Andrew Griffiths – 101 Ways to have a business and a life
In your book you confess to being an ex-workaholic… What made you realise your life balance was out of whack?
I had many people tell me that my life was really out of balance but I was stuck on trying to prove to the world that I was a success. It took the loss of a very good relationship to realize just how crazy my world had become and in all seriousness I had a bit of a meltdown where I realized how many parts of my life were really not serving me that well.
Does it require day to day commitment to stay on track?
Absolutely. I think if you are good at what you do you will always be in demand for your services. This means there will always be pressure to meet the expectations of others and this can throw anyone out of balance very quickly. So yes, I have to spend time every day on a micro level working out ways to ensure that my life and my business are in balance. Some days it works, some days it doesn’t, but my belief is that as long as it works more than it doesn’t I am on track. For me I also take time out every month to review where I am at and to make changes with work that are pulling me against the direction I wish to be heading.
Why do you think work/life balance become such an issue in recent times?
I think there are lots of reasons. Small business is very competitive, so people feel the pressure a lot more than they have in the past. We need a much greater range of skills to run a business today than we have in the past. Now we need to be part accountant, human resources expert, psychologist, lawyer, administrator and so on. There was a time we just had to do what it was we did. All of these extra responsibilities put us under a lot of pressure especially if we don’t really know what we are doing. Add to this the abundance of communication that we have to deal with – email, phone messages, meeting, letters etc and it is easy to see why we often feel so out of control. And I think that it will only get worse before it gets better. Hence the importance of taking control of our life right now.
What are the main reasons that someone’s life gets out of balance?
We get out of balance over time. It is like putting on weight. We don’t just wake up 20 kg heavier – it happens over time and we reach a point where we really notice and decide to do something about it. I think we often fail to set clear boundaries, often making ourselves too accessible. This works fine in the early stages of business but as we grow, the more people want our attention. This adds to the day to day pressure of making ends meet, managing staff and generally doing business. So we don’t tend to modify our boundaries as we get busier and in simple terms the way we do business now doesn’t serve us particularly well and we end being constantly overwhelmed.
A common excuse that someone might give for losing their work life balance is that there is just so much work to be done – what advice would you give this person?
Sure there is a lot of work to do and there will be just as much if not more tomorrow. We have to set our businesses up to suit us not everyone else. If this can’t be achieved, what’s the point of having the business? And this is a very significant point – I spend a lot of time telling people to get out of their business because it is killing them quickly. To take control of your life normally involved making big changes in your business. If we are smart enough we will make those changes before we are told to make them because of our health. Sadly, too many people wait to long to change.
If someone’s work life balance is out of control what is the very first step you would advise them to take in order to get things back to where they should be?
I think that when faced with this realization we need to take a step back and take time out of the business. There is never a good time to have a holiday but this is the best time to do it. We need to really be clear about how we want our life to look and feel, and as result what do we need to remove to achieve this. We can’t think about this in a clear way in the midst of our day to day madness. So take some time, paint a very clear picture on how you want your life to look and then set about making the appropriate changes.
Anyone can balance their business and their life. It is mostly a matter of wanting it bad enough or realizing what you may lose if you don’t make the changes. Little token amendments to your life will rarely produce the results needed and it is important to enlist the aid of those closest to you, and generally they will want you to make the changes as well.
If I can change from being a 50kg overweight, divorced, workaholic mad man to a fit, in balance, in a loving relationship and much more financially successful man anyone can. Trust me.
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