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Work life balance - a workable reality

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Many of us in small business would describe our work-life balance as precarious at best — but is it possible to make that dream a workable reality?

Believe it or not, it’s not your business that’s getting in the way of you achieving this balance — it’s you.

You’re — as most of us in small business are — a junkie.

Don’t believe me? Let’s look a little closer at the signs. 

Do you click send/receive every few minutes despite a torrent of emails flooding your inbox?

Do you drive fast, even on Sundays?
And — no matter how hard you try — can you not sit still?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above, chances are you’re an adrenaline junkie.

“The adrenaline junkie is the one who thrives on deadlines,” explains Matt Church, a good mate of mine and a specialist in productivity, burnout and passion.

“The more stressed they are, the better. The problem with that is that it’s exhausting, not just for you, but for other people.”

Exhausting, yes. Effective, no.

Church tells me that adrenaline fatigue leaves you flat, apathetic and feeling lacklustre— if you’re still running, you can guarantee you’re running on empty!

So what is adrenaline fatigue? And, more importantly, how can you avoid it?

Church says adrenaline is a drug like a “high octane fuel” and you only have about three hours worth of it each day. Once it runs out, your system kicks over to cortisol.

Cortisol, Church tells me, feels exactly the same until you stop and then it hits you like a Mack truck.

“You can keep going a hundred miles an hour, doing a million things at once. But our body can’t keep up with that continuing response and is now using cortisol.”

The difference between the two is key. Cortisol is like the poor cousin of adrenaline – the street drug equivalent, if you will — complete with all the nasty side effects.

“On cortisol, your blood pressure’s going up, you’re putting on weight, and you’re getting snappy and short-tempered with people who are very, very close to you.”

Snappy? Short-tempered? For many, these are the hallmarks of running a small business! (If you don’t believe me, ask your husband/wife/children/dog!)

But I’m sure you’ll be relieved to hear that it doesn’t have to be this way.

To get off the cortisol, Church encourages you to get back to basics. Increase your vitamin C intake, drink more water and be religious with the regularity of your sleep.

Think of it as investing in you.
Again, the key is to strike a balance.

Balance is crucial to ensure you’re at peak performance in a highly-competitive marketplace, as no doubt you are. Balance is even more crucial to be sure you have enough energy left over when ‘home time’ rolls around.

But how do you find, and more importantly, maintain this balance?

Church believes it’s crucial to do a lifestyle audit.

Admitting you have a problem is the first step: a lifestyle audit helps you assess your behaviour, and offers perspective. “

Church tells me that by developing some awareness about the choices you’re making, the consequence is you can make better choices.

So, what’s your choice?

Work on your business, not in it. To learn how, book a complimentary business assessment today with a Switzer Business Coach.

Important information:This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.

Published on: Tuesday, March 30, 2010

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