Balancing Work and Personal Life with Your Business
by bridgetwpollack, Contributor
- Created: January 22, 2013, 5:08 pm
January is the month when we promise ourselves we will change for the better…we say we will eat better, work out more and spend more time with our loved ones. And by February, we find ourselves right back into our old habits.
If you’re really lucky, the holidays may have provided a mental and physical break and rejuvenated your fervor for your business. Hopefully, you were able to spend time with family and friends and were reminded about what you work so hard for, and proved that time away from your work can do your work good.
But as an owner who has dedicated all you have to your business, it can be difficult to know how to juggle work and play. In the 2012 U.S. Bank Small Business Annual Survey, small business owners reported that “more owners in 2012 said their business is their life and their life is their business–up from 34 percent in 2011 to 45 percent in 2012.”
As with many things, the most important step in achieving work-life balance is to simply be aware of it. Know what your work and personal goals are and regularly take stock of where they stand and what needs to change.
It’s helpful to think of your life as a business, too. Its profits may not be measured in any currency and its benchmarks may not be defined by tangible assets, but it too has goals to achieve and plans to help you get there. Just like a business, to sustain yourself and your personal life over a long period of time, it needs to be analyzed, planned and dedicated time. Only once this “business” is made sustainable and profitable can it properly bolster your actual business.
As an entrepreneur who has laser-focused vision on the ultimate bottom line, it can be easy to forget about managing the personal aspects of your life. Similarly, if you have employees, you may slip into the role of the boss who demands that same 150% dedication from their employees as well. While they are most likely passionate, dedicated and hard workers, they need their own work-life balance as well. Try to make sure they have adequate time during the year to take their own leave and address their own personal goals and needs. The Golden Rule certainly applies: Treat your employees how you wish your boss had treated you.
The question then becomes, “What is adequate time to provide to myself and my employees?” and “How do I let go of some of the business aspects to focus on my own life?” These questions can have varying answers depending upon your personality, needs and the business that you are in. This is where it is helpful to have a mentor—someone who understands your business, but is removed from the situation so that they can see different aspects from you, the owner, who is engrained in all of the components.
Take the beginning of this new year as an opportunity to make a plan for your small business, your personal life and how you will balance the two throughout the next 12 months. Work with a mentor from SCORE or the Small Business Development Centers to evaluate this plan. Don’t beat yourself up if you happen to show up late for dinner or miss that deadline in lieu of a soccer game. If you haven’t already learned this in your small business endeavors you certainly will:
“When you aim for perfection, you discover it's a moving target.” -George Fisher
About the Author
Bridget Weston Pollack is the director of Marketing & Communications at the SCORE Association. In this role, Bridget is responsible for all branding, marketing, PR, and communication efforts. She focuses on implementing marketing plans and strategies for the organization to facilitate the growth of SCORE’s mentoring and trainings services. She collaborates with SCORE volunteers to develop channel marketing strategies and media / PSA efforts in order to acquire new clients and volunteers. Bridget develops SCORE’s online marketing strategy in order to increase clients’ consumption of SCORE services (mentoring and training). Finally, she continues to enhance and manage SCORE’s public brand and image through the development of promotional materials. Prior to SCORE, Bridget was at Mid-Atlantic Control Systems in Rockville, Maryland as Marketing Manager. There she created and implemented the company’s business-to-business marketing strategies, including redesigning a web site, developing marketing collateral and forming relationships with vertical market partners. Bridget has worked as a Marketing Coordinator at Temple University Health Systems in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she focused on marketing Temple Heart & Lung Center as a center of excellence in the Philadelphia region. Bridget has her Master’s of Business Administration from Temple University and a Bachelor’s of Science in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Outside of work, she currently coaches first grade girls soccer for Arlington County. She currently resides in Arlington, Virginia with her husband Rick.
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