Maybe it’s the sunshine and beach time or maybe it’s the lack of schedule that has me thinking about lifestyle more than about business. I think we can all agree that our businesses are here to serve our lifestyles, not the reverse. And yet when it comes down to it, more often than not, it’s our lifestyles that bend to our businesses instead of our businesses flexing to accommodate our personal commitments.
Again, maybe it’s the beach talking, but it’s time to do a Business Lifestyle Audit to determine where our business plan falls short in truly serving our lifestyle needs. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be one of those entrepreneurs who at the end of her life regrets all the things she sacrificed to build a successful business: family, health, relationships, happiness.
Evaluating the Cost of Your Business
Your Business Lifestyle Audit should evaluate how successful your business is at fulfilling the following key areas:
Lifestyle Goals — What lifestyle do you want to live? Do you want to travel? Work less and spend more time with family? Pursue a hobby? Whatever your (and your family’s) lifestyle goals are, you need to evaluate how well your business is at fulfilling those goals. For example, if your lifestyle goal is to travel the world in luxury, then your business both needs to give you freedom and flexibility as well as the income you need to afford such a lifestyle.
Personal Focus Time — How much time do you need on a daily, weekly, monthly basis dedicated solely to you? Think of it as your ‘me-time’. Often this is where many entrepreneurs fail. It’s easy to forego your personal focus time to get this one last to-do checked off your list or work that bit extra “just this one time”, but this is where one-time exceptions quickly become the habit.
Family Commitments — What does your family need from you? Do your kids need you to take them to their lessons? Attend school functions? Volunteer in the classroom? Help with homework? Be available when friend troubles arise? What about your spouse? How much time does he/she need from you? This part of the audit may require you seek feedback from your family to see how you are doing. Be open to hearing what they are saying about how much time your focus is really directed at your business.
Health Check — How are you doing on the health front? Have you missed any of your regular annual appointments? Are you proactively taking care of your health? When was the last time you went to the gym? Like personal time, our health is an area that tends to get neglected in deference to our family and work commitments. If your business can’t function with you taking 30 minutes a day to stay fit and healthy, your business needs to change.
Community Involvement — Does your business allow you to give back to your local community? For some, that may mean being able to contribute financially; for others, it may simply mean having the time to volunteer to community projects. Whatever your preference, take a moment to evaluate whether or not your business is able to support you in your goals.
Leadership Growth — How much time are you able to spend on your personal growth? What challenges is your business presenting you with? What opportunities are available to acquire new skills or stretch your current ones? What this looks like is entirely up to you, but really give it some serious consideration as your current business is likely a stepping stone to something else (or at least it should be).