Creating Your Ideal Work-Life Imbalance
By Amber De La Garza
If you’re struggling with work-life balance, you’re hardly alone. In fact, 66% of U.S. workers don’t believe they’ve achieved the elusive work-life balance. And even if you have, that blissful balance may be fleeting because either your life is going to change or your business is going to grow and your balance will be thrown out of whack. While 100% work-life balance isn’t attainable long-term, there are strategies you can implement to help you get closer to that elusive balance and achieve your ideal imbalance. Why should you care? Because when your work-life balance is anything but balanced and you’re working all the time, it’s to the detriment of your health and relationships. Your sleep tends to be impaired, you’re more likely to feel depressed and stressed, and you can even have a harder time communicating, collaborating, and getting things done. Achieving your ideal imbalance will also fulfill you far more than sinking all your time and energy into your business ever will.
If achieving 100% work-life balance means spending 50% of your awake hours at work and 50% of your awake hours at play, achieving a perfect work-life imbalance means spending a desired percentage of your awake hours at work and at play depending on your current needs. That percentage is on a sliding scale and can change from season to season as your business grows, your kids or parents get older, you hire help, your passions transform, or your objectives change. Everyone’s ideal imbalance is different because everyone has different goals, businesses, visions of success, and personalities, and people are in different seasons of their lives. Give your time and attention to the activities and relationships that matter to you and measure your success creating more balance by quality time spent in those areas, not necessarily quantity of time.
Where To Make Balance Adjustments In Your Life
Especially for driven entrepreneurs, this category can expand so much that it bleeds into every area of your life or squeezes out other categories entirely. While passionately growing your real estate business, you may have fallen way out of balance and that’s completely normal. Your business is your baby and it demands a great deal of your focus, time, and energy. Staying way out of balance for extended periods is not normal, however, and will leave you feeling unfulfilled and empty, no matter how high your production. Of the 25 biggest regrets in life, not a single one is I wish I had worked more. Number one? Working so much at the expense of family and friendships. Let that sink in.
For your relationships with your partner, kids, and family to flourish, you must give them the time and attention they deserve. What does your family request of you? Which family activities do they want you to be present for? Figure out where and when you can be fully present with the people you love to meet their needs as well as your own. If your family values having dinner together every night, do your best to make that happen even if it means finishing your work after they go to bed or leaving social events early. At least you’ll be present for the activity that matters most to them and you!
Whether you have a ton of friends who need to go out every Friday and Saturday or a few select friends who like to go out once a month, you need to invest in those relationships if you want to keep them strong. It’s important for entrepreneurs to have a great support network so schedule social time as a priority. And because social invitations frequently just pop up, like when your friend texts inviting you for drinks after work, it’s even more important that you are efficient with your time during the day. Doing so will give you more time and therefore more opportunities to socialize.
Entrepreneurs can get so focused on create a business, build a business, grow a business that you forget about all the other passions you had long before you even considered a career in real estate. Or maybe you’ve recently discovered a new passion. What do you daydream about? What would you be doing today if working wasn’t an option and your financial responsibilities were taken care of? Figure out what lights you up that has nothing to do with your business and engage in those activities regularly, even if only for 15-minute stretches.
If you feel called to be out in your community working, raising money, helping out, and volunteering, you absolutely should do so. Whether it’s being a board member of your HOA, a greeter at your church, playing checkers at retirement homes, prepping meals at the food pantry, or doing walk-a-thons, find time to get involved and give back. Helping others is an enriching experience that feels good! If being one who serves others is who you are at your core and you extract joy from it, make time for it.
Self-care and sleep are typically the first things you let go as your business grows and you become more taxed with commitments. You know an adequate night’s sleep is necessary to function at your best but your sleep gets encroached upon as your plate fills up with important showings, listings, and deadlines. If you’re not getting enough sleep, it would serve you well to cut back in other areas and make sleep a priority. The same goes for self-care which is of the utmost importance if you want to be in business for the long haul and not suffer physically and emotionally draining burnouts. Are you taking good care of yourself? Or are you reaching for sugar-loaded energy drinks and highly caloric vending snacks because they’re accessible? Are you making it to your weekly yoga class or lounging around watching The Bachelor in lieu of it… again? Take care of yourself so you can be around to take care of your business.
For every area you want to create more balance in your life, establish boundaries and honor them. If part of your success schedule is starting your morning personal routine at 7 am so you have time to meditate and make a smoothie, make it a habit to put down your remote by 10 pm so you can get to bed and wake up refreshed, motivated, and on time to work your routine. Exercising self-discipline with your boundaries is necessary if you want to achieve more balance. Schedule your time purposefully and stick to your plan! No negotiating allowed except in rare circumstances as it can quickly become a nasty habit that’s hard to break. Creating your ideal work-life imbalance comes down to choosing to be productive because essentially, you’re reclaiming time from activities you’re spending too much time on, like work, and investing that time in activities you’d rather be investing your time in, like your hobbies, passion projects, family, friends, and self-care.
Want more tips and strategies to improve your personal productivity? Download my free Time Maximizers Cheat Sheet.
About the Contributor
Amber De La Garza is The Productivity Specialist! Amber is a sought-after coach, trainer, speaker, writer, host of the Productivity Straight Talk podcast, and creator of the S.T.O.P. Leverage Formula. She works with driven real estate professionals to execute actionable solutions to maximize profits, reduce stress, and make time for what matters most!