Balancing your work and personal lives can seem like a goal that is highly appealing yet impossible to achieve. And perhaps perfect balance is, in fact, unattainable.
However, it is possible to get a life, contends Cameron Herold in his new book Double Double: How to Double Your Revenue and Profit in 3 Years or Less. Herold, a business coach, veteran chief operating officer and president of BackPocket COO, suggests these five keys to doing so:
1. Schedule family time:
Herold advises that you put family time first into your calendar, then schedule your work life around it. He walks his children to school every weekday morning from 8:45 to 9:15, spending this time fully engaged with his kids rather than on his phone emailing or taking work calls. Similarly, he suggests pre-booking your kids’ events and working your business schedule around these. That way, you’ll be there for more than just an annual school play.
2. Build a support network of people who grasp your challenges:
Many of your friends may not be able to understand how busy your work life is and how hard it is to disconnect from your business life as it seeps into your personal life. Herold advises building a network of people who’ve been in the same situation as you are. You need people who won’t try to make you feel guilty for working so hard and for the impulse to spend every waking moment on your company. But you should also ask these people to hold you accountable for focusing on other aspects of your life, such as your health or family life.
3. Start crossing things off your list of non-work goals:
We all make lists of things we want to accomplish, such as to read a certain book, exercise every day or go on a trip to a place we’ve always wanted to see. Instead of making lists that just remind you of the things you haven’t accomplished, start doing these things and scratching them off your list, advises Herold. “Make a commitment to stop saying you’re going to do something and go ahead and do it.”
4. Don’t let email drive you nuts:
Herold recommends checking your email just twice a day. He says that people at the most productive companies don’t turn to their email first thing in the morning or let it take up a huge share of their workday. If your company relies on email for customer communication that will make or break a deal, suggests Herold, you should designate one person to check emails constantly.
5. Look in the rearview mirror:
It’s natural to focus so much on your goals for yourself and your company that you never take the time to reflect on how far you’ve come. Herold recommends that at the end of each week you write a list of the top five things you’ve accomplished that week. It’s a way to make yourself feel good before you start planning your goals for the next week, and to give yourself permission to ease up just a bit. “If you’re always focused on the horizon, you’ll never relax,” says Herold.