My phone was ringing off the hook, I was behind in responding to emails by several dozen exchanges and I hadn’t been home for longer than 6hr stretches in 70 days. My life –especially my personal life- was a mess. And, I quickly learned that when the world is spinning so fast everything starts to look blurry, it’s vital take a breath and press PAUSE.
We all feel the pressure to work harder, faster and longer than our competitors. We understand that the markets are getting more competitive by the day and for those of us who don’t have the resources of company’s like Google, we must make up our lack of funds with an added investment of time. But, when does working too hard become an impediment rather than a resource?
It starts when you can no longer see the light at the end of the tunnel. If your life turns into all work and no play then you are at risk of burning out which can lead to being easily irritated, forgetful and a bad manager. Think about having anchors in your life who can help pull you back when things start to shift out of balance. This can be a friend, colleague or loved one. I would never have been able to build a successful business if it weren’t for the amazing community of women (and my husband) who surround and support me.
But, why is this important? Why can’t we just lead lives as workaholics?
Well, first it’s just not healthy. But, even if you can get past this, it can ruin your business. If you are constantly working, thinking and breathing your business then you are never allowing yourself to take a step back and objectively look at the business decisions that you are making. And, this can be very dangerous.
Like everything, the key with work-life-balance is in its name: balance. Everyone functions to a different proportion and nothing is 50/50 split. If you are a mom you might want to build a business where you only work 3 days a week and if you are starting a start-up then you might want to be in the office 6 days a week. As an entrepreneur and business owner, there is no perfect recipe to how many hours you should be working every day or week.
But, when things do start to slip out of control –You’ve forgotten to respond to half a dozen important emails, you didn’t fax your client his work on time or you missed your daughters recital- be brave and push the PAUSE button. Turn off your phone (yes! Off!) and spend half a day thinking about anything but work. Try to sleep more than 6 hours or do something that brings you joy –paint, watch cartoons or play a game. Whatever it is, put some distance between you and your work. Even, when this seems like crazy advice- there is no way I can just hit Pause?!?!- taking a step back in the most dire circumstances will give you objectivity, renew your energy and help strengthen your resolve.
I challenge you to hit Pause this month. Are you up to it?