Does Balance Really Exist When You Own a Business?
Jessica Fialkovich | @jfialkovich
Hey, Broads. I have been writing on the The Broadview Denver about women and entrepreneurship for a few months and feel it’s time we officially meet. I am a Colorado transplant from New Jersey (yes I am obsessed with Bruce Springsteen), an early riser (somedays), an avid outdoors person, and owner of two businesses in the Denver area. Like you I also play many of the unending roles a woman faces like wife, daughter, sister, friend, volunteer, leader, mentor, and at some point I would like to add mother to my list. I have struggled for years searching for the concept of work-life balance and finally come to the realization it does not exist.
Recently, Forbes published an article claiming there is no work-life balance but rather a work-life rhythm: a basic illustration of ebb and flow when one aspect of your life may dominate more than another. Reading the article was a light bulb moment for me and an explanation of exactly how my life operates. Some weeks I run around like sh*t’s on fire, meeting to meeting and endless workdays. Other weeks I take off on a Tuesday and go skiing. However, the ebb and flow is what attracts crazy people like us to this entrepreneurial lifestyle; we have the ability to adapt and move with the flow.
To maximize my work-life rhythm, I have found the following strategies helpful to make sure my rhythm does not fall out of whack.
Keep mornings sacred. There is something about the peace in the morning that I love. I have a dedicated routine every morning to start my day off in a calm, positive manner. My routine includes meditation, visualization, journaling, and a workout.
Stack meeting days. You can get sucked into a vortex of never-ending meetings, to the point you wake up and are not even sure with whom you are meeting and why. I reserve two days per week for meetings; the rest of the week is for me to be productive.
Schedule life things. If something on my “life” side is important, I schedule it. It goes into my calendar as a red color-coded event, which my assistant knows not to move. Schedule life things like gym time, hiking, vacations, or time with family/friends.
Schedule free days. A free day was a concept a friend brought to me a few months ago, and it was life changing. Schedule a free day (explained here) at least once a week to give your body and mind time to recharge. Once a week may seem difficult, but start with a day you don’t typically work like Sundays.
Say no. Ok, I have to admit I am terrible at this one. I have a quote on my wall that reads, “If it is not a HELL yes, it is a HELL no.” I think it’s Richard Branson paraphrased. If you say yes to something, you are saying no to something else. So are you saying yes to the right things?
As a dual-business owner, I do not believe there is a difference between work and life. Entrepreneurs, to a fault, love to work; it is what we are passionate about and what we love--to create! Chasing the elusive concept of “balance” will ultimately leave us unhappy and frustrated. However, if we can manage the rhythms and the flow maybe, just maybe, we can begin to find a bit more harmony in our lives.