Working at a startup is hard.
Working anywhere is hard.
If you find yourself in a whirlwind of stress and nothing seems to solve it… try this.
The simple advice is to think about your well being as a 4 parameter equation, and then balance it.
This is meant for people who have a family, as the equation is hardest to balance then…
The 4 parameters to optimize:
1) Be a good employee/executive
2) Be a good spouse
3) Be a good parent
4) Be good to yourself
Well being = Be Good Exec + Be Good Spouse + Be Good Parent + Be Good to Yourself
With most people, the 4th parameter is the first one to be squandered. Meaning, you will give up being good to yourself, give up time with yourself first. This is mainly due to western civilization’s ideology of self-sacrifice, not being selfish and that adults should care first about “more important things…”
The problem with not making time for yourself, is that it wears you down. If you like playing music (for example) and you never find time to play… you are robbing yourself from being mentally balanced. Once you don’t get your personal needs, how can you be there for others in your life?
In fact, always being there for others, and never for yourself is hurting you. How can you be strong for others, when you yourself are not strong?
It can get so bad that by giving time to your work, your kids, your spouse may not come from a giving state of mind. It will become another task… and that is when you can grind yourself day in and day out. It is not sustainable, and essentially turns you to a walking powder keg… tick tock, tick tock.
You have to focus on time management, and set time with yourself, so you balance everything.
How do I do it?
You set time on your calendar for everything else, right? Set time with yourself, so you can monitor it.
Jack Welch famously said: “if you can’t measure it, you can’t fix it.”
Set time with yourself, in the same calendar you set time with EVERYONE else. So you can see how much time do you have.
Set time with yourself so you can think about things, strategically.
Set time with your kids, block it from the time you get home and until they are asleep.
Set time with your spouse. Time to walk your dogs, have a conversation, make decisions, just veg out and watch TV…
And then… when your family is sleeping, have time with yourself. Do this every day during the work week.
On weekends, set time with yourself not only after everyone is sleeping, yet also during the day. It does not have to be a lot of time. Just set it, so it is treated like any other meeting. Don’t work in this sacred time with yourself. Do what you love doing: play music, paint, sing, run, walk, fish, read, sit in a coffee shop, watch TV, write… whatever makes YOU happy.
This time is meant to bring balance to your well being equation, mental balance.
It is your time, and you treat it just like a meeting with a big client… a VIP… your board members… your chairman or chairwoman. In fact, this meeting is with the most important person, so you should keep it and never miss it.
It will give you a tremendous amount of joy, and mental balance. You already “make time” for everything else, so don’t end up forgetting yourself. It will help you balance all 4 parameters in the equation.
If you fly a lot, you may tune out the safety briefing. When you hear the safety briefing say “…passenger should always fit his or her own oxygen mask on before helping others…” – it can serve as a reminder to balance your life.