Dream Smarter Podcast Ep32 - Finding Balance as a CEO

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Dream Smarter Podcast Ep32 – Finding Balance as a CEO

Below are the show notes/summary for this episode. Please listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify for the full show! Xo, Alex

 

So today, we are talking about finding balance as a CEO. I’m going to talk about what balance means to me because I think that there’s this fantasy that, as entrepreneurs, we can somehow find this miracle balance.

There is this ideal version of finding balance, and everybody’s looking for it all the time. I’m just sick of it, to be honest. I love balance. Don’t get me wrong, balance is really important to me, but I’ve felt very frustrated by the term “balance” so much of my life.  

At the beginning of this, I’m just going to talk about what balance means to me. And then I’m going to talk about little tricks and tips that I use to find balance in my life. 

What Does Balance Mean to Me?

All right, so balance, let’s talk about it. I am a firm believer that everything has a different weight to it. For me, I can spend two hours doing some taxes that I don’t want to do and be exhausted, not working for the rest of the day. I need to take a 20-hour nap. I need to have two bottles of wine to recover from that. I am dead to the world, so exhausted. I can’t handle it. 

Or, I can spend 15 hours in my business coming up with new ideas, starting a new project, getting creative, designing brands and websites. I feel so good and energized after. Balance is a relative term. And some people are great at working 15 hours a day. 

And some people can only work three hours a day, and they’re done. I think it’s depending on what you’re working on and the different tasks you have to accomplish in your business. I think balance looks different to everyone, and it looks different to you as well, depending on what you’re doing. 

I think balance is more of an intuitive thing, and I don’t think it needs to be this 50% of the time I’m working, 50% of my living life. No, I think it’s more intuitive than that. I like going hard during sprints. And then I like relaxing during long sprints. I would rather work my ass off for two months and get done and then have a month off where I go on a two-week vacation and do absolutely nothing. Well, it’s never absolutely nothing. We run a business, maybe two hours a day and then just relaxing the rest of the day, drinking wine and smoking weed and eating good food, getting massages, going on explorations, taking long walks, and going to the beach.

That’s what I that’s balanced to me. But some other people are, well, I’m going to work from eight to five or eight to four. And then I’m going to take every single night off. There’s never going to be a night where I work because I need my nights.  

When it comes to balance, it’s more so I think an intuitive thing about what works for you. Don’t get hung up on what society deems as balance. I think balance is something that you need to find yourself. 

Now we’re going to get into a few tips that I use to stay balanced. I get so many people who come to me who are like, how do you stay on top of work and keep working? How do you have that determination to take all these projects on and do all the work you do every day? And then I get people who come to me who are, girl, how do you take breaks?

How do you take breaks and schedule time outside of work for yourself? I can’t seem not to be working. There are multiple ends of the spectrum. I’m going to give you some tips on how I intuitively find balance in my life. 

Set Processes

The first step that I took to find the balance that truly made the most impact in my life was creating set processes for my services. When I started, I was like, I’m just going to take on a client, and it will get done when it gets done, lobbied, audit off. Oh my God, that was a nightmare. You ended up working with 10 clients at once because you’re taking on new clients, and then some clients don’t ever get finished. 

And then you’re just waiting. And then some client projects take a year to complete from start to finish because there’s all this waiting time in the middle. It was way too much for me. I was so overwhelmed. I was like, no, this needs to stop. 

I will create a process where I’m doing branding for a week, web wireframe for a week web development for a week. And honestly, before, I was doing branding and website design for a week and designing and developing myself in one week. I don’t know how I did it. I mean, the websites back then weren’t as complicated as they are now or detailed, I suppose, but regardless. I was like, okay, so I have this set process. 

I’m going to work with one client. It’s going to take two weeks. Branding website design two weeks, and then they’re done. I called these design weeks. I decided to start with just one client at a time. If you are a designer or anybody who does services and can implement this, I promise it will change your life. 

Creating this process, this set intentional process, really helped me overcome my anxiety because I wasn’t thinking about 10 different projects at once. I was thinking about one project at once, and the work was better. The work always ends up better because we’re focused, and the client is focused, and they don’t come back and have all these weird changes.

Then I realized, oh my God, I have so much free time in the day. I can take on another client. Then I would take on two clients a week and then three clients a week. I got to four clients a week was just way too much, but the demand was getting up there. So anyway, that was the first thing that I did to find balance: I am setting a strict process for myself, and I know exactly when things are due.

And basically, what I do is I live off of my calendar. There are so many people who keep me accountable, whether it’s my Pilates instructor that’s booked in my calendar, whether it’s the meetings with my team, those are all booked in my calendar. So, every day I wake up, I know exactly what I have to do. I know what I have to do literally months in advance.

This is on the other end of the balance where I have downtime. I book all of my downtime in my calendar as well. From the time I wake up to the time I go to bed, I have my calendar booked. 

I recently saw an article stating that many successful people or people who do better in business take naps. I was like, thank God because I felt lazy this whole time, but I love taking naps and resetting my brain. I put the times that I eat in my schedule, I put if I have rolling dates with friends in my schedule, I put times when I call my mom in my schedule, I put everything in my schedule.

It’s my team can see it too, which is funny. Everyone knows exactly what I’m doing at all times, but that’s also a part of being a CEO. I want them to know because if they can’t contact me, they know why. On the weekends, I don’t put everything in my schedule, but during the week, I do. So that also helps me have that balance of, girl, okay, you’re you can’t do X, for 10 hours without having a break. We’re going to build you a break into your schedule to eat, take your nap, and do what you want to do. It just allows me to have that downtime and feel good, right? Because it’s in the schedule. And I know I’m going to be getting everything else done because everything else is also on the schedule.

Meditating

Another thing that helps is meditating. It’s really hard to meditate. If you’re somebody who’s mind races at a million miles an hour, mine does that. When I started meditating, I didn’t sit still. I felt it was a complete waste of time. And I still do feel that some days I have to fight myself some days to do it. And I go through phases where I’m good at doing it every single day. And then I go through phases where I’m not because I’m just not into it because I’m annoyed by it. My mind is, no, I don’t want to slow down. But to be honest, when my mind is in that place of, no, I don’t want to slow down. That’s when I need it the most.

I highly suggest it. It just clears that brain fog that you get when it comes to just life in general. So highly suggested. And I highly suggest also pairing it with a ritual.  

I just recently started pulling cards tarot cards. And I always thought it was weird that people did that before, but it already changed my life. It’s just positive affirmations every single day. And I find so much joy in it, and it’s so much fun. And it allows me to pull a card and meditate on the card. And I have my crystals, and I’m becoming this, woo girl. And I love it. And with that, I have my celery juice in the morning, and I make my coffee, and it’s a part of this whole ritual. And then I have a planner that I write in.

And so basically, to me, finding balance also is, again, finding all those little pockets and moments of self-care throughout the day. And they might be five minutes. They might be 30 minutes. They might be an hour. Any pocket of time during the day that I can get that brings me energy. 

Find the balance between the things that energize you and those that don’t

I feel that’s really what balance is to at its core. It’s not time at work and then time at home because work is no longer just business. It’s personal. I’m super connected to my job. There’s no way around that. It’s an extension of me. It’s all about finding those moments in your day that energize you and balancing them with the things you have to do, but don’t bring you energy because there are always things in life that we have to do that don’t bring us energy. And of course, what you want to do is try and get rid of things that don’t bring you energy.

I will challenge you to maybe write down or journal some things in your life that you do that don’t bring you the energy. Write down many things that give you energy, write down a bunch of things that suck your energy, and start removing the things that suck your energy from your life. And in that act of removing those things, you will start to notice that things that bring you energy will start to come into your life. So instead of being, I’m going to find things that bring me energy to find this balance, maybe position it as I’m going to remove the things that suck my energy.

Have people in your life that understand the balancing act 

Because I’ve been in relationships with friends and partners that didn’t value what I needed to be balanced. And it was hard. I need to figure out what works best for me. And whether that’s working two hours a day or working 15 hours a day. 

So many people come at me like, how you work so hard? It’s because it brings me energy because I really actually enjoy it.

Not every day. But when I’m working 15 hours a day this, I enjoy it. And I know I do because afterward, I feel I’m ready to go still. And that is any indication. I’m a generator, too, by the way. If you’re into human design, I mean, if you’ve listened to this, you probably already know that I’m a generator. It’s different for everyone. The generators have all this energy for things that bring them joy. And when something brings me joy, I know it brings me energy, which helps me find balance.  

 

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