Many people talk about work-life balance, and how it is a difficult teeter-totter balancing act – but what happens when you throw working from home, working with family, and a newborn into the mix? Well, you learn how to handle that work-life-family-house-baby balance really quickly.
I am pleased (and a little nervous to be honest) to announce that I am at the very cusp of fatherhood!
My lovely wife (and the president of JSL Marketing, the company we started together) is about to have our first child, a little, lovely girl.
Now, of course, being a first-time parent is stressful. Being a business owner is stressful. And getting a new house (in preparation for the baby), growing a booming business, and working from home while all the chaos of the above surrounds us can make ‘work-life balance’ a bit of a joke.
But we didn’t want that. We didn’t want to miss out on the fun because we were buried in the stress, so we worked hard to make sure we were still healthy, balanced, and happy, even in the midst of all the upheaval of the last few months.
Keeping Your Calm
There are two parts of work-life balance – the work and the life, right? But because we have so much happening at once, the ‘life’ portion of our battle with work-life balance is really about finding calm, quiet times to unwind, to breathe, and simply be together.
We do this two ways – by turning chores into dates, and by carving out time for ourselves, even if it isn’t a lot.
First, there are so many appointments, errands, and necessities of life pulling us in multiple directions when you’re expecting a baby, closing on a house, and selling another house. We could have looked at these doctor appointments and bank meetings as chores…or we could see them as little dates.
Grabbing a coffee (decaf, of course) together before a signing, or going for a stroll after we park and before a doctor’s appointment can make a ‘chore’ feel more life quality time. Plus, you still get to accomplish your errand!
The second way we find our calm is by trying to consciously slow down and make time for each other. It might only be a 60-minute show, or 30-minute devotional together, but it is something we plan for, look forward to, and fiercely protect.
Keeping Your Drive
The ‘work’ portion of the work-life balance can be overwhelming too – as burnout isn’t uncommon, especially for startup presidents and CEOs. Luckily, we find our motivation each and every day not only for our clients and each other, but for our desire to be the best and to turn JSL Marketing into a household name.
Focusing on your future goals, without losing sight of the present, is a huge part of keeping your drive strong.
Both my wife and I are hard workers, which makes our teeter-totter often lean more towards work than ‘life’, and maybe you’re the same way. Whichever direction you tend to lean, make sure you have people around you who can pull you back to the center with a kind word or a logical argument.
My wife and I motivate each other to keep our drive (and having a little one fast on the way helps too). Think about why you do what you do, and then hitch that thought to your drive for the future when you need the boost.
All of the above is really just about finding balance, your own personal balance. And whether you have a new house, baby, job, city, and business, or just one of those things, your balance won’t look like everyone else’s.
That’s why it’s important to remember that balance isn’t something you ‘get’ one time and then never have to work at again, and it isn’t like riding a bike. It is something you constantly have to tweak, relearn, and monitor.
So, don’t get upset if you fall off that teeter-totter sometimes, just dust yourself off, hop back on, and try it again.
JamesLeff.com Coming Soon