What would you do with two more hours in the day?
What we’d do if we had more time has come up a lot in my recent conversations. The consensus seems to be that if we had two more hours each day, we’d just want a couple more. There’s never enough time. Among most of the folks I’ve talked to, we seem to agree that we’d definitely spend more time with our loved ones, probably read more and possibly exercise if we had more time. Intellectually, we all know that when we take better care of ourselves, we’re better at everything else in our lives. But knowing it and actually making time for it, especially when running a business, are two different things. After spending a bit (a lot) of time reflecting on this when I’m not sleeping, exercising and/or reading, I’ve arrived at a few personal truths when it comes to self-care.
Make time for the people you love
It’s so easy to get caught up in work. We think about it all the time. We stay late, we come in early and we bring work home with us. But, when work is our whole life, those we care about most get the shaft. At some point, we have to turn off those work thoughts and focus on our loved ones. Making time to go out to dinner or to a concert with my husband, play with my rescued huskies Rufus and Roxanne or get drinks with my friends helps me feel more relaxed, which puts me in a better position to tackle my to-do list the following day.
Make time for the things you love to do
As leaders, we prioritize teaching others and making sure they have what they need to move forward. We also keep up with the latest in our professional fields. But sometimes we need to devote time to learning about the things that interest us personally. If you know me, you’ll know that I’m passionate about the Green Bay Packers (this is going to be our year!), politics, women’s advocacy, animals and history. When I spend some time digging into these interests, I feel happier and more energized about my work.
Make time to give back
Applying your professional skills to volunteer work can give you renewed energy and enthusiasm. It provides a creative break, a new perspective and some margin to experiment with new ideas. Teaching others gives you new insights on things that you’ve been doing for years. Doing work for causes that I believe in, like working on projects for friends starting up or expanding their businesses and volunteering for charities and political campaigns, gives me a renewed sense of purpose and makes me feel like I’m making a difference in the world.
Make time for your health
We all know the basics for good health – get enough sleep, drink lots of water, be active and eat healthy foods – but it’s hard to find time to stay on top of all of those while running a business. And work travel and/or stress can certainly derail the best of intentions. When we are physically balanced, we are more likely to feel mentally and emotionally healthy as well. In my own life, I’ve also learned that for some of us, staying healthy takes a bit more work. I’ve noticed that taking a fitness class, going for a run, eating healthy meals and getting a good night’s sleep all make a big difference in my day. My assistant kindly reminds me from time to time that I might need a few miles to take the edge off. As leaders, we have countless priorities vying for our attention. Our ongoing challenge is to determine what is most important and adjust our focus to align with that. Sometimes that choice needs to be a personal one, rather than a professional one because making time for ourselves helps us grow as people and makes us better prepared to care for our businesses. We’ll never get two more hours in the day. But we can make all 24 count. Who’s with me?