This post originally appeared on Best Western’s YouMustBeTrippin.com’s blog, where I regularly contribute stories. I was compensated for this post but the opinions are mine.
My colleagues and clients often commend me for my legendary work ethic but, honestly, I’m not always proud of it because it can take a major toll on me and my family. In order to thrive but not burn out, I have to constantly remind myself to pause, relax and smell the roses. Here are some things I do to better balance my work life with my personal family life, including ways to balance busy business travel schedules:
1. Get Some Rest: As much as I work, I also learn to take time to relax, and even occasionally nap, in the middle of a hectic day. I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older or if I’m just that busy, but I do believe what researchers say about the connection between productivity and sleep. When I get my rest, I have a clearer, cleaner mind to focus and to work more efficiently.
2. Trust the Bigger Picture: Over the years, I’ve learned that the world is packed with competitors, naysayers and other characters that want to dampen your success. If I obsess about them, I won’t stop working or worrying, so I have to remind myself there is a greater force that is in control and a bigger picture to focus upon. As long as I’m on top of my work and being diligent, I can’t worry about those things I can’t control.
3. Pencil in Some Fun Time: Even though rest time is important, it’s equally important to pencil some play time into your hectic schedule. For me, this means playing with my kids, my cats, my guitar or even spending some time to digitize old family movies. Taking fun breaks throughout the day is sometimes next to impossible to do, but it’s as necessary as rest because it stimulates the creative, happy side of your mind. It reminds you why work is worth doing.
4. Hustle and Chill: A strong work life requires a powerful ability to chill. You know the old saying, “work hard, play hard.” For example, I’ve written before that I always integrate a little fun and recreation into my business trips. I love sports, so when I travel, I may try to catch a game of baseball, football or hockey (depending on the season) and I always scope out restaurants. I’ve done this so many times that in most any city in the U.S., I can tell you which restaurants are the most famous ones to visit. For cities I regularly visit, such as Los Angeles and New York, I can often go specific into deeper categories of cuisine such as sushi, seafood or fast food.
5. Work-cation It: Given that my wife and I jointly own our businesses, I love traveling for work with her because we rarely travel without incorporating a mini vacation. We use the trip to build quality memories from the places we’re visiting and to scope future things we want to do in those cities when we return with our family. For example, during our recent trip to San Antonio, we decided we would return with our four kids to dine at the Tower of the Americas restaurant.
6. Forget Perfect: My final rule for maintaining a great work/home life balance is to realize you’ll never perfect it. It’s honestly not possible as life and work often operate in seasons. What’s important is to try to do the best you can to maintain a decent balance and to be thankful for the blessing of being busy. Many people don’t even have a job or a business to keep them remotely busy. During the first year of Hispanicize, for example, my wife and I were able to take a 46-day family road trip with our kids across the U.S. We could do it then because our business was in its infancy, but we knew that once the work season kicked in, we were going to have to hustle. If we worried about doing everything perfectly, we would be so frustrated because perfect is not possible.
7. Look for Any Slight Opening to Interact with Family: What’s more important is to be sensitive and on the lookout for opportunities, no matter how big or small. Whether that’s a slower day you can take the afternoon off to spend with family, or even just a 30-minute free slot during a busy work trip to make a Skype date with a loved one. When they come, take them and remember that at the end of your life, you will not remember all the time you spent working, but you will always treasure time spent with family and friends.
This is a constant struggle I have as an entrepreneur. That said, I know that if I err on the side of resting, vacationing, having fun and not being too hard on myself, along with the work I love, I will have done the best I could to balance my work life and my personal life. That’s the best I can demand of myself and anyone else.