Most business people have difficulty balancing work and their personal lives. In my recently published book, The Adventure Begins When the Plan Falls Apart, I go into more depth about this balance, which proceeds, and given that Christmas is rapidly approaching, there is no better time to reflect and focus on what is truly important.
The reasons that this mental work/life balance is difficult are especially familiar now, due to the current state of technology. With smart phones that we carry around constantly and that allow constant access to business calls and email, a businessperson can be hit at any time with demands on their attention. Of course, much of the pressure this causes is self-imposed. Counteracting it, then, just takes discipline on our parts.
My friend John, who started and owns his own business, has one rule that he follows religiously. When he gets home from work, he places his smart phone in a basket and doesn’t look at it again until he gets to work. He goes from 6:30 pm to 8:30 am every day without looking at this phone at all.
As a CEO, John leads by example; he has set the tone for work-life balance at his company, and he encourages his employees to follow the same schedule he does. After all, what business-related issue is so urgent that it can’t wait from late evening to the next morning? A lot of owners, being highly motivated individuals, believe they always have to be available for business concerns, as if it were a sign of weakness of not to be. I can speak from experience, because I used to believe this myself! I just thought it was part of contributing to the success of the business.
In fact, however, the opposite is true. Not being available 24/7 can actually empower your employees to make decisions without you, increasing accountability and a sense of responsibility in the company. Combine that with a healthy sense of work-life balance among your employees, and you end up with a fresher, happier, and more engaged workforce.
John is also a master of turning his business mind off when he puts that phone away. That way his attention is entirely on his family when he is with them, and the time they have together is quality time. I tried for a long time to follow a ‘no-phone’ regimen like John’s, but my mind would continue to be on work anyway. So, it is that mental aspect of it that has required a lot of work for me.
Here at Sumus, we are devoted to helping you find the right balance between work and life. Quality always trumps quantity, so don’t forget that this holiday season. The Sumus team wishes you a very merry Christmas!