you have a good cash flow and then a profit?
Work Life Balance can often feel like an elusive goal that we strive toward but never actually reach, but as the great John Lennon once said, “life is what happens when you are busy making plans.”
Wellbeing and balance in life are not a destination, but a journey…. it is the actions you take along your journey that make you feel the way you feel. Wellbeing does not come about by being happy all the time, it is about understanding what makes you happy and making sure you incorporate that into your life.
The struggle to achieve work/life balance is prevalent not just with business owners, but with almost anyone trying to navigate work and life in this modern age. So, we’ve compiled some of our best tips and advice into this guide to get you on the path to a more balanced, healthier you.
Here Brett Burden talks about the basics of work life balance:
First things First….
There are some basics that you need to make sure are in place as a solid foundation to start with:
These might be stating the obvious, but you can’t build a solid house without a solid foundation.
The other important factor that you are going to need here is self-discipline, as it will be very difficult to achieve balance and control in your life without mastering your own actions, knowing what makes you tick, and what makes you happy.
So with that in mind, here is our top 10 list of actions to improve your work / life balance:
It’s great to spend some mindful time each day doing something you enjoy and just being in the moment. Whether it’s a walk with the dog, a cup of tea in the sunshine, or 10 minutes of mindful meditation, doing something just for yourself is a great way to centre yourself for the day ahead.
It’s important to recognize that whilst there are some tasks that must be done by you, there are others that can be delegated. Many hands make light work, and for the sake of your sanity it’s important to share the load. This includes getting the kids to help around the house and do their chores so it doesn’t all end up on mum and dad’s plate at the end of the day!
It’s also important at work to communicate if your workload is excessive, and get the support to make sure you have the resources to delegate effectively. More on Delegation here.
When a problem arises it can be helpful to ask yourself - is this really an big issue? How will this problem affect me in a months time… or in 6 months time? Sometimes issues can seem overwhelming until we take a step back and get some perspective.
It’s a known fact that taking regular breaks during your work day improves productivity and wellbeing, but few of us manage to do it consistently. Find a nice spot somewhere near your office and go for a 10 minute walk at the same time each day. Set an alarm if you need to! Your body will thank you for it.
According to Beyond Blue, strong ties with family, friends and the community provide people with happiness, security, support and a sense of purpose. Research shows that being connected to others is important for mental wellbeing and can be a protective factor against anxiety and depression. So it’s a great idea to talk to your family during the day and make a habit of connecting to those people close to you.
Being able to transition out of stress or out of work into your home environment can make a big difference to your wellbeing. Fatigue and stress can fuel the tendency to ruminate on a problem or on the stresses of the day; a mental break helps us leave the bad mood behind. Your ritual can be anything that makes you happy and gives you a mental break – from playing your favourite music on the drive home, going for a walk, reading a book on the train or even playing candy crush.
7. Cultivate caring self talk
8. Engage in fun and energizing activities
There is nothing better than having a laugh and doing something fun at the end of a long day at work. Even though there are always things to do around the house, probably dinner to make, and kids to help with homework, it’s important to schedule in some fun time. So whether that’s shooting some hoops in the backyard with the kids, or perhaps all taking the dog for a walk, some energizing fun time is good for the soul.
To balance out all your energetic work and fun time, don’t forget to take some time at the end of the day to relax and recharge. This may be a cup of tea before bed, a cuddle on the couch with the cat, or your favourite human. You may also like to keep a gratitude journal, to help cultivate your own awareness by being mindful of the moment.
It’s part of human nature to need a purpose in life, and to have purpose in what we are doing day to day. Always look for the positive in situations and if you aren’t happy with your job, your career, your life, then you can take steps to change it. It’s important to be true to yourself and behave authentically in both work and life, to maintain true wellbeing.
If you would like to know more or could use help with your planning and time management within your business, contact us at Action Centre. We have a host of workshops that can help, which you can view HERE.
You’ll find having an Action Centre business coach is just like having a marketing manager, sales team leader, trainer and recruitment specialist - wrapped in one - all for one nominal investment. We are the business partner you need without sharing your profits - with over 60 years of collective coaching experience to keep you on track and accountable for your own success.
Knowing where a business is and where it needs to be, forms only the start understanding this week’s topic. The ideal cycle of business has an owner, that is, a person or persons, who are responsible for the business as an entity and who have taken on the risk for operating that business. The owner then invests time to build a team, who in turn, services the business’ customers, providing revenue for the business and dividends back to the owner. This can be simply depicted in the following diagram:
The cycle of business above can be explained further by Michael E. Gerber in his book the E-Myth Revisited when he stated that he views the business “as a network of seamlessly integrated components, each contributing to some larger pattern that comes together in such a way as to produce a specifically planned result, a systematic way of doing business” (Gerber M. E. p72)1.
Typically businesses, and in particular small businesses, have this cycle in mind when they begin, and have an understanding of how the business is currently operating, employing a team and dreaming of where they would like for the business to go in the future. Unfortunately for many owners, they remain stuck at this juncture. Often this is because the owner or owners are still working as part of the team, for example, servicing the customers, and can therefore only grow to the sum total of their time, which in this case, is predominantly spent with customers.
The cycle of business is where most business owners want to be because it means they can work ON their business, looking at ways to grow it, nurture talent within it, and find additional areas of revenue and profitability. However as is often the case, owners have difficulty reaching this goal because they are still working IN their business by being a “team member”, if not being the best team member, servicing the customers directly (when they have employed a team already to do that job). To transition away from working as a team member, an owner ultimately is required to fire themselves and step away from daily activities.
So, how can an owner successfully build a business they can no longer work directly in? What are the roles and responsibilities that business owners need know so they can still work ON their business?
LeBron James, the three-time NBA Championship winner and Most Valuable Player explained his view on teamwork by saying “I think, Team First. It allows me to succeed, it allows my team to succeed.” This thinking is exactly the same for a business. The team that an owner has employed is the most valuable group that will drive the business forward. They service the customers, they provide ideas on better ways to sell more products to customers, they communicate what the market needs to know about the company and they provide the profits. These are very good reasons why owners should be investing their time into their teams. The role then, of the owner becomes clearer, it becomes that of a Leader.
A newly transitioned Leader takes on different roles and responsibilities including:
If in the above example, the owner had difficulty moving away from being a star sales performer, perhaps it was time to replicate. That is, detail exactly what it is that makes the owner an excellent sales closer - they could be simply selling satisfaction2 - whatever it may be, teach and transfer those skills to the Team. Making not one, but multiple excellent sales closers. The point of the exercise therefore takes us back to the Cycle of Business - where the owner turns their focus to the Team and what they can do to grow and support them.
The second part of the Cycle of Business is in the Planning. A team who is competent, ready, trained and able to handle customers is all well and good, but they will lack the motivation to keep going when they have no idea where the business is heading. That is why its important for to business owners to focus on building a great team and creating a plan of action.
The business owner (who is now a Leader), is required to develop a vision and communicate that to the team. The vision will clearly explain the business’ values (what it stands for) and more importantly, where the business sees itself going (its ultimate destination). The owner can then translate this vision into practical terms through manageable goals and steps showing how the business will achieve those goals.
Initially in the planning process, it can be quite overwhelming to write down a large exhaustive list of every single action that springs to mind, therefore it is recommended to find widely used time management or planning tools3 that focus on short term goals. When plans are used in a shorter time period, such as 90 days, it is much easier to commit to and complete them. Sharing the vision and this shorter term plan with the whole business gives everyone much needed clarity and motivation to know their efforts are contributing to the bigger, more exciting picture.
Understanding where the business sits after a cycle of 90 days becomes an invaluable tool for shaping and developing a business. The business Leader can determine what’s been achieved and why, and re-evaluate personal and professional goals. The planning process may reveal the need for further systems to support the business, such as customer payment gateways or project management systems. Whatever the need the owner now has the ability to keep control of the business through the planning process and use it as a powerful motivating tool. Beginning at the end of each planning cycle creates better, more memorable milestones and allows the owner to celebrate the previous achievements with all the team.
There is something that no one tells you at school - when you write down a goal you are more likely to actually do it. To back this theory up a study conducted by Harvard to find out why 3% of its graduates made ten times more money after they graduated than the other 97%(1). One of the primary reasons was that the top 3% took the time to write down and clarify their goals. Why would a small handful of student who managed to write down and clarify their roles wind up making more money? They committed themselves to an outcome, put importance on their plan, carefully stepped out their goals and sent positive messages to their brain so that they could make those goals happen.
On the other hand, if there is no plan, it means the end destination doesn’t matter. Under this method, the path you take will take you to a place, somewhere. It’s when that ‘somewhere’ becomes a destination that you actually want to be in, and it affects your future, that a plan starts to matter. Even the staunchest chaos theorists know that one small internal change will predictably result in changing the course of an entire system2. A plan allows those unpredictable changes to occur, adjusting the system to get back to the ultimate destination. Writing down your goals, making them specific with deadline (3) really is a simple way to get the wheels in motion in a business or team.
However, changing the course of a business can be challenging and communicating where you want to be and how you propose to get there can be difficult. Finding out how to write a goal down is an important skill. Being too broad, general and without a timeframe won’t ignite an outcome. For example, a business may want to be “the biggest and the best” in their category. The goals come after that initial vision is set, which may take the form of “retrain sales staff to cross sell”. It is important to draw a distinction between a vision and goal. A vision is that ‘big picture’ ‘blue sky’ statement. A goal is a step, something that is tangible, that follows that vision. A goal isn’t a thought or emotion - it’s an action. A set of goals is a roadmap of actions that make sure that the changes that you are doing inside your business are still predictably able to get your business where you want it to go (vision).
Finally, after setting goals such as SMART goals that have been used in business for decades (Specific, Measurable, Realistic, Timely)4, let’s not forget Feedback. Without feedback we are setting a rigid set actions to perform without knowing if they are actually making a difference5.
Remembering to check, evaluate and collect feedback for each set of goals. Making plans can be quite exciting, especially when the course you have set for yourself and your business truly meaningful.