These days, conversations on work-life balance are becoming rampant. As pressure in and out of work place increases, womenpreneurs (women entrepreneurs) are wondering how to manage pressure, achieve balance, and stay aboard life's boat. For a lot of us, the pursuit of this balance is tiring and seems like an impossible goal.
With pressure from different places, heavy workloads to juggle, relationships and family responsibilities to manage, and extra-curricular activities to squeeze in, it is no surprise that many are saying they are 'stressed', 'exhausted', and suffering 'burnout'.
How then do we manage this pressure and achieve the balance we seek? The answer is simple: compartmentalize.
1. Compartmentalization and how it Works
Psychology defines compartmentalization as a coping strategy and how our mind deals with opposing standpoints, simultaneously. While this may have a negative connotation, compartmentalization is good as long as we don't live in denial. We want to live your life from the different areas that make it up but you don't want to deny that these areas or the pressure they bring exists. To compartmentalize therefore, is to acknowledge the different areas of our lives and focus on them, one at a time.
As women entrepreneurs, focusing on our business and lives can be very demanding. There will be projects to brainstorm and supervise, events to attend, family to manage, etc. but in achieving balance, the first step is to realize that although each aspect of our lives deserve our utmost attention, there is a limited amount of mental and emotional energy that we can devote to each one.
We also need to accept that we will not be able to attend to all aspects of our lives at the same time, and therefore need to prioritize, dealing with them one after the other. For example, when we're at work, we concentrate on work and when we're at home, we leave work out. This may seem like a foreign concept as some have argued that it is impossible to not take work home but in achieving this balance, we must learn, no matter how hard, to keep the details of a certain compartment from spilling into another.
When we do this, we are able to dedicate an amount of time, no matter how small to each area of our lives, achieving better results. Failure to do this however, can result in decreased productivity and inability to meet set goals in each area.
2. Finding the Balance
As womenpreneurs, we're going to have to compartmentalize our lives. Being a mother, building a business, balancing our marriage or relationships, trying not to be broke, dealing with rejections from investors, etc. these things can generate huge pressure and stress and the only way to deal, really, is to focus on thing at a time.
Ryan Blair, New York Times bestselling author and a serial entrepreneur, says entrepreneurs should open, focus, and then close the compartment. This can be hard to do as womenpreneurs because usually, we're emotionally invested in our work and life and it can be challenging to accept 'a little progress' as progress, when we want to see a big change or immediately resolve a difficult thing. In finding balance, however, we must learn to open a compartment, focus on it and when we see some progress, close it and open the next compartment.
Another thing we must learn to do, in finding this balance, is learning to say 'no'. 'No' to taking work home or bringing home issues to the workplace; 'no' to taking on extra tasks when we're yet to accomplish already set tasks; we must also say 'no' to some opportunities as not every opportunity is good for us. When we say 'no', we identify the things that are most important to us and focus on them.
Isolating issues and challenges, appropriately filing and dealing with them under their compartments is also important. When we open a compartment, we should focus only on it to increase productivity. Failure to do this can muddle things up.
Also, we must learn to pace ourselves and move forward bit by bit. It can be tempting to seek immediate result in our work and lives, but we should recognize that these things take time and be calm, moving step by step.
Finally and very important, we have to be sensitive and strategic, doing away with things that don't deserve a compartment or do not fit into any area of our work or life.