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Putting the balance into work/life balance

Wednesday, 2 February 2011 | By Tammy May

Work/life balance has become a hot topic in the past five to 10 years, with increasing numbers of entrepreneurs admitting they don’t achieve it, others aspiring to it, and some dismissing it all together.

 

For me, balance is certainly something I try to maintain in my life because I know I’m happier, as are my children and husband, as well as my team.

 

As a start-up entrepreneur it can be difficult to find the happy medium between the time you spend working (even if it isn’t at the office but at the dining room table) and the time you have with your family, friends, or playing sport, gardening and anything else you do to wind down.

 

However, balance is something you will need to work at – not just in the early stages, but also as your business grows.

 

There is a struggle, particularly in the early years of running your own business, between the desire to work all the hours in the day so you can get money coming in the door and the desire to not completely lose touch with those closest to you.

 

Usually, if you have taken that leap to start up a new enterprise, it is something that you enjoy and are passionate about, so it is highly satisfying and rewarding when things are going to plan.

 

However, if you leave the office and realise everything is not going to plan at home, all that satisfaction when you shut down your laptop at work can go out the window.

 

Certainly, MyBudget could have grown at a quicker pace had I chosen to focus all my attention on it. But at what cost?

 

I chose to have balance in my life and do not regret this decision. For me being happy at home means I’m happy at work and vice versa.

 

Making time for my family is always a top priority because this keeps me balanced and content at work. There are times, of course, when work demanded more hours, so of course I did this because I wanted MyBudget to be a success.

 

To offset the heavy workload periods we would take time out together, get out of the house and head away on a holiday somewhere.

 

This way, my focus can truly be on the family, and we can relax and have fun without the distraction of home and work life.

 

Further to this, staying active is really important and something that gives me balance. I play basketball regularly and love the team atmosphere and the outlet it provides from the office.

 

Sneaking in a walk or run when I can helps me to clear my head and stay healthy. In fact, each year MyBudget puts a team in the Adelaide City to Bay Fun Run.

It is difficult to achieve the ideal of work/life balance if you don’t have good support at the office, home and from friends and family.

 

With support comes understanding that sometimes not everything runs to plan and it’s not going to be perfect, but everyone knows you are trying to make it work.

 

As the saying goes, ‘No one says on their deathbed that they wish they had spent more time at the office’. This rings true for me. It is so important to work to live rather than live to work.

 

Five top tips to achieving balance:

  • You need to make the time for your family and friends, as it won’t just happen.
  • Be happy with your work/life balance choices – I am always happy when I’m at work (not wishing I was home) and always happy when I am home (not wishing I was at work).
  • Make sure the time you spend with your family is truly focused on them. For me, it works by going on a holiday together.
  • Maintain your hobbies and socialising as this will help you to wind down.
  • Keep a good support group of family, friends and colleagues around you as these will be the people who need to understand when things aren’t going well or if you’re busy.

 

Tammy May is founder and director of MyBudget.