Being a business owner and a member of a family means that the line between professional and personal life is often blurred.
More often than not, wouldn’t you agree?!
So if we are living in a world always connected and very little balance (unless you’ve mastered it!), can there ever really be a balance?
But can the internet actually help and not hinder when it comes to finding a work-life balance when social media and everything online is concerned?
A world that’s increasingly connected
In this fast-paced world, social media has become an almost indispensable tool for everyone. Some employees prefer working from home via the internet to staying in the office all day.
And many businesses don’t even have offices, with businesses owners preferring to be digital nomads.
So it is absolutely crucial that you as a business owner with a family, loved ones or simply just a life, find a balance between their work life, family and social media.
Disconnecting from social media is tough and because a lot of activities happen online, it is easy to find yourself there in screen-time for very long hours (much to disgust of your family).
Stay here for too long and it will become a problem that you are still connected when you are at home with your family or out with friends. Not being able to fully concentrate and be completely present at home and with loved ones can lead to strains between couples, with the rest of the family, and your friendships.
The consequence are real
The consequences of an imbalance can be a hard pill to swallow, especially if they are affecting your business.
The WHO recently ranked the United States among the countries with the highest number of work-related depression cases. About four employees out of 10 are stressed. Higher categories (47%) and executives (57%) are more affected.
The consequences are multiple: sleep disorders, back pain, fatigue. In the end, 50 to 60% of lost work days are related to these problems. And this will also impacts the bottom line of your business. Indeed, studies have shown that the cost of absenteeism could amount up to $60 billion dollars.
Burnout is also something that affects a lot of professionals and business owners. Longer hours, the pressure to deliver on targets and trying hard to succeed and meet goals means you could have less of your personal time even when you are done from the office.
The situation can get stressful also when you have personal issues to deal with on the home front.
The result is that you are unable to balance work and personal life.
And then we go and add social media and being online too much into that mix.
So let’s strike a balance
- The success of a company is a marathon and not a sprint
Although there are more turbulent times than others -for example, launching a new product with a high-activity time or onboarding new team members or even creating new systems and processes – remember that endurance is a goal and speed is not enough. So, think about splitting up your workday.
The most recognised athletes achieve their best performances by arranging breaks.
This allows their muscles to rest while waiting for the right moment to “release” all their energy. A joint study from the York and Florida Universities showed that 40% of creative ideas happen when you take a break or when you allow your mind to “wander.”
You must listen to your needs and that of your team also. Encourage them to take the time to decompress to work more efficiently – and you as business owner need to do this too.
Even if you feel overwhelmed, working extra time will not help you. On the contrary, it will most likely hinder you, so go and get some time with your loved ones. The next day you can attack the day with a new eye.
Arianna Huffington, the co-founder of the newspaper of the same name, sums it up very well: “It is often thought – wrongly – that success is the sum of time spent at work, rather than the sum of ‘quality’ time that we spent there.”
- Delegate, micro-task and manage
It is sometimes quite tempting to want to see what is going on in your business and so you might spend many hours trawling through social media comments, your customer care emails and other sources of client communication. You are better off leaving these tasks to someone else and instead receiving an overview and key points.
Or at the very least, scheduling time to be in social media to replay – for example, 11am and 3pm.
Creating social media content and replying to comments can also be tasks you delegate in the first instance.
Pretty much, anything to do with “online” can be delegated or you can learn how to best use your time so you don’t end up down the rabbit hole of content and the digital space.
- Take care of yourself
Remember that we are all human, so we have our limits. Not taking care of yourself can be detrimental to not only your health but also your business, team and family.
Lack of sleep not only hurts your health, but it also affects the functioning of your brain which will have difficulty solving problems, reasoning or organising. This will also affect your work performance. Professional conscience should not take over your private life.
Productivity involves balance, and for that, you need to take care of yourself. Encourage your teams (and yourself) to set up flexible work schedules that will allow them to have healthy rhythm and activities next door. Want a successful business? Yes, but not at the expense of yourself, your health and your relationships.
- Learn to say no
It is critical to have a good idea of how you want to spend your day. Know what relationships you want to build and prioritise and how you want to spend your time.
It is easy to schedule meetings at all the hours of the day, no matter where the other party is located because of the internet. You can have telephone or video conferencing calls anywhere and anytime.
That is why it is important to say no to many requests. You need to make sure that your non-office hours are kept sacred – for you and your loved ones.
Social media allows you to take work home with you and still be as busy as if you were in the office. So have the confidence and courage to live your life at work and outside of work, and say yes only to the most important things.
If you can stop yourself from checking emails when you are home, then it is a good idea to let your clients and colleagues know as well.
Make a habit of not responding to messages when you are home so that you can spend time with your family.
- Enjoy the now
You are only ever guaranteed today so it is important to take time for yourself and your loved ones, let go of everything else and enjoy your time with the family. Go to the beach, get an ice cream, go see a football game, watch your kids play soccer, or go to the park with your partner.
Appreciate exactly where you are and all the effort it took you to get there and enjoy the moment.
Work is important, but so is your personal life. You can balance the two with these tips and principles so you can live your best life possible.
If social media and the digital space are intruding on your work-life balance, here are some things that may help you understand how to use it better and how to delegate it yourself.
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