Highly effective people generally understand the need for leading a balanced life. Achieving success is a marathon requiring careful pacing that nurtures all of our physical, mental and spiritual needs along the way.
This is especially true for intentional parents who wish to be a continuously positive force in their children’s lives. Being heads down until you make it from life-point A to life-point B may help one achieve some modest success. But it will personally exhaust you and destroy all your key relationships before you can achieve anything truly remarkable.
Having children was the greatest reminder to me that life is not a dress rehearsal. My kids would grow and evolve whether or not I invested the time to be the parent I wanted to be.
But how do we achieve the balance we need to stay energized for our professional goals without sacrificing all that life is about?
The balance wheel of life is a terrific productivity tool for helping us do just that.
Why You Should Use the Wheel of Life as a Productivity Tool
Parenting ultimately helps us to broaden our definition of success beyond simple career achievements to include raising our children well.
Work-life balance becomes a sign of strength and focus instead of something counter to getting ahead.
Research shows that when parents prioritize work-life balance it:
- Lowers levels of family conflict
- Increases job and life satisfaction
- Lowers stress levels
- Improves overall work performance
The key to using the balance wheel to achieve work-life balance striving to invest effort into all the core areas of your life as opposed to just a few. Below is an example of both a balanced and unbalanced wheel.
To create your own balance wheel, rank your satisfaction on a scale of 1-10 in each of the categories. If your rankings vary dramatically, your life is unbalanced.
Keep in mind that your wheel of life will always be a work in progress so, you should strive to have similar, not necessarily equal, values in all the categories.
How to Balance Your Wheel of Life and Still Achieve Your Business Goals
Many ambitious people struggle to balance their wheel of life because they view work and life as competing priorities where focusing more on one means putting less effort into the other.
But the life wheel shows us that if we put too much emphasis on narrow career goals, personal health, family, spiritual development, civic engagement, or friends, our wheels become lopsided and our ride gets clunky. We are unable to move smoothly down the road. We lose energy and diminish our ability to lead or contribute fully to our professional teams.
In this sense, finding balance with family, life and career are actually one-in-the-same.
Here are three ways you can balance your wheel of life while achieving your business goals:
1) Choose Your Goals with Life in Mind
Balancing your wheel of life begins with setting goals that enable you to thrive in multiple areas of your life. If you set goals for each area individually, you’re likely to set yourself up for burnout since you’re focused on too many things.
Instead, create goals that satisfy multiple sections of the wheel. If you’re used to having a strict work/life separation this may be difficult, but it will make your goals far more meaningful.
My engagement with Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) is one example of how I’ve been able to achieve several inner needs at once. EO provides opportunity to practice leadership skills, foster community, gain business development and friendships all at the same time.
Philanthropy groups can similarly provide opportunity to give back in your community, while gaining prominence and visibility to promote your company or your personal brand.
When you prioritize your activities based on their ability address multiple inner needs and desires, your life gain the balance you need to run the marathon to success.
2) Hire Talented People
Many entrepreneurs and business leaders fall into the trap of thinking they are the only ones who can bring their vision to life. That belief is one of the biggest drivers of poor work-life balance and, often, the hardest issues for passionate leaders to overcome.
Learning to trust the people around me to execute on key business initiatives has made everything about my business and life more fulfilling. I’ve come to find great joy in coaching individuals to achieve their own goals in support of Prialto such that we have jointly initiated a virtuous cycle of achievement-growth-benefit-and-internal inspiration. In the last few years, we’ve been able to deliver on both tangible and existential goals, as salaries for key individuals have dramatically grown and professional responsibility and achievement has increased.
3) Delegate and Eliminate as Many Tasks as Possible
A report found that business leaders (executives and entrepreneurs) waste an average of 21.8 hours a week on unimportant tasks. This includes:
- Working on low value tasks
- Dealing with low value conversations and interruptions
- Solving preventable problems
- Attending unproductive meetings
Delegating and eliminating tasks that don’t require your authority or expertise is one of the fastest and most effective ways to improve your work-life balance.
If there are zero or minimal consequences for not doing tasks, stop doing them. However, for low-value tasks that must be done, delegate them to a subordinate or outsourced help.
Eliminating simple and complex tasks is hugely liberating. The email ping-pong involved in scheduling is surprisingly time-consuming. I’ve largely eliminated it by passing it over to my Prialto PA. There was a time very recently when I still felt I needed to touch every sale, speaking directly with a new prospect and making sure I was on every new-customer onboarding call. But mentoring others to drive all of this activity has led to more predictable growth and freed time for me to better steer the company.
Nothing is more delightful than seeing others find pride from their own confidence in performing work that used to weigh me down. It is a win for everyone involved and it frees time for me to increase the focus on balance and forward motion for me, my company, my career, my family and my friends.