Balancing Work and Life

In the book, The Power of Focus, the authors spell out the Procrastinator’s Creed. “Someday when I grow up, finish school and get a job, I’ll start living my life the way I want… someday after the mortgage is paid off, the finances are on track and the kids are grown up, I’ll drive that new car and take exciting trips abroad… someday, now that I’m about to retire, I’ll buy that beautiful motor home and travel across this great country and see all there is to see…someday.”

What gets in the way of achieving our goals and realizing our dreams? Usually it’s because we suffer from the “If only” syndrome. If only she would…then I’d be happy. If only my employees were more responsible, then I could go on vacation, spend more time with my children, buy that new delivery truck and so on.

The Problem

It reminds me of the cartoon of the guy wearing three hats on top of each other and his wife is telling her friend, “He’s terrible at making decisions.” When we’re overworked and underplayed…yes even underpaid, we experience life as boring and without meaning. Our confidence slips and we begin to doubt whether we’re really enjoying our work or could we delegate some of it and take time out to relax. It causes us to sink into a downward spiral of anxiety and distraction.

The Solution

The solution is to create a plan for each day. Don’t overwhelm yourself with what you have to accomplish a week, a month or a year from now. Concentrate on today, make a to-do list and check off each one as you finish it. You’ll get more done this way and enjoy a sense of accomplishment for finishing what you’ve set out to do. There is a difference in being busy, and taking well planned action toward your goals. Delegate effectively and stay within your boundaries, as the captain of the ship, to concentrate on the important tasks at hand, leaving the busy work for others. Take time out to read trade journals so you can stay abreast of new trends in the industry, new products and services. Make a habit of brainstorming with other dry cleaners, coaches, consultants and vendors to remain accountable for meeting your goals and learning new management and marketing techniques.

Most of all, take time out to relax. Discover what time of the day your energy begins to sag. For most people it’s in the afternoon between 1:30 and 3:00. Take 15-30 minutes off, go in your office, turn off your phone, lock the door and simply relax without any disturbances. According to Jack Canfield, Mark V. Hansen and Les Hewitt, “a highly productive workforce is not achieved by pushing people until they drop from exhaustion.” As a manager or entrepreneur, it’s just as important to give your employees breaks during the day to revitalize their energy. We on the other hand sometimes feel guilty when we’re not working or “doing” something. You can quote me. I’m now giving you permission to relax each day.

In summary, have a plan for your day including priorities, appointments, projects, and most of all, marketing. Remember, you’re in the marketing business, not the dry cleaning business. Concentrate on the most important activities that will help you achieve your goals and dreams. Expand your knowledge and motivation by reading and sharing your work experiences with others in the industry. Re-energize for 15-30 minutes per day, nap, relax golf, spend time with family and listen to music. Each day take time to reflect on your day. Review goals, visualize success, develop new marketing and management ideas and write them down. Remain focused on what is important today, review and then plan for the future. As Les Hewitt says, “Oh, to be free from the stifling pressures of life – to rest, a peaceful slumber that will rejuvenate my soul.”