Finding the right work/life balance

“My work is my life.”

How many times have you heard a Type A business owner proudly and defiantly make such a comment?

Of course, running a business is not a 9 to 5 job. But if you’re in the office every day from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., plus extra time on the weekends, you may have crossed the line from dedication to obsession.

And that’s not healthy for you, your employees or your company.

Finding the right balance between work and family and social life is never easy for hard-driving business owners. While your business is important, you don’t want to reach the point where company matters are all that matter.

Just because you work long hours doesn’t mean you’re a workaholic. But if you find that you only talk about your work; constantly miss social engagements with family and friends; suffer from physical disorders (headaches, fatigue, indigestion); and are often restless, irritable and impatient, you need to rebalance your priorities.

According to leadership experts, these kinds of behaviors not only are destructive to your health and relationships but also are counterproductive.  And keep in mind that, like it or not, you are a role model for your employees. If your company is really serious about wellness, you have to lead the way.

So what can you do to achieve a work/life equilibrium that’s right for you and your situation? The key is to set priorities and take control of your time. Here are five suggestions and ideas.

Build downtime into your schedule. WebMD recommends that, when you plan your week, make a point of scheduling time for family, friends and activities that help you recharge.

Eliminate activities that sap your time and energy. Examine your work and personal habits. Don’t waste time on activities – or people – that add no value or joy to your life.

Get moving! A little bit of exercise can help clear your mind and relieve stress. Take walks with your family or dog. Even if you’re office-bound, find a minute or two each hour for stretching exercises at your desk.

Get away, both physically and mentally. Spend a few hours a week on a favorite hobby. Go to the park. Just do anything you enjoy that will take you away from your work.

Put your priorities in order. Remember that, whenever possible, work should be shaped to accommodate life, not vice versa.

About Ken Dallafior

Ken Dallafior is Senior Vice President, Group Business and Corporate Marketing at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM). Dallafior leads BCBSM's group sales force, oversees corporate marketing and product development, and develops and implements key corporate strategies. He also provides leadership to critical sales operations such as agent relations and commissions, sales incentives and complex issue resolution for group customers and sales agents. In addition to working in the insurance industry for nearly two decades, Dallafior played professional football from 1982 to 1992. He is founder and board member of the Detroit Lions Courage House.
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