I’m in a privileged position. I work for myself and run a successful business. In a typical week, I’ll work Monday to Thursday from nine to five and knock off early on Friday to have a long weekend with my family. I travel three to four times a year and don’t have to worry about how much annual leave I’ve got owing.
The thing is, my life hasn’t always been like this. For twelve years, I worked 80 to 100 hour weeks. In my 20’s I didn’t have weekends – I saw clients. The result was that I built a solid business for myself.
Life got tricky when I got married and had my daughter. The long hours and weekend-less weeks started to take a toll. I knew something needed to change. I wanted to spend more time with my family – money can’t buy that. So I decided to make a change.
Here are my top tips to nailing work-life balance:
1. Earn the right to have a flexible life
In my experience, building a life you want doesn’t happen overnight. You’ve got to work hard to establish yourself and your reputation before you can start making lifestyle choices. It’s great to have a flexible lifestyle as a goal, but you need to do the ground work to get there.
2. Set boundaries
If you want flexibility, you need to take control of your client relationships and set boundaries.
Set the days and times you work, make sure you book meetings ahead of time – you don’t have to drop everything if a client can only do a meeting today.
It’s about being in charge and managing your work flow. It’s so easy to fall into bad habits and become a slave to your clients.
3. Value yourself
Setting boundaries for clients wasn’t an easy thing for me to do – being available is how I built my business.
It took me awhile to realise that people value what I’ve got to offer and they’re prepared to fit in with me. It comes down to setting clear expectations and making sure you deliver on those.
Creating a life that works for you doesn’t just happen, but if you work hard and make the right choices when the time's right, it’s absolutely achievable.