Most of us have struggled to strike that elusive work-life balance, only to end up on a never-ending seesaw. But here’s the truth, work-life balance is not a myth, but an outcome of successful work-life integration. Balance comes from integrating your business into your life, not the other way around.
The Work-Life Balance Integration Mindset
I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum, working too much and too little. The key for me was balance–integrating my business into my life, rather than trying to fit life into my business. I focused on harmonizing my business with the rest of my life, ensuring that the things I love–family, leisure activities, relationships–always took precedence. My business is a natural extension of my gifts, joys, passion, and purpose, not an extra obligation.
This is true work life balance for entrepreneurs.
Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs tend to live life on the ‘leftovers’ their business allows them. This approach must change. Our most precious resources–time, energy, health– should be spent on things that matter the most, such as relationships, family, health, and leisure activities. Our business should support these, not the other way around.
Lessons from Successful Entrepreneurs
Let’s look at some familiar faces that have mastered work-life integration:
Elon Musk, despite running multiple businesses, still makes time to engage with his fans on social media and play video games.
Richard Branson prioritizes fitness and family time despite his many business ventures, and believes that keeping fit helps him work more effectively.
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO, leaves work at 5:30 PM every day to have dinner with her kids. She believes that leaving work for dinner does not make her less committed to her job; instead, it makes her productive and efficient while she is at work.
It’s evident that success doesn’t mean burning yourself out. These individuals are not just entrepreneurs; they are parents, partners, mentors, and enthusiasts. They have different roles, different responsibilities, and they’ve found a way to seamlessly integrate all aspects of their lives, not balance them on a delicate seesaw.
Your Work-Life Balance Integration Toolkit
A crucial tool that aids work-life integration is the right mindset. Recall from our previous newsletters, mindset is key to achieving success, and the same goes for work-life integration. No matter what tools or tactics you put in place, if your mindset does not fully comprehend what work-life integration looks like, you will never achieve it. Having a solid mindset allows you to work towards achieving work-life integration, based on the belief that you can achieve it and that it is vital for your success and balance.
Integration in Practice
Work-life integration is possible and is important.. It’s feasible for entrepreneurs to run successful businesses in under 20 hours per week. That’s 20 active hours per week.
That leaves you 20 to 30 other hours to focus on growing businesses, working on volunteer activities, or thinking about the next big thing that will make the biggest impact in the world. This means organizing your daily work in the active hours of a business to no more than 20 per week.
For me, I try to be done by 3 PM every day. I also try not to work on Fridays at all. This allows me time to focus on things that are more important than just keeping my business running.
Remember, your business should be an integral part of your life, not consume it. As we continue our journey together, let’s keep in mind the proverb “An abundance of idleness can harm one’s health”. While striving for success is vital, so is rest and personal fulfillment. Let’s strive for a harmonious integration of work and life to realize true balance.