Work-life balance is often sited as the main reason people want to set up their own business. But it isn't always that simple. Being your own boss doesn't automatically translate into spending less time working, quite the opposite.
You can easily find yourself working crazy-long hours every day, even weekends, and it's no way to live. Life is far too short and lovely to spend it all working. Longer hours don't necessarily mean you get more done. And tired, stressed people are a whole lot less effective. It makes a lot of business sense to strike a balance that keeps you optimally happy, healthy and productive. But how do you do that?
We thought we'd take a look at TED talks on the subject and see what inspiration they can provide. If you've never come across it, TED is a non-profit organisation dedicated to spreading ideas, usually through of short, powerful video presentations called TED talks. TED began life in '84 as a unique Technology, Entertainment and Design conference. Now their talks cover every topic you can imagine, available in more than 100 languages.
Nigel Marsh's top tips for making your work-life balance work
Nigel Marsh advocates an ideal day balanced between family time, personal time and productivity. He says it's up to you to take control and responsibility for the type of life you lead, since nobody else is going to do it for you. It might seem simplistic but it's a powerful idea – you're the one in control, it's your job to stop working such long hours. This is certainly true in a self-employed context, where nobody's standing over you with a metaphorical whip forcing you to carry on long into every evening.
Marsh says traditional approaches to work-life balance like casual Fridays and flexitime are superficial, not addressing the real issues. He believes balance doesn't mean a dramatic overhaul of your life. It means investing in the right places, in small ways. Doing so helps you 'radically transform' the quality of your life. You can watch the talk here.
Stefan Stagmeister's TED talk on the power of time off
Every seven years, Stefan Stagmeister shuts up shop and gives his employees a full year off, a 12 month sabbatical. He strongly believes it's the best way for him and his team to refresh their creativity and avoid getting stale. In his TED talk he explains the enormous value of time off. Here it is.
According to Dan Thurmon, a work-life balance is a completely unrealistic goal. He thinks a perfect balance is something we'll never achieve, and chasing it only has a negative impact on our lives. He believes there's a better way, involving living purposely off-balance in the pursuit of knowledge, growth, love and meaning, and it's a fascinating theory. Here's the talk – see for yourself.
Arianna Huffington on the value of sleep
Margaret Thatcher famously had very little sleep, boasting she only needed five hours a night. Churchill was also a poor sleeper. The image of entrepreneurs and leaders toiling from dusk 'til dawn is a potent one, but in Arianna Huffington's opinion it's about time we stopped boasting about sleep deficits and got enough of it.
Sleep it vital for health and happiness, and without health and happiness you won't get far in your career. Arianna, whose theory is backed by a large and growing body of scientific evidence, believes you can sleep your way to increased productivity, happiness and smarter decision-making. Here's her TED talk.
Shawn Achor on happiness – Linking positive brains to performance
Shawn Achor is a US happiness researcher, author, speaker on positive psychology and author of the best-selling The Happiness Advantage. In his view, happiness has a much more profound effect on productivity and success than spending endless hours glued to your desk. It's an inspirational message if you regularly work long after everyone else has gone home. Here's how happiness makes people more productive...
Listen to more inspirational TED talks on work-life balance
If you'd like to lift your day, boost your positivity and get new ideas about balancing your life and career sensibly and productively, you can't go far wrong with TED talks. If you'd like to hear more experts talking about the work-life balance, here's a link.
We can help you achieve a good work-life balance
None of the TED talks we've featured mention it. But one sure fire way to grab back precious time is to delegate time-consuming tasks to professional team like ours. If you'd like to burden us with the tasks you simply don't have the time or energy to tackle yourself, we'll be delighted to help! Contact us for a sensible conversation.