By Tracy Stroderd
(The following column ran in FloridaToday.com on Tuesday, October 3, 2017.)
Work-life balance is different for all of us and can seem impossible at times. The lines between work time and personal time are often blurred. In an age where flexible work schedules, self-employment and contracting positions are more the norm, the distinction between the two is harder to discern.
Achieving a balance requires proper prioritization between work and lifestyle along with a clear set of boundaries that support the prioritization. You must decide what is important to you and then plan your work around that. Entrepreneurs and company founders tend to be hard driving and look for extreme productivity from their teams.
In a recent survey done by Advise America, and mirrored by my own experience with local entrepreneurs, 87 percent of the respondents admit they overwork. However, more than a third of them don’t feel overloaded. Is there a difference between working long hours and working obsessive hours? As it pertains to health, there is a difference.
During a routine checkup with my physician, he noted that it was not uncommon for up to 50 percent of the patients seen in a day or week to be complaining of stress, anxiety, sleepless nights, headaches and work overload — symptoms that seem to subside when one attains work-life balance. Unfortunately, most of the patients are looking for a quick fix vs. lifestyle changes that can lead to balance.
As a daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, entrepreneur, professor, boss and friend, I find myself juggling many relationships and responsibilities on a day-to-day basis. Managing my type 1 diabetes, struggling with perfectionism and wanting to be the best at everything that comes my way leaves little time for hobbies or relaxation. I have had to learn how to prioritize my life so that my personal wellness is a top priority. Making time for me feels selfish. It reminds me of the safety briefing we receive when flying: put on your own oxygen max before assisting others. If I don’t take care of myself, I may not get a chance to be as productive as I can be or be fully healthy and available for my family, my friends and my business.
Here are just a few tips and strategies that have I have incorporated into my life with hopes of achieving a healthier work-life balance.
1. Exercise. I hired a personal trainer and started scheduling time in my calendar. I have come to realize that without those weekly appointments in my schedule, exercising is not something I would do on my own.
2. Get plenty of rest. You have heard the adage, “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy wealthy and wise.” When I get the right amount of rest, I find my creativity, productivity and enthusiasm are on point.
3. Plan. Having a food plan is an important part of work-life balance. Without proper nutrition, you don’t have the fuel to go the distance and without a food plan, you end up eating foods that won’t support the physical and mental requirements that you are requiring of your body.
4. Delegate. Being a perfectionist, I had to learn how to delegate and stop trying to do everything on my own. I have surrounded myself with people who compliment my talents and support the vision and mission of my business.
5. Unplug. With technology and social media, it is hard to filter all the noise. I haven’t mastered this one yet, but when I do unplug, I find clarity and motivation. Unplugging for a few minutes throughout the day, a few hours in the evening or even a full day on the weekend allows you to think freely and connect with your soul.
Tracy Stroderd, MA, is the CEO of EverythingBrevard.com. Tracy is also a graduate and facilitator of the weVENTURE IGNITE 360® Business Mentoring program.
Columnist series are sponsored by weVENTURE at the Florida Institute of Technology College of Business. weVENTURE has locations in Melbourne and Rockledge. The Center is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. For more information, visit weventure.org or call 321-674-7007.
Earlier this year, the AARP Foundation awarded a $20,000 grant to weVENTURE to conduct Work for [email protected]+℠ workshops in Central Florida. This initiative is designed to help older adults assess opportunities for self-employment, build skills, and connect with resources that will enable them to create self-generated income. For more information, please visit aarpfoundation.org/workforyourself.