The work-life balance begins with you.
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May 15, 2021 4 min read
The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur’s contributors are their own.
You received the standard recommendation for setting work hours limits if you’ve been working from home now (or always). You’ve read that you should be more focused on tasks by using software that blocks social media and email notifications. You may even have experienced work-life balance for a while.
What is missing when talking about work-life balance, however, is the need to prioritize goals, work, productivity and the desire to optimize one’s own life. Here are three reasons why making yourself a priority is the key and foundation of work-life balance.
Related: The Secret Cause of Burnout and How Business Owners Can Avoid It
1. Burnout results from a lack of excitement about what you are pursuing.
Do you wake up checking your to-do list and verbally cringing? Probably most of what you do each day is the same, and the routine is mentally and, more generally, physically stressful.
If you grind day after day with no time or fun and with all of the personal goals you want to achieve, it will lead to frustration, bitterness and burnout. You are not excited to work, which decreases your energy and motivation. The resulting burnout reduces productivity and increases excuses.
Work-life balance must be about balance. But more than just finding a schedule that works for you, you need to put a lot of “your time” into it. Your schedule should include moments when you work on hobbies, do fun things, and focus on personal optimization.
If you are feeling stressed and mentally exhausted thinking about work and your goals, is it time to take a step back and wonder when was the last time you did something just for you? You will be more productive and develop the ability to work more purposefully when your life doesn’t feel like a burden.
Related: Building a business shouldn’t require you to stop making a life
2. The “working part” of work-life balance cannot overtake your identity.
If you are good at what you do it can be easy for it to become part of your identity. It is not uncommon for someone who has been the “boss” of a job or company to have challenges adapting to changes in their work situation – millions of Americans have seen just that over the past year.
When you associate your identity with your work, you lose balance when life circumstances become unpredictable. The work-life balance begins with being sure of your priorities outside of work and not sticking to circumstances that you cannot control.
There are so many life experiences and moments that can be lived beyond work. Work helps you build the financial freedom to experience life, but don’t let it get out of balance and tie your beliefs about yourself to circumstances you don’t need to define.
3. You will get more done when you work from a place that is complete.
Whether you realize it or not, you are the most significant project you will ever pursue. Making your optimization a priority will make you more productive. When you get excited about life and the opportunity to work, you reduce stress and burnout.
Start by making yourself a priority. Family, friends, co-workers, customers, and anyone else who needs your time and energy should recognize and respect your limits.
Spend time each day on a task, goal, or fun experience just for you. If you can do this at the beginning of your day, train your mind to understand that you are the top priority. If you do this over time, you will wake up excited about what the day is about to bring.
If you build the muscle to prioritize yourself and develop healthy self-care habits, you will achieve a more sustainable work-life balance.
Related: Teach others how you treat your business