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How CEOs can achieve work-life balance without sacrificing business performance

Vincent Nair explains why it’s possible – and even beneficial – for CEOs to hit the golf course every Friday.

As CEOs and leaders, we’re trained to believe the myth that the more work we do, the better. The demands of running a successful company can regularly amount to long work hours, constant stress and a sacrifice of personal time.

We’re immersed in a culture that expects both 4am morning routines and burning the midnight oil, with little room left for a life outside of work. As a result, achieving a healthy work–life balance is an elusive goal for many CEOs, with burnout and high turnover becoming increasingly common.

The good news? It doesn’t have to be this way. I’m living proof that it’s possible for CEOs to strike a harmonious balance between their professional role and personal life.

By taking regular breaks, particularly on Friday afternoons for a round of golf, I have discovered a formula that not only enhances my wellbeing, but also positively impacts business performance.

Here are three focuses for CEOs looking to achieve a similar one-two punch of personal wellbeing and business performance. Because – believe it or not – the two aren’t mutually exclusive. Achieving both is not only possible but a requirement for any CEO wanting to lead their business in a sustainable, healthy and positive way.

Step back to step in

work-life balance

Grinding away at your desk day in and day out is a recipe for burnout and diminished powers of critical thinking. Without regular time away, it’s easy to fall into a cycle of being highly stressed and anxious about decisions, which will, in turn negatively impact your health.

Stepping away from the workplace provides a valuable opportunity for CEOs to view their business from a different angle. For me, that’s the golf course. For you, it might be going for a run, a swim, or simply taking the time to sit or walk in nature.

Never mistake stepping back for stepping away.

Never mistake stepping back for stepping away. Instead, realize that taking a regular, mindful break from work is the only way to step into your business with a clear mind and a healthy perspective. It will help you assess the bigger picture objectively, identify areas for improvement, and make informed decisions that contribute to the company’s growth.

As I walk through the golf course, I utilize the time to reflect on the work decisions I made during the week. This introspection allows me to fine-tune strategies, identify areas for improvement, and enhance outcomes for better business results. It is a crucial time for me to reassess and recalibrate my approach.

Have confidence in your team

work-life balance

A capable and well-trained team is a crucial part of the work–life balance puzzle for any CEO. With my team’s support, I can delegate tasks and trust that the business will continue to thrive in my absence.

Delegation can also serve as a powerful tool for developing future leaders within your organization.

Delegation is more than just distributing tasks; it’s about empowering your team members. By entrusting them with important responsibilities, you demonstrate your confidence in their abilities. It not only boosts their morale but fosters a sense of ownership and accountability.

Delegation can also serve as a powerful tool for developing future leaders within your organization. By assigning challenging tasks and providing opportunities for growth, you can nurture the talents and potential of your team members, creating a robust leadership pipeline.

Defend your time with decisiveness

work-life balance

Time is your most valuable resource, so defend it and use it wisely. To stay ahead of the game, I start my week with meticulous planning and organization. By staying on top of my schedule, I minimize the chances of work piling up and avoid the need to sacrifice personal time in order to catch up.

Proactive planning allows me to strike a healthy balance between work and leisure, meaning that I can actively carve out the time I need for myself, rather than trying to shoehorn it in at the last minute.

By addressing major issues immediately, I prevent them from lingering and becoming sources of stress that encroach upon my personal time.

Making prompt and decisive decisions is another fundamental way that I achieve work–life balance. By addressing major issues immediately, I prevent them from lingering and becoming sources of stress that encroach upon my personal time.

Finally, I would never defend my time off at the expense of the business. My Friday afternoon golf sessions only take place if I can do so without sacrificing the business’ performance and key performance indicators. This means that I can only indulge in personal time if the company is meeting its goals.

Thankfully, with these strategies in place, I can take my golfing afternoons safe in the knowledge that my time on the green is having a positive impact on my business. See you out there.

Vincent Nair is the CEO of SMARTECH Business Systems, a global industry-leading channel partner for a range of businesses in the print and communications industry. Nair has led the growth and turnaround of the business from a loss-making enterprise in 2016 to 988 percent earnings growth in 2022. Under his leadership, the company has had a significant compound annual growth rate of 61 percent over the last six years.

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