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Business Observer Friday, May 19, 2017 5 years ago

How to leave work at work

The problem of not having a work-life balance is vast. Here's how to turn things around.
by: Elizabeth Morrisey Contributing Writer

When Tracy de Chevron Villette opened The Clever Cup coffee shop in Sarasota last year, it was a big change going from being a stay-at-home mom to business owner.

One of the biggest challenges was balancing work and life at home. “At first I always had it on my mind,” she says. “It was a big change for me and the kids.”

Running a business can be like having 20 full-time jobs, and it can be tricky leaving work at work. But there are ways to do it, says St. Petersburg's Bert Seither, founder and CEO of The Startup Expert.

“Entrepreneurs need to try and shut off,” Seither says. “We've got smart phones and we tend to stress ourselves out. We are constantly waiting for the phone and it's sucking you back in. You don't have to respond to a client at 3 a.m.”

About 50% of Seither's clients deal with the issue of shutting things down when they are not on the job. Says Seither: “The problem of work-life balance is vast.”

De Chevron Villette says starting her cozy coffee shop in Sarasota's Gulf Gate community was like having a baby. “It grows with you, and in the beginning it needs your full attention,” she says, “but after six months I started to find a balance.”

One of the basic tricks to combat the issue of work/life balance is to be disciplined and organized, so you can get tasks done quickly, says Seither. “You can be so much more productive if you focus on one task at a time,” he says. “Work off of a calendar and put in the activities you absolutely have to do.”

Adds Seither: “At the end of the day you've feel like you've conquered the world and now you are likely to say 'I'm not going to take a call during my personal time.'”

Some more advice: Put blocks on the cellphone, such as shutting down the business email. Kerry Wilson, president of Winter Haven's Six/Ten, LLC, turns off his email as quickly as possible at the end of the workday. “It's your life and has a monetary and emotional impact,” he says of his job at Six/Ten, a real estate development firm focused on revitalizing downtown Winter Haven, in Polk County.

Yoga also helps Wilson de-stress from work. “I exercise at night,” says Wilson. “You have to get away and quit thinking about it and regroup.”

Seither also suggests joining a group of like-minded entrepreneurs. “Surround yourself with people who know more than you and have walked the walk,” he says.

De Chevron Villette says having a business partner, Edgar de la O, has helped tremendously. They both have children and can help each other balance work and home life.

Another must-do, says Seither, is to harness support from loved ones. Says Seither: “They can empathize and understand you.”

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