Tag Archive for 'Wellbeing'

Balancing our work and life

Work is essential as the activity that delivers the things necessary for our survival as humans. Beyond survival, work is the lever of our intellectual curiosity and the blessing that has produced civilization.

Congratulations, civilization, because many small business owners love what they do so much that they actually don’t think about it as work – or that they would ever stop.

Alas, facing that indictment, this business owner would be guilty as charged.

B.C. Forbes (1880-1954), founder of Forbes magazine and grandfather of Steve Forbes, said, “I have known not a few men who, after reaching the summit of business success, found themselves miserable upon attaining retirement.”

Is Mr. Forbes warning us about retirement or the dangers of a life without balance? If the latter, consider this Blasingame Small Business Principle: “The work we love can morph from blessing to curse if it exists without balance.”

If you love your work, congratulations; but simultaneous with that love, make sure you also love whatever can counter-weight your work to balance the scales of your life: golf, tennis, knitting, or — and this is a big one — your child’s ball game.

Research shows that balancing our beloved work with other interests enhances physical and mental well-being, and actually increases productivity. And it makes us much more interesting and desirable to be around.

Balancing work and life is easier for employees than it is for an owner because they’re typically concerned only with their assignments. But when the proverbial “buck” stops on the owner’s desk, it’s loaded up with all of the challenges and opportunities facing every aspect of the business. And even if you’ve acquired the ability to take all of this in stride, “all of this” quite simply just takes a lot of time.

Consequently, achieving balance requires conscious intention, plus a little bit more. Finding the right combination of work and balance in the life of a small business owner requires the execution of at least three of the things that we use to achieve success in our businesses: planning, scheduling, and discipline.

The virtue of having a business or financial plan is self-evident. But we should be just as disciplined about a plan that balances work with other interests. Otherwise, paraphrasing Mr. Forbes, we may become miserable upon retirement.

Surely, the recipe for happiness includes work, relationships, and experiences that create memories.

Make sure your memories aren’t just about work.

I talked with Jim HarterChief Scientist for Gallup’s international workplace management and wellbeing practices and author of Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements, about achieving balance in life both personally and professionally. Click here to listen or download our conversation.

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