Balancing work and life better in 2013

the to don't listWe’re fast approaching New Year, and it’s this time of year that we become more reflective and it’s also the perfect time to make adjustments to your life. For many people these goals are personal, this means trying to lose weight and exercise more.

But it’s also a great time for business owners to make changes to their working lifestyle. In other words it’s the perfect time to assess the past year and look forward into the next.

You’d have thought I’d have learned my lesson in 2011 when my husband’s pneumonia was misdiagnosed as arthritis and his mobility was predicted to be non-existent within 5 years, you’d be wrong if you thought that we would plan more fun in 2012…

We didn’t and then his appendix ruptured and he nearly died. We got the message. 2013 in the Quiver will be full of fun and laughter, and we’re scheduling it in so we don’t miss out. Yup, we’re scheduling a better work life balance. We’re making it happen, and you can make it happen for your life too.

The 2 steps to better work life balance

Step one – Assessment

The first step to finding the perfect work-life balance in the New Year is to assess how you want to actually have a life.

  • What about your present circumstances would you like to change?
  • What feels out of balance?
  • What just plain isn’t working for you?
  • What is working for you?

This assessment process may take a bit of time and you shouldn’t rush it. Spend quality time thinking about all of the tasks and responsibilities you have in your business and think about your achievements.

Consider what tasks and responsibilities are detracting from your quality of life.

  • Consider what tasks or activities you’d like to be able to spend time on.
  • Look at what you want to do less of
  • Look at what you really enjoy and would like to do more of

Step Two: Solutions

Once you have an understanding about what didn’t work for you in the past year and what you’d like to change, it’s time to start looking for solutions.

How can you shift your focus from one unsatisfactory task to another more rewarding one? Here are some solutions to things you might want to change.

1. Hire an assistant – Sure you might might squeak at the cost, but if it frees you up to do what you really want, then hire an assistant  You can hire a virtual assistant to manage the tasks you want to eliminate from your list. You can also hire an intern or a part-time assistant to work with you in your office. If you don’t want to do it, hire someone who does.

2. Outsource – Consider outsourcing the tasks on your list that you wish to get rid of. For example, if you dislike customer service, then outsource that task. Completely outsource something you don’t want to waste time on. If you spend a week each quarter doing the VAT return or local taxes, outsource it to a local bookkeeper and carry on with your business as usual.

Sick of wasting time on social media platforms? Outsource it. No time to write blog posts? Outsource it. No time to answer your calls from your home office… you’ve guessed it – outsource it.

3. Schedule fun – yeah schedule fun. 2012 was the year I stopped working between 3pm and 7pm every day to spend time with my daughters.  Instead of putting yourself last on your task list, start scheduling your “me time” or your “family time”.

Make room for it in your day, week, and month. In fact, it’s a great idea to sit down with your family and a calendar and schedule your breaks for the year, even if you stay at home, the break from work will do you good. This simple step helps you plan your business around your life instead of the other way around. It helps you put your personal life first, and you deserve a personal life.

4. Change your schedule – Do you keep a daily schedule? If so, take a look at that schedule and see if it supports a balanced life. For example, if your exercise time is scheduled for eight o’clock at night then that may be a sign that you’re putting yourself last on your list. Move it to first thing in the morning – put yourself first. By making it first on your to do list you’ll find you have more energy to complete everything else on the list.

5. Prioritize – Death by to-do list? One of the problems with to-do lists is that they’re often just lists. Instead of working your way down the random list, prioritize your tasks. What is most important to accomplish? Do that first. Make sure to put yourself at the top of the list like I mention in point 4.

Don’t wait until the end of the year to review your plan – review it often. Yes, the New Year is a perfect time to reflect and make changes. However, you have the freedom to reflect and make changes every single day of your life.

Don’t wait a full year to live the life you really want.

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Sarah Arrow

Blogging an issue for you? Social media not quite working how it should be?That's okay I understand. I started blogging back in 2006 and grew into a kick-ass blog coach as well as creator of Birds on the Blog (listed 3 times by Forbes as a top 100 website for women), I'm frequently listed as both a top content marketing expert and as an influential marketer.
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18 Comments

  1. Oh, I love that you schedule (and observe) family time! That inspires me for 2013 because I tend to let work spill over into evenings and weekends all the time . . . It doesn’t always feel like work because I’m doing things I love, but I’d probably be a better and happier spouse if I did!

    Reply
    • thank you Mary. When the girls were little we worked all hours, as a former pub manager I was used to working late nights and early mornings. As the girls got into a routine, it became very hard and then I realised that work had taken over and I didn’t spend enough time with them, hence scheduling family time.

      Reply
  2. Very informative post. Loved it, will be back again for more of your posts. Regards

    Reply
    • Glad you found it useful Marcel

      Reply
  3. For me, I tried outsourcing some of my extra code work, but it ended up backfiring because the coder fell short of what needed to be done… so I ended up doing it all. It was a thought. However, this year was more on my health as I made some experiments in my business that worked up until now… which means 2013 is a big push, and I am already making the push right now.

    Reply
    • Ouch, I hate it when that happens :(
      Good luck with your big push, 2013 is definitely your year Nile.

      Reply
  4. Love your ideas here for 2013. I’ve been working on a ditch list so I can prioritize better in the upcoming year. Your post has given me some new ideas as well. Thank you! Love your blog by the way too.

    Reply
    • Thank you, I’, just about to change the look of it.
      A ditch list :), that made me smile, but yes prioritising better means more time doing the things you love.

      Reply
  5. Hi Sarah, some great ideas here. My husband and I have been talking about what we’re going to change for a few months now. For the last 5 years, all our holidays (except 1) have been travelling 2,000 miles to see family, yet they haven’t been back to see us. I think that might be telling us that it’s time for a holiday elsewhere. So, we’re planning to have more scuba diving trips and a trip overseas in Feb. More “us” time. Thanks for the great post.

    Reply
    • Hi Julianne, that’s a lot of travelling! More scuba sounds fabulous – may 2013 be your best year yet :)

      Reply
  6. What? With all the other stuff going on in my life, you want me to balance, too? Thankfully, the world is going to end today, anyway, so I don’t need to add that to my list of that just keeps growing :D

    Seriously, though, Sarah, you have really hit the nail on the head: balance is SO important, but for some reason it usually gets left off my list, leaving me wondering why I don’t feel satisfied with my accomplishments.

    Thank you for a very timely reminder.

    Alan

    Reply
  7. Hi Sarah,

    You have some really fantastic ideas here for achieving balance between your work and personal life. 2012 went by in a blur of work with getting my cookbook finished to sell in January 2013, launching a blog, and learning how to do social media along with working with clients. My personal life did suffer and I plan on addressing that in the new year.

    Thanks for the great reminder!

    Best,
    Shelley

    Reply
  8. Schedule fun! That was my biggest takeaway from your post. Not that everything else wasn’t golden, to be sure, but I tend to schedule myself too thin with work and other commitments, to the point that fun takes a back seat. Thanks for helping me realize that!

    Reply
  9. Excellent post, Sarah! Balance is so difficult to maintain, and yet if one thing is unbalanced, other things get out of whack and then you’re really in trouble. I’m working on regaining balance in my own life right now, and it isn’t fun at the moment.

    Willena

    Reply
  10. I agree with always thinking out your goals and making positive steps to accomplish them before jumping into new things. Most of us understand that you should never join too many locations based on spreading yourself to thin is going to have a huge impact on your production levels.

    It is difficult for most people to even consider to contently evaluate the procedures you follow to grow your business. Yet, it is imperative to keep in mind that everything changes with our business. You have to make things comfortable and enjoy what your doing. Get out of that 9-5 mentality and get serious about what it is you want to accomplish.

    I found breaking it down into quarterly steps makes it easier for me to stay focus. Never mind about the vast number of my Partners that are counting on me to keep being progressive in every area to help the also leverage time and activities.

    We can only hope that more people will gain clarity with this great content you have shared with us today. I thank you and will be returning from time to time. You have a good outlook on what you have to do and that takes allot of enthusiasm.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your comment and thoughts William, your insight is most welcome. I love the idea of quarterly steps, and maintaining focus for a shorter yet more intense duration of time.

      Reply
  11. Yet another fab post by you. Thanks for sharing. Regards.

    Reply
  12. Moderation is the key as in any aspect of life. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

    Reply

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