An overworked concept?
Work-life balance is a concept that has been dragged out and discussed time and time again. It’s a perennial favourite because, as much as we’re aware that a balance of the two is healthy and productive, we’re not always good at maintaining it.
For entrepreneurs and others in high-demand jobs, achieving a good balance between work and other priorities may be harder still.
So, how do you maintain a good work-life balance?
This is the question we put to a group of entrepreneurs and busy professionals. Beyond the lists, the tips, the click-bait titles, how do busy people keep on top of everything? Some do it well, others have room for improvement (don’t we all?). In this series, they share how they manage their work-life balance.
First in our Achieving Balance series is Jan Meyer, the CEO and Owner of Rutherford and Meyer.
What do you day-to-day/long term to ensure you have a good work-life balance?
It is difficult and I’m lucky to have a husband (Russell) who has a much more laid back attitude to work than I do. This is not a negative, but having two people in a relationship who are both so focused would be difficult and detrimental to the wellbeing of the children and our relationship.
Exercise is hugely important to my wellbeing. My day starts early-ish (5:30am) with exercise and then ends early as a consequence. I enjoy daytime more than evening. I am not a big TV water and would rather read a book – that is my downtime. Russell would argue that downtime is a tidy house!
What tools do you use to help you maintain work-life balance?
None, unless you count my Outlook calendar. Generally I remember what is happening each week. I am just very organised both at work and at home. The children will tell you if they want anything organised/sorted out, they will come to me, and if they want anything fun done/picked up from somewhere/dropped off somewhere/and so forth, they’ll go to Russell. It is hugely important that we are so different, as it makes for great balanced environment for the children.
Do you think you’re good at keeping a good balance?
Yes. Although work is my focus, I ensure that I undertake activities that support the children and keep me involved in the community. I choose to do things that I can do primarily from my desk regardless of where I am in the world. I also make sure that I take time to go to the children’s activities both during the day, at night or on the weekend.
How do you choose what to prioritise in both work and life?
Work takes priority unless there is something that the I need to be at for the children. I always ensure that I make time for them.
The reason for work taking priority is that as a CEO & owner there are a large number of stakeholders who rely on the business producing positive results. Additionally I am competitive and like to see positive results.
What’s your advice to other people who feel like they struggle with work-life balance?
You need to make a decision about what your focus is and to accept it. When you own a business or are the CEO of a company, you need to understand your vision and that will drive your focus. If your focus is to having a growing business, then I don’t believe you can have both work and lifestyle at the same time.
I firmly believe that there are stages in your life where work and life mean different things. Currently life outside work is around the children. We have two children that are very active and our focus is around them and their activities. Thus my downtime is currently centred around them with my friends taking a bit more of a backseat – that doesn’t mean I don’t like to have a glass of wine!
When they [the children] leave home, our focus will return to spending more time with our friends who will be in the same boat! Russell and I already know that when they leave, some of our downtime will be focused more on supporting those less fortunate than ourselves.
You need decide that work is your priority or lifestyle is your priority and be happy with that. On saying that, you also need to remember that if you don’t make time for friends and family, when the time comes around that you need help and support, they will not be there. Friends need to be real friends, not just work-related friends.
Rutherford and Meyer are a team of foodies that believe food should always be fresh, flavourful, and fun. They now produce a line of complimentary fruit pastes, spreads, crackers, wafers and honey to take your cheese platter to the next level.