Keeping a sensible balance between the time you spend working and your free time can be a major challenge in all types of business, but there are some simple steps you can take to give yourself the best possible chance of striking a healthy balance.
1. Outline your Ambitions
Know what you are aiming for, and it’s easier to know when you’ve reached your targets – and when it’s time to relax.
2. Manage Yourself
Whether you work for yourself, or for somebody else, it’s always good to control your environment as much as possible.
Get a grip of yourself, and steadily increase your self-control over time, and you can gradually remove some of the outside elements that can disrupt your working time.
3. The Comfort Zone
Know where your limits lie, and when to challenge yourself – some people thrive on a challenge, while others can’t cope with the stress, so it’s all about working in the way that best suits you.
4. Track Technology
Each new innovation you hear about is worth a moment’s attention to decide whether it’s something you will need to know about in detail.
You don’t want to get left behind, so make sure you try out things like Twitter, smartphones, tablets and so on, along with anything specific to your industry that might be relevant.
5. Make Some Space
It’s not just physical space that’s important for you to work in – keep some room in your schedule to try out new things and new ideas, and you can avoid getting stuck in a rut.
6. Key Relationships
Each of us thrives on certain core business relationships, so identify these and nurture them – they will provide the strong stem on which the leaves of your working life can grow.
7. Move the Goalposts
There’s nothing wrong with redefining success as you move through your career – either because you’ve achieved your previous goal, or because of a change in external circumstances.
8. Results and Reward
Learn to define success based on results – while time is money, sometimes you’ll need to put in some extra effort to achieve a positive outcome, so be realistic about when it’s worth doing so, and when you need to take a break.
9. Positive Thinking
It can sound like a cliche, but staying positive really can help you to smooth over any bumps in the road, while making your ambitions feel achievable to keep you on course during the time you spend at work.
10. Deal with Change
Innovations like the internet, and the flexible working conditions it has brought about, mean working lives are changing all the time, so deal with it!
As we find new ways to work, they can subtly or dramatically change how we balance our work and personal lives, and that can take some adapting to.
But to get the balance spot-on, you’ll need to keep your focus throughout your career, and make the decisions that are necessary to make sure you get some time to relax, reflect, and recharge your batteries.