Burned out? 4 tips to Juggle Work and Life


June 28, 2017 by Karen Que

“Having it all is the worst. No matter how much we all have and how grateful we are for what we have, no one has it all, because we all make tradeoffs every single day, every single minute.” –Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook

It’s a stark reality how many CEOs of any size company are divorced or don’t have significant relationships in their life. This is because they get so consumed in the business and their role as a CEO that their other relationships suffer.

So how do you run your business, be engaged with your family and have other things as a priority in life and not lose yourself?

Like Ms. Sandberg says, you make tradeoffs. I like to call them surges. Instead of trying to balance work and life, I rotate my priorities so I can surge in one area at a time.

The most common issue I hear from business owners who wear multiple hats is that if they stop working, the business stops as well. It doesn’t have to be that way if the proper systems and processes are set up. Here are the four guidelines I follow to juggle my business and personal priorities:

  1. Have a flexible plan with short- and long-term goals.

If both having a life and running a business are priorities, then choices must be made. When you’re setting a goal, create a time-block and stick to it.

If all day is available to complete a task, then it will probably take all day. But if you make three hours available, it will only take three hours. The trick is to come up with a realistic block of time to accomplish your goal. Creating an artificial timeline to leverage pressure will immediately accelerate your schedule and pacing.

Be flexible in setting goals. Shifting to a mindset where moving a little slower than you planned or shuffling the schedule around to accommodate other priorities can relieve feelings of pressure and guilt.

  1. Rotate the trades you’re making.

As humans, we can only handle somewhere between five and six priorities in our lives. So after choosing your priorities, it’s beneficial to try to stick with them and find a way to focus or surge on one at a time.

Personally, I have always been famous for marathoning in my professional life. When it comes to working on a project, I will work all night if that’s what it takes. In the past, I would work until I was completely burned out. My career was very successful, because I traded everything else off, and my relationships suffered because of it.

Now, I try to surge in one area by creating a time-block and focusing on that priority. I might stay up until 2 a.m. working on a blog post, and then I will take a break from it for a day or two so I can sleep a bit and focus on family priorities.

When it comes to scheduling travel for work, I only choose to be away for five days every couple of months. I don’t schedule my trips too close together because I know I want to be home, and I need to be present for the other priorities in my life. By time-blocking my travel, I can fully commit to a conference and focus on work for those five days.

  1. Ask for help. Get help.

While I’m surging one area, I’m getting help from my support system in another. This is the time to delegate and let go of responsibilities. If an activity doesn’t fit within a priority, it helps to evaluate whether it’s important. If it’s not important, you may want to drop it from the rotation.

During this process, ask yourself, “Is it important that I do that task? Or is it important that the task be completed?”

This could include anything from mowing the lawn, to buying groceries or cleaning the house. Don’t be afraid to ask for help completing these tasks, and be creative about whom to turn to.

Some options include hiring a professional or utilizing a service, like a grocery delivery service, to help get everything done.

  1. Take care of yourself.

It’s so easy to put yourself last. There are a lot of things in life that require your attention, and you can just give and give until you don’t have anything left. It can feel selfish taking time to take care of yourself, but it’s important to feed your emotions and keep your spirit high. So what does self-care look like?

  • Taking time to eat well and refuel consistently
  • Exercising however you feel is healthy for you
  • Taking time out with friends and being social
  • Making sure you laugh. Scheduling time to watch something funny on the Internet every day.
  • Feeding your brain by scheduling time blocks to educate and grow yourself.

In the past, I thought that pain was part of the journey, as I was good at pushing myself beyond where I should have. I had good results from a career standpoint, but terrible results in my self-care and my relationships. I’ve gotten better at seeing and considering the impact of the things in my rotation, and I only make decisions based on that impact.

Balance is about having everything in alignment. This isn’t realistic in a business because owners can’t stop and focus on one thing without destroying the balance. The trick is to rotate through and do a good enough job on each thing that you can keep it all functioning and not lose yourself.

What is your favorite way to take care of yourself?

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