Schedule it

Commit to balancing your work and personal lives

As business owners and entrepreneurs, we’ve all experienced the vicious cycle of putting in long hours, bringing work home and dwelling on our responsibilities while we’re away from our desks. When work consumes our entire day, focusing becomes impossible. The ability to think clearly and be productive is compromised, and our relationships suffer.

Maintaining work-life balance can be difficult, but it is essential that you find ways to do it — not only for your physical and mental well-being, but for the success of your business. Whether you’re embarking on a new career or feeling unmotivated by a job that once fulfilled you, you must make time for yourself.

Prioritization is essential in maintaining work-life balance. Your to-do list is a mile long, but not every task needs your immediate attention. Review your list, choose the most important and time-sensitive tasks, and organize them by how efficiently you work. Your time and effort will be better spent first tackling the projects that stimulate and awaken your brain. The feeling of accomplishment will carry over into the tasks that are less urgent.

Next, delegate. Divide the remaining items on your list among the solid team you’ve hired and do not micromanage. You’ve spent considerable time finding and training good employees; they should be fully capable of handling those tasks. If you’re constantly hovering, convinced that your way is best, you’ve either got an incredible ego or you’ve hired the wrong people. Get the right person in that role and allow your support team to get the details right.

Maintaining a set schedule can facilitate work-life balance, not just meetings and due dates, but exercise, relaxation and time with family. It gets you into a routine. I like to take a few minutes on Sunday nights, get out my calendar and see what time commitments I’ve made for the week. Then I add activities that provide relaxation and connection — a date night with my wife, an outing with my daughters, a phone call to check in with friends. Scheduling these items is a subtle way of emphasizing their importance to my well-being.

Be sure to schedule time for exercise and activity. A good workout will release stress, allow you to think without interruptions and provide the alone time that your mind and body need.

Time management and unplugging from your devices are essential, as well.

Don’t make yourself available 24/7 to employees, contractors and vendors. Establish boundaries and set times for them to contact you. Communicate clear expectations for yourself and others. And definitely put the phone down and step away from your laptop. Don’t allow a buzzing cell phone to distract you. Turn it off and listen to music, read a magazine (print, not digital), complete a chore, talk to the neighbor — do anything but check your phone.

Incorporating periods of focus, relaxation and downtime into your daily activities will allow you to discover and put into practice that elusive work-life balance. You’ll end your day feeling good about your accomplishments, both work and personal.

Michael Jarrett is founder and president of Jarrett Logistics Systems and PackShip USA