Setting Boundaries: The Importance of Work-Life Balance
Work-life balance has recently become a common priority among most people. Families want to spend more time together, and people in general are yearning for a way to have a distinct separation between their work and home life. In recent years, I’ve begun to prioritize the same thing, wanting nothing more than to be a successful businesswoman without losing myself in the process. As a CEO, somedays it feels seemingly impossible for me to have a life outside of my business. On one hand, it’s a good thing because it means that my business is doing great things that require my attention, but on the other hand, it’s less than desirable because I have virtually no time for myself. I know many of you can relate to this catch-22.
So, whether you want to make it to all of your kids’ recitals or soccer games, or you simply don’t want to take conference calls before 10 a.m., I completely understand. It’s important, though, that you do the work to establish the appropriate boundaries that work for your specific situation and stick with them!
With the launch of my new book, This Is Only a Test: What Breast Cancer Taught Me About Faith, Love, Hair, and Business, and the spotlight I’ve been shining on self-care, I’ve taken it upon myself to implement new habits that allow me to be proactive about my work-life balance. My motto as of late has been, “Work smarter, not harder!” In my book, I talk about how difficult it was for me to let go of my workaholic ways. I was 110% invested in my business, which is great, but it left very little time for me to take care of myself the way I needed to. Without even realizing it, I was drained, and my body ended up suffering the consequences.
Since I’ve discovered my tendency to overwork and the toll it can take on my health, I’ve made it a mission to prioritize a healthy work-life balance and have even gone so far as to talk with my TGIN team to come up with the following boundaries and expectations that I have going forward around my events, meetings, and shows. Perhaps seeing the boundaries I set up for my work life will inspire you to take action in making your personal life more of a priority, too!
- Limit the number of monthly events I attend: Events, specifically conferences and trade shows, are generally pretty draining. They often involve hours upon hours of interacting with customers and business partners, actively participating in meet and greets, and even engaging in deep discussions/interviews. I love attending these events, but at this point, I am only willing to go to four to six of them per month, so I can interact with my fellow businesspeople and customers and still maintain some semblance of sanity. In addition, I’d prefer to only attend events in Chicago, as I’d like to keep travel to a minimum or do a better job of managing it, so it does not become overwhelming with my other business obligations for the company.
- Limit my number of out-of-town trips: Similar to huge events, traveling is very draining, especially if I’m expected to travel into a different time zone; jet lag is no joke! So, I’ve decided to limit myself to only one out-of-town trip per month, two if it is absolutely necessary. Out-of-town trips can easily become overwhelming for both myself and my team with all of the many pieces that go into making them run smoothly (airfare, hotel, rental cars, itinerary, etc.).
- Avoid weekend engagements if possible: I like to reserve my weekends for some much needed R&R, so I can show up in the best way possible for my team during the workweek. So while I prefer not to work on weekends at all, especially Saturdays, I am open to attend some weekend engagements if my attendance is truly necessary. To preserve my sanity and maintain a somewhat decent sleep schedule, I would prefer not to attend any early morning events (e.g. 8 a.m. start times).
- Share/plan my schedule well in advance: I’ve asked my team to share my schedule for the next 30 to 90 days with business partners and other team members, so out-of-state events can be planned efficiently according to my schedule. For instance, if I have a business trip in New York in September, my team could include a New York consumer event in my schedule or maybe a meeting with a company headquartered in the city since I’d already be in town. I want to work smarter, not harder and would prefer to not zip back and forth across the country when things can be coordinated more efficiently.
- Delegate tasks when possible: Finally, I’ve asked my team to be creative and think about how they can chip in with marketing and publicity. Perhaps there are panels they can serve on in my place to talk about their role at tgin, what they’ve learned working in the beauty biz, what they’ve learned working at a startup, etc. Having other faces representing the business can be great for our marketing strategy and can also lessen my load in the long-term.
At this point in my professional career, a healthy work-life balance is of the utmost importance to me. It ensures that I stay as healthy as possible and preserves my energy, so I can show up as the productive, clear-minded leader my team and company need me to be. By setting clear boundaries and sticking with them, I’m creating a better environment that will allow me to work smarter, not harder. I hope you’ll join me in creating the work-life balance you deserve!
What boundaries do you need to set? What are your tips for maintaining a healthy work life balance?