Do you Hate the Term “Work / Life Balance”?

broken clockI certainly do. I dislike jargon and renaming things that we’ve been talking about for years by other names as if we just discovered them. I’ve found several others had written an article with a similar title. Their complaint is typically it makes it sound like work and life are on balance sheet in which each occupies 50/50 of one’s time. Or that work isn’t life or that work and life can’t be successfully intertwined by those who love their work.

Let’s throw out work / life balance and talk about “overwork”. Overwork is the Achilles Heel of Contractors and other Small Business People. 

You meet plenty of people who never neglect their work but many who do neglect themselves. Neglecting yourself is short-sighted because in time it affects your work! Your mind gets tired, your strength and enthusiasm wain and relationships that could sustain you, weaken. A life that is all work, with no distractions except TV or whatever your favorite online activity is, will leave you depleted.

The Connection between Persistence, Energy and Habits

Business people are constantly being told that persistence is key. If you find you lack persistence or stick-to-it-ness, one thing to look at is energy and another is habits.


Persistence and Habits

Habits are a major theme for me as a business person. I had to learn for myself that habits and daily routines are game changing and can vastly increase one persistence, effectiveness and available time. Warning: I’m going to stuff about 20 ideas into this paragraph.

Creative people like myself might think habits and routines aren’t cool. We like to make stuff up as we go. However, when you follow a routine you get some necessary tasks out of the way much faster and thus save time and energy for other activities. Also, studies show we have a finite amount of energy for decision making. By using routines to reduce the number of daily decisions, we free up decision making energy for the out-of-the-ordinary occurrences in the day.

As a mother with teens and co-owner of a business, I have multiple daily and weekly routines. In my business, my routines relate to financials, sales and marketing. At home, I have habits that cover meals, exercise, sleep and household chores. Hopefully, this is a helpful boast.

Persistence and High Energy

How can you be persistent if your energy is low? Sales requires energy. Decision-making requires energy. New ideas and brainstorming all require energy. To be honest, I don’t have to make myself exercise. I’ve been at talks where the presenter says “Who here hates to exercise?” and I’m usually one of two who doesn’t raise my hand. I hate to sit and can’t stop moving.

But, but, but there other things I must encourage myself to do to recharge. Each month I try to balance how many social activities and how many solitary activities I do, as I crave both. When I need to, I plan one “do as little as possible” day. That happens once every month or two.

My colleague and mentor Paul Sanneman shares the following list with his contractor clients. It fits well in this discussion.

How are You Sabotaging Yourself?

  1. Not Eating Right
  2. Not Paying Attention to Intuition
  3. Treating People Poorly
  4. Not Taking Vacations
  5. Not Delegating Enough
  6. Not Using Project Management Tools
  7. Not Spending Time Selling
  8. Not Firing Poor Employees
  9. Not Working on Myself
  10. Not Exercising 

As we cruise towards the end of the year, it’s the ideal time to take stock of your time, energy and habits.

Contractors have had an opportunity to leave behind the dry years of the recession and grow their businesses in 2015! What work or personal habit can you put in place for 2016 that will make you and your business even better! One change can make a positive difference that resonates throughout your life.

If you are a contractor and want help with any of #1-10 above, call my colleague, Paul Sanneman at Dream Business Coaching. When you visit his site, look for his book Contractor Success Tips.

If you want help with the marketing part for your contracting firm, please call me Karen Nierlich at Full Orbit Web and Marketing. I love helping residential contractors focus on their websites and marketing. Oh, and you’ll get extra points for delegating.


Karen NierlichKaren Nierlich works with high end residential contractors on their marketing and websites. Read the 10 and more posts on this blog to learn the basics of marketing yourself as a contractor. It’s not obvious what works. That’s why it’s important to have help! Call her at 510-527-9920 or email her at

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