There's No Such Thing as Work-Life Balance—Just Choices
Let me be the first to say—there’s no such thing as work-life balance just choices. I say this because people always ask me, “How do you balance everything that you’re doing? Did you quit your full-time job?” And the answer is no. I didn’t quit my full-time job and I don’t balance anything—I make choices. Every single day I wake up and decide what I need to achieve to be who I want to be, see what I want to see, go where I want to go and do what I want to do. It’s a choice and here’s how I choose...what about you?
C: calendar...every Sunday I make a list of 7-10 things I want to accomplish by the end of the week. I start with 7 because 7 equates to one task per day and me doing at least one task a day for my goals and my dreams is mandatory. Once I have my list, I calendar it. I look at my full-time work schedule and I carve out at least one hour a day to do my one thing. Some days I can carve out the hour on my lunch break. Other times I report to my full-time job one hour early or I stay one hour late. And when I can’t do any of the three, I come home after work, I eat dinner, I spend time with my fiancé and then I work on heyFRIEND while he’s sleeping. So no friends, I don’t have balance—I make choices.
H: hack...in addition to carving out an hour here and an hour there I also hack the time I spend waiting. The average American spends 5-10 days each year waiting. 20 minutes a day waiting for the bus/train, 32 minutes when seeing the doctor, 28 minutes in TSA security lines, 21 minutes waiting for a significant other to get dressed, 13 hours on hold with customer service, 38 hours in traffic and 3 days waiting in lines. That’s a lot of minutes to get ish done so I get ish done. Instead of waiting, I hack my time and you can too to be who you want to be and do what you want to do.
O: omit...I omit daily and I omit daily in two ways. #1) I omit the people, places and things that don’t bring me purpose, passion or profits and this isn’t always easy to do. But it’s necessary because time is a precious commodity and every day there’s something and someone that wants to steal it i.e., binge-watching tv, distractions, procrastination, lack of discipline, laziness, meetings for the sake of meeting and negativity to name a few. #2) I omit the things that I don’t physically need to do because everything that you do DOES NOT have to be done by you. There is a thing called bartering, a thing called delegating and a thing called outsourcing and I do all three. For example, I usually meal-prep on Sundays but meal-prepping takes me 3-4 hours. Some weeks I commit to the 3-4 hours to prep my own food but other weeks I reclaim my time and I go to Fred & Ricky’s; thereby buying myself an extra 3-4 hours to choose work or to choose life.
O: obey bae...I’m a workaholic and I haven’t always admitted this but I am. And when you have this gene you have to learn how to turn off or have people around you that can help you unplug and turn off. If not, you will crash and if you continue to crash your brand/business won’t last. Me personally, I don’t know to relax, relate and release so I have to obey my bae. If and when he feels like I need a break, he takes my computer away. If he feels like I need to eat, sleep or pee he tells me and yes sometimes I forget to do all three. If he feels like I need to choose work less and choose life more, he tells me that too. So listen to your body and listen to your bae—they love you, they care about you and they want you to succeed but they also know when you should eat, sleep and pee.
S: sacrifice...working a 9 to 5 while growing a business on the side takes sacrifice. Sacrifice in the form of money, sacrifice in the form of time and sacrifice in the form of wine. Yes, I said wine because sometimes I can’t go out and hang like I used to. And out of all of the choices I have to make every single day, sacrifice is probably the hardest of them all. Sacrifice is the difference between me shopping for clothes or investing in heyFRIEND. Sacrifice is the difference between me Netflix and Chilling or working on heyFRIEND. Sacrifice is the difference between me sleeping in or working on heyFRIEND. Sacrifice is the difference between me using my PTO to vaca with bae or me using my PTO to do heyFRIEND thangs. Sacrifice is the difference and it makes the difference too when it comes to living a dream you want to live or living a dream someone else chooses for you.
E: evaluate...weekly evaluation and reflection is key to make sure you are doing the things you need to do to move your projects, dreams, hopes, goals, visions, businesses and brands forward. So every Sunday before I make my list, I reflect and evaluate the prior week’s accomplishments. What was the return on my investment? Did they bring me passion, purpose or profits? And do I need to pivot? Without these weekly evaluations, reflections and come to Jesus moments it can be easy for me to hop on a continuously spinning hamster wheel of tasks that don’t add value but make me burn and crash, easy for me to do everything good but nothing great and easy for me to always be one dollar short and one day late. None of these things are a-ok because business owners, especially solopreneurs, need to learn how to work on their businesses and not always in their businesses and there’s a difference. A big difference! Working on the business allows you to think strategically and to use your time effectively so that when it is time to work in the business you have the forethought and tools you need to succeed.
And on that note...be great, have a nice day and make the choices you need to make to be who you want to be, see what you want to see, go where you want to go and do what you want to do because life doesn’t have balance just choices so choose wisely.