In today’s world where we see companies like Google filling their roster with smiling employees, it’s easy to get a little jealous. If there is one thing we all long for, it’s to be happy. Happy at work, happy at home—balance is something we strive for in our daily lives. Martin Bjergegaard and Jordan Milne are two entrepreneurs who decided to ask the question, “How do successful entrepreneurs manage to achieve a healthy work-life balance?” The answer to their question was recorded in their book, Winning Without Losing, which includes 66 strategies for any professional to work toward their own healthy work-life balance.
Having the chance to speak with Martin personally, I asked him, “What are the top 5 ways to reach the goal?” Although there are many strategies there can be used, Martin listed the following five tips that include not only bigger strategies, but also simple acts that can help anyone achieve better Work-Life Balance:
Be part of a great team
If you want to be able to combine success with work-life balance and a great life quality, the first thing you need to make sure is that you are part of a great team. No one can make it all alone. Work together with people who have similar values but different skills sets. Invest in the relationship. Be open, honest and trustworthy. Make the difficult decisions when needed; nothing is static, so sooner or later someone may have to leave the team for it to continue to be ideal for the mission you are on.
Make a today list
A To-Do list is one of the most common organizational tools used today. I will agree that it feels good to be able to write down what you need to do, and the accomplishing rush of striking out a recently completed task makes the To-Do list almost fun and reassuring. An issue with a To-Do list is that it keeps growing, and can sometimes cause stress when more tasks are being added faster than they can be scratched off. Instead, make a “Today List”. Keep the list small, with maximum three items of top priority for TODAY. Scratch them off early in the day, and get that accomplished feeling!
Learn to let go
No matter how successful you get, it won’t help you get a good balance in life unless you learn the crucial ability of letting go. There will always be a million tasks to do—more than anyone can do in a lifetime. That’s the nature of the beast, and the only thing we can do is not to take ourselves too seriously. Do your best, but realize that some things are just out of your control. In the big picture, many things don’t matter that much anyway. Go easy on yourself and your loved ones.
Take a meeting while walking
Meetings tend to be the main culprit of filling up your busy schedule. We have this preconceived notion that a meeting must take place in a room, around a table, and focused solely on a monotonous task. Being shifted from room to room, day after day, can be mentally and creatively draining. So take the initiative and reinvent the meeting. Leave the room with your colleagues and go for walk, bike ride, or run. Change the setting and get your creative juices flowing throughout your team. Discuss your work and you may find alternative solutions tend to arise in the more welcoming atmosphere.
Know what matters to you
Our agenda can easily get filled up with tons of commitments, meetings, activities, and to-do’s. But what really matters to you? On an overall level what mission are you out to accomplish and why? You can only stick to your priorities if you know them—and remind yourself about them often. Make sure to do those things you truly enjoy, and reach those goals that you dream of. You can do that and still have balance, as long as you are aware and able to say no to those tasks that may seem intriguing, but are really not that important to you.
These five simple tips can be used as stepping-stones toward achieving a healthier work-life balance. A common theme here is that you need to realize what makes you happy—you should never have to sacrifice your own happiness for work, so make sure your own priorities factor into the decisions you make.