Community Futures Meridian

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Work/Life Balance - Take Control

  • June 2, 2016
  • Written by Meridian Admin

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) reports that 58% of Canadians experience ‘overload’ due to the multiple roles they have to play. If only small business owners were asked whether they felt overloaded with business and personal responsibilities the percentage would undoubtedly be far higher.

Running a small business is not a 9 to 5 job, and the demands of the business are often 24x7. While entrepreneurs thrive on the mostly positive stress of running a business – in fact it may even improve their efficiency and metal acuity – at some point stress becomes harmful.

The CMHA provides four signs that indicate the juggling act you are performing between work and personal responsibilities are starting to harm your health:

1. You feel like you’ve lost control of your life

2. You often feel guilty about neglecting your different roles

3. You frequently find it difficult to concentrate on the task at hand

4. You’re always tired

If that sounds a lot like you, here are 6 tips to help you bring equilibrium back to your life.

1. Take breaks – seems simple but small business owners all too frequently battle through, often believing they are indispensable. Studies have been undertaken that show as little as ten minutes away from what you are doing every two hours actually increases productivity and efficiency. So there is NO excuse for not stepping away from your desk, or out of the office to catch your breath and switch that brain off, or at least focus it on something less taxing such as smelling the roses! Think of it this way – you owe it to your company to take breaks!

2. Does your company overpromise and under deliver? Hopefully not, nor should it! Bring that level of commitment to your daily priorities. Every evening list what you need to do the following day and make the list achievable. Don’t set yourself up for failure – don’t overpromise and under deliver, or it will simply increase your stress and you’ll be tempted to work late to finish the unrealistic number of tasks you set yourself.

3. Here’s a tough one – when at home switch off your cell phone. You are not indispensable – things can wait. If you work from home, set a time when your workday ends and turn off the phone. If you have a business where customers need to get hold of you 24x7, share the ‘on-call’ hours with someone else. Or, have a voice mail message that offers callers an alternative way of reaching you if the situation is urgent. This will filter out most callers. If at all possible have a work cell phone and a personal cell phone. Most providers offer multi-phone accounts at a low cost.

4. Whether you work from home, or out of an office try to take a break between work and home – it could be as simple as taking a walk, going to the gym, or sitting and reading a book. The thing is don’t jump from one set of responsibilities to another without giving yourself a break.

5. You’ve probably heard it before, but exercise is important. It doesn’t have to be an hour at the gym, or a game of racquetball – a 20-minute walk around your neighbourhood will help clear your head, release some endorphins and recharge your batteries. And remember, a dog can be a wonderful asset to work-life balance!

6. Learn to say no! It’s so easy to get involved in business associations and volunteer for charity work, or coach local kids’ hockey, but choose wisely. Take on those things that you enjoy, that are fulfilling, and that don’t add to the stress you feel. Don’t say yes to everything!

The Canadian Mental Health Association has a short quiz which allows you to see whether your life is in balance. Click:

Look for a follow-up article in the coming months on how to build work-life balance into your company for your employees.

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