How to Plan Work Life Balance When You’re Starting Up on the Side

Work Life Balance, Stephanie Holland, The Freedom Philosophy

Work life balance is the holy grail of every day life, yet alone when you’re working full time and want to start up on the side.

But why is work life balance so hard?

I think the biggest problem lies in the literal definition of ‘balance’ .

Think about it.

Balance – literally meaning ‘even distribution’, the word instantly brings to mind a set of scales in perfect horizontal alignment.

And if you’re working 8-10 hours a day, then this idea of balance is impossible, and you’ll always feel defeated.

But conceptually, it also means ‘stability of mind or feelings’, which can be achieved in as little as 3 mins with various techniques and strategies. It’s just a case of doing them during the course of your day or week.

And that sense of balance is something you can bring to your work; literally in how you show up for it.

So how do we create work life balance?

Here’s a simple approach.

  1. Define how you want to feel and identify all the elements required to create that feeling every day.
  2. Schedule all those elements in your calendar & make them non-negotiable.

Sounds easy, right?

Your life strategy must precede and underpin your business strategy because when you thrive physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, that feeling will carry you through the inevitable highs and lows of running your own business.

And help you thrive while you’re starting up on the side.

Yet we allocate more time + focus + energy to our work than any other aspect of our lives, often outrageously disproportionate to other elements — the ones that intertwine to create a rich and fulfilling life. Aka work life balance.

Work, relationships and family get a lot of attention but what about:

  • Body
  • Health
  • Personal Development
  • Spirituality
  • Personal Space
  • Home
  • Friendship
  • Community
  • Time
  • Business
  • Money
  • Learning

Shift your focus away from your startup idea for a moment, bring your attention to this question, and define what balance means for you.

So step number one is:

Know what you need in order to thrive.

It might be a green juice every day. Bed before 10pm. A yoga class once a week. A massage every fortnight. Digital detoxes every weekend. (Sounds an awful lot like me.)

When you’ve figured that out, step two is a breeze.

If it’s not scheduled, it’s not real. — Marie Forleo

When you have a to-do list as long as the earth is wide, you need a tool that makes life and business integration easy.

Enter: Your startup calendar.

It’s really just a fancy term for scheduling everything.

It holds you accountable to your vision of balance.

Create your startup calendar in three easy steps:

  1. Schedule your obligations (job, school run, dog walking, care giving)
  2. Schedule everything you need to thrive physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. This might be 15 mins of meditation a day, a 3pm Nana nap, an hour of squash a week, a night out with your friends every Friday, date night with your man three times a week. It doesn’t matter what it is, whether you need five minutes of it, or hours. If it empowers you to thrive schedule it.
  3. The remaining space in your calendar is available to your startup.

You might be wondering why we schedule our startup last.

We touched on that already.

When you thrive physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, that feeling will carry you through the inevitable highs and lows of running your own business.

Thrive first. Build your empire second.

You and your business cannot thrive if you don’t get enough sleep, move your body or if your personal relationships are falling apart.

And there’s no point spending 60 hours a week on your business if you feel emotionally or spiritually empty.

Because when we thrive we can work less and get more done.

It’s about working smarter not harder. Whether you have two hours a week or 40 you know exactly how much time you have for your startup + exactly when it’s available.

And you’ll be functioning on all cylinders because you’re taking care of the important stuff every day, too (body+ mind + spirit).

This is work life balance.

If you liked this article check out The Pic ‘n’ Mix Morning Routine For More Happiness & Productivity and How to Make More Time: The Perfect Morning for Future Entrepreneurs


Image: Sonja Langford via

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