Dealing With the Avalanches In Life and Business

When did Noah build the ark, Gladys? Before the rain. Before the rain.
– Nathan Muir, Spy Game

In recent months, I’ve become acutely aware of how life and business can easily conflict with each other. It seems that the work involved in creating a successful business is never done, and if there’s an avalanche to come in life, it’s going to happen when there are deadlines looming and there’s a mountain of work to be done.

I’ve had a series of avalanches lately, which reminds me:

  • There will never be perfect balance, peace and harmony between work life and personal life. Adjust accordingly.
  • It’s important to avoid procrastinating and allowing things to pile up, whether that be work-related to-dos or the laundry and dishes. When avalanches strike, you’ll appreciate not feeling more burdened and overwhelmed by those little reminders of chaos and unrest.
  • Try (at least the majority of the time) to honor a daily routine, a daily practice that keeps things humming along slowly but steadily. When things get crazy, the cushion built by that daily practice will allow for greater flexibility.
  • Take regular time away from the business. Mental and physical stamina comes in handy during times of stress or when there’s more work than usual to be done.
  • Remember that it’s not the big stresses, but the ongoing daily ones that cause more harm over the long term. The work will get done, eventually, so ease up where possible.
  • Build (and learn to more steadily depend upon) a team of people to keep the business going, not only during challenging times but every day.
  • Time flies whether you’re having fun or not, so why not have more fun?

Entrepreneurs, frelancers and small business owners have a tendency to run at a dangerously fast pace all the time, forgetting how important it is to step back and look at the big picture to make sure it resembles the vision and life they intended to create for themselves.

We can try to run at high speeds all the time, but life will inevitably throw up walls to slow us down. It’s important to intentionally steady the pace to account for those unexpected obstacles and be able to safely navigate around them. For me that means starting with a few simple steps:

  • Being more selective with my work and obligations and saying no a lot sooner and a lot more frequently.
  • Becoming diligent about honoring a regular stop time for work and learning to shut the office door behind me (and leaving it closed the entire time I’m off).
  • Incrementally delegating routine tasks that tend to pile up and leave me strapped for time to focus on the most important things in my life and business.

It’s easy to ignore the rate at which we work and then become overwhelmed when the unexpected inevitably occurs. The easier option is to start making changes now to prepare for those times when you need more flexibility and wiggle room. While it’s impossible to plan for everything, it’s helpful to have a few safety nets in place to support you during challenging times.

How do you accommodate for the avalanches in life while still steadily building a successful business? How have you learned to prepare for rainy days while the sun is shining?

Image from Flickr by Joe Shlabotnik

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