Stop overspending your energy and feel better every single day
Stop overspending your energy and feel better every single day
Work/life balance is a hot topic. It’s the subject of so many personal development books, the marketing platform of so many gurus, and the desire of so many entrepreneurs.
But there are also a lot of experts out there that teach that there is no such thing. They preach that if you’re good at prioritizing and focusing, something will inherently rise to the top—throwing off that oh-so-elusive work/life balance.
In fact, the very definition of balance as a 50/50 split goes against social norms. This would mean half of your time and energy would be spent on work and half on life.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t know anyone who has that exact ratio at all times and I’d be willing to bet you don’t either. Just given the standard 40-hour work week with five days on, two days off—well, things are already way out of whack.
This is even more true as entrepreneurs because work and life are endlessly intertwined. You may work from home so there’s no physical divide between home and the office. Your to-do list is a mile long meaning there’s ALWAYS another thing you could be doing to grow your business. You feel like your work is constantly getting in the way of your life, or the other way around.
But is that enough of a case to claim that work/life balance simply doesn’t exist?
I don’t think so. Here’s how the true problem with balance comes when you start OVERSPENDING your energy and what you can do now to start living a more balanced life every single day so you can grow your business with more ease and less stress:
Change your mindset around balance
What if instead of looking at balance as a perfect 50/50 split, we looked at it as divvying up 100% of the pie? The pie being you... (Hey, it was just my birthday, I have sweets on my mind.) Meaning that you could split your energy to look like 70% work and 30% percent life during a big launch or flip that ratio when your client load was a bit lighter. But either way, there’s only 100% of YOU to go around.
You see, one of the problems I see entrepreneurs facing is when they start overcommitting, overscheduling, and trying to do all the things. Because when YOU are the driving force behind your business, you only have so much energy to go around. And when you start OVERSPENDING your energy you can burn out really quickly causing your business to take a hit and your results to dwindle.
Look at where your energy is going
Now in order to stop overspending your energy, we need to take a really close look at where your energy is actually GOING. As entrepreneurs, work and life are endlessly intertwined—one almost always affects the other—so to look at balance we need to take both into consideration.
I once changed jobs, trained for a marathon, and began a new relationship all at the same time. And even though there was so much GOOD in all of that, it was A LOT and I was definitely overspending my energy. In fact, I’m pretty sure I got pretty sick with the stomach flu after that.
In the same way, things start to slip in business when you’re burnt out, making it hard to give your clients an outstanding customer experience or show up clearly and consistently in your marketing.
So when you look at how you’re balancing your energy between work and life, it’s important to look at what you have going on in both areas. I won’t ever do a huge launch in my business during the final two months of marathon training because I know how draining those both can be to my focus and energy.
Know what it feels like to overcommit
Now, I’ve been talking a lot in percentages, but keeping tabs on your energy levels isn’t quite as easy as checking the battery left on your iPhone. The good news is that this is a skill you can develop and practice so that you can stop overcommitting and start being smart about where you spend your energy.
Chances are, you know what it’s like to take on too much. That time you said you’d go to your best friend’s bridal shower, your niece’s first birthday party, and that first date with the cute guy from the other night, all in the same day...only to feel like a train wreck when you head hit the pillow. Well, that was probably overcommitting.
And that same principle holds true in business. Maybe you’re a new entrepreneur and you’re still spending a TON of time and energy invoicing clients (an area way outside of your core genius). It may be time to template and automate that particularly draining task in a program like Harvest, Freshbooks, Bonsai or Dubsado.
Or if you’ve been in business a bit longer, maybe you know that client calls take a lot of energy out of you so you may not want to schedule them back-to-back. Likewise, I’ve found that I almost always need a day off after a conference or an event. I love me some business retreats, but I also know that they take a lot out of me.
By recognizing those circumstances that drain your energy, you’ll be less likely to put yourself through that same situation again and start planning around that.
Focus your energy on your priorities
Sometimes protecting your energy means saying “no” to certain opportunities that aren’t in alignment with your priorities at the moment. And that two-letter word can be scary for entrepreneurs. But think of it this way—you’re not saying “no, never,” you’re just saying “this opportunity isn’t the right fit for me right now.”
But in order to know what you should be saying “no” to, you need to have a handle on what your priorities actually ARE so you can say “yes” and spend your energy on things that are supporting them.
I’ve said no to backpacking trips when I’ve had a big webinar coming up and I’ve said no to project opportunities that would force me to work long hours when my health was one of my main priorities.
The best way to know your priorities at the moment? Write them down at the start of each week, month, or quarter and only say “yes” to opportunities that are in alignment. Seriously, do it! This takes no more than five minutes.
Delegate when you can and how you can
Maintaining a good work/life balance so you can conserve your energy means looking for opportunities to delegate tasks that are outside of your zone of genius. But many new entrepreneurs (and even the more seasoned ones for that matter!) default to thinking that they simply can’t afford to delegate quite yet. While that might be true for hiring a team or expanding in a big way, I encourage you to shift your mindset around what it means to delegate.
- When I rely on an online scheduling tool like Acuity to book client calls → that’s delegating
- When I schedule my Instagram posts through Later and automate them to show up on my Facebook business page → that’s delegating
- When I order my groceries online through King Sooper’s ClickList (we don’t have Instacart in our area) for curbside pickup → that’s delegating
We live in a time when there are apps and software that are available to support us in our lives and business. I’m willing to spend a little more money if it means I can have more energy for the things that are actually important to me.
The bottom line:
Work/life balance DOES exist when you create a give-and-take relationship between the two and stop OVERSPENDING your energy by overcommitting. By looking at work and life as a whole rather than one or the other, you’ll be better able to plan for where your energy is needed most and better focus on your priorities. Sometimes conserving your energy is as easy as setting up an app or scheduling tool so that you can focus and go deeper in your zone of genius.
Tell me in the comments below:
What is your top priority in business right now?
Photography by Jennifer Morgan Photography