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101 Ways to Have a Business and a Life

101 Ways to Have a Business and a Life

by Andrew Griffiths

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The simple, practical and easy-to-apply ideas in this guide will help business owners identify the main reasons behind their lack of work-life balance and, most importantly, how to fix it. The experiences, tips, and coping mechanisms of thousands of business owners around the world who were consulted in the writing of the book are compiled into one easy reference that


The simple, practical and easy-to-apply ideas in this guide will help business owners identify the main reasons behind their lack of work-life balance and, most importantly, how to fix it. The experiences, tips, and coping mechanisms of thousands of business owners around the world who were consulted in the writing of the book are compiled into one easy reference that can get even the most out of control business owner back on track. The tips can be implemented quickly and with little or no cost, allowing readers to become the boss in both their businesses and their lives.

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Allen & Unwin Pty., Limited
Publication date:
101 . . . Series
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101 Ways to Have a Business and a Life

By Andrew Griffiths

Allen & Unwin

Copyright © 2007 Andrew Griffiths
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-74115-865-6


How balanced is your life today?

Where are you at right now?

How do you know if your life is out of balance? That is a tough question for some people to answer. Life may be chaotic, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it is overwhelming — if you're like me, perhaps you like it that way. The following questionnaire has been designed to give you a simple way of determining where you are in the 'out of control cycle'. Simply put a tick next to the questions that you feel apply to you, then tally up the ticks and see the results.

The aim here is to have no ticks at all. Clearly a big ask even for the most serene and tranquil among us. Ideally, run through this questionnaire on a regular basis to see if you are regaining control of your life.

To make this exercise a little easier, I have included another copy at the back of the book. Photocopy it so you can ask yourself the same questions every couple of months to see if your life is improving.

How balanced is your life?

[] Do you feel that you never have enough time to get everything done?

[] Do you feel that your decision-making is always done under pressure?

[] Are there times during your day when you feel totally overwhelmed or out of control?

[] Do you think that stress is affecting your health?

[] Do you always feel low in energy?

[] Do you use drugs or alcohol to help you wind down?

[] Do you use caffeine and sugar to help you wind up?

[] Do you tend to eat foods that will give you a 'quick fix' rather than foods that are healthy and nutritious?

[] Are you working longer and longer hours?

[] Do you struggle to find the time to exercise?

[] Have you stopped spending quality time with family and friends since starting or buying your own business?

[] Have you stopped doing the things you love (hobbies, sport, etc.)?

[] Do you tend to get sick more often or do you always feel off-colour/below par?

[] Have you lost your sense of satisfaction with your business?

[] Do you tend to keep your thoughts and emotions to yourself?

[] Do you lose sleep worrying about business issues?

[] Do you struggle financially?

[] Has your personality changed (for the worse) since you've been in business?

[] Have you stopped enjoying life as much as you did before?

[] Are you feeling uninspired?

[] Do you consider your time at home as being predominantly to recharge and prepare for the next day?

[] Do you tend to feel negative more often than positive?

[] Are you more grumpy and irritable now?

[] Do you bring work home with you?

[] Is every day starting to look the same?

[] Do you have a lot of negative people in your life?

[] Are you feeling depressed?

[] Do you have a large number of unfinished tasks?

[] Has your overall fitness level dropped in recent years?

[] Have people stopped telling you that you look well?

[] Do you sometimes feel like crying?


How did you do?


OK, time to get serious and really look at your life. Balance is not a word that even comes close to being in your life right at this moment. If you don't make some changes now you will start to have major problems. Read this book and introduce the tips into your daily life at a pace that works for you. Many of the recommendations will bring instant results and you will regain that sense of balance before long. Start to enjoy the way this makes you feel and enjoy the benefits of regaining control of your life.


This is the middle of the road and typically where most people tend to hover. There are two ways to look at this: first, at least you're not as badly off as the first group; but second, the warning signs are clearly there that you may be on the way to a life of stress and all the issues associated with being out of control.


There aren't too many business owners who wouldn't say yes to at least a few of these questions. This is the best place to be, although it's important not to let things slide any further. You will be getting a few warning signs, probably a few symptoms of stress starting to creep into your life. Take heed and use these tips to nip them in the bud as quickly as you can.


You are a picture of pure tranquillity, you are Buddha personified. Throw this book in the bin or, preferably, give it to a friend who could really use it.


Start the retraining process today

Most situations we find ourselves in that aren't to our liking generally haven't come about overnight. If we are really honest with ourselves, we probably knew they were happening but chose to live in denial until the situation got serious. We don't develop love handles over a weekend, but it's not until our clothes don't fit that we decide to join the gym and get moving. We don't generally max out our credit cards in one day either (although it would be easy) — they gradually climb, and we only take action when they are full, even though we well and truly knew what was happening.

The same is true of losing control of our lives when we become business owners. It starts innocently enough, then slowly but surely the business takes over and we lose control. We know it's happening but we kind of ignore it because we don't really know what to do. And, of course, it's only for a short while — everything will magically change back at some undetermined time in the future. We hope.

This section looks at starting the change process, determining your level of motivation and how you want your life to look and feel. Quite a few of the tips here suggest taking some time to write down your thoughts. Remember to take the time to do this as it is particularly beneficial.

#1 Decide right here, right now, if you are ready to change

#2 Take some time, alone, to reflect on where you are today

#3 Understand the enemy — what things throw you out of whack?

#4 What bad habits have you developed?

#5 Be clear about how you want your life to look and feel

#6 Old habits die hard — it takes time to change

#7 Develop your plan of attack and put it where you can see it

#8 Start every day on the right path

#9 Reward yourself for staying on track

#10 Visit your doctor, healer or naturopath

#11 What are the things you have always wanted to do?

#12 Be prepared to invest in the process

#1 Decide right here, right now, if you are ready to change

The first tip is the most important in this book. If you are not 100 per cent ready to wrest control of your life back from your business, you won't achieve it. I attended an interesting motivational seminar recently at which the host asked one man in the crowd of 4000 people what was wrong with his life. The hapless fellow rattled off a list of his woes, from no girlfriend to no money, niggling health issues but nothing serious, and a losing battle with his weight.

The well-known host, with a big grin, asked what was stopping him from getting his life together. The poor man gave a lengthy list of why he couldn't change any of the things in his life that he was unhappy with. They were all good reasons and they sounded reasonable to me, albeit a little defeatist and whiny. The host then said, 'If I gave you $1 million right here, right now, could you change your life immediately and rid yourself of the issues that are plaguing you and preventing you from making the most of your life?' In a heartbeat the man said, 'Absolutely — yes.'

Now this is interesting. It's not the problems or the solutions that are the issues. They are simply the mechanics of the situation. Any reasonably intelligent person can sit down and write a list of the issues that are affecting them and what they need to do about it, or find someone to help them do it. The secret ingredient to make change work is motivation. If you have the right motivation, you can change anything in your life. If you haven't, the change will only be token.

What can I do today?

Print or write this message on a piece of paper and put it on the wall, in your diary or wherever you will see it every day: 'I am taking control of my life back from my business. I am the boss.'

#2 Take some time, alone, to reflect on where you are today

Before you leap into action and start to change everything in your life, I suggest taking some time out to reflect on how your life is today, and how you imagined it would be. Some of it will be really on track, I am sure, but there are bound to be parts that are just not working for you.

In the normal state of craziness that most of us seem to live our lives in, there is little time to simply sit and reflect — but I think reflection is an incredibly powerful tool. To reflect on the journey that has got you to this point in your life means remembering the good and the bad, the dreams and the desires. To reflect on this means to take stock of where you are today, and this can really drive the change process because you will be motivated by remembering how you wanted your life to be.

There is a reason that meditation has become so popular in modern Western culture — remembering, of course, that it has been popular in some other cultures for thousands of years. (Perhaps we weren't that quick off the mark.) Quiet reflection is a form of meditation and it can do wonderful things for us if we take the time and create the right environment to let it happen.

So while I am recommending that you take time to reflect on where you are today, I also strongly recommend building time into your life for reflection every day — maybe at the end of the day, or maybe in the morning when you get up. It's up to you, but the things to think about are: How was the day you just experienced? What went well, and what didn't? What could you have done better? What are you proud of?

The funny thing about reflection is that you have to train your mind to do it; you need to ask the questions. In the early stages, think of four or five questions and ask them of yourself at your chosen daily reflection session. After a while, they will form in your mind automatically. It will be very calming and you will be better able to break your bad habits if you become aware of them on a daily basis.

What can I do today?

Give yourself time to sit and ponder, away from phones, customers, the family or any other distraction that will prevent you from being able to think clearly. Then just sit and reflect, maybe write down a few things that come into your mind. But generally just make peace with what has occurred to get you to this point in your life. Then make the time to do this on a daily basis.

#3 Understand the enemy — what things throw you out of whack?

If someone asks me what disrupts the balance between my business and my life I can easily list the culprits:

• Overcommitting my time (I can't say no and I get excited by interesting new projects).

• Aspects of running my company that I am no good at (bookkeeping, operational procedures, etc.).

• Day-to-day distractions that stop me getting my work done (I get hundreds of emails, countless telephone calls, letters, visitors, etc. every day).

• The internet — I love it and get distracted by it, and have to find the time to finish projects that I didn't get done because I was distracted (as you can tell I have a very short attention span).

• Poor time management.

That is me being perfectly honest about myself. I get lots done, I work long hours and I have very high expectations of myself, but the above issues bring me undone faster than any others. Fortunately for me I have a great team of people to work with; they are very aware of each of these issues and do their utmost to prevent them from impacting on me.

I suggest that you write your own list. What causes you the greatest frustration in your business? Is it worrying about money? Having to manage your staff? Is it caused by your suppliers? Or your customers? Again, try to be specific if you can. Often we haven't actually taken the time to think through the causes of our day-to-day angst. You can then start to do something about it and, even more importantly, you can enlist the help of those around you, who can generally see you slowly destroying yourself as you battle the panicky feeling of being overwhelmed by your business.

What can I do today?

Make a list of the issues that seem to cause you the greatest amount of grief on a daily basis. Once you have written it, put it in a prominent place and be committed to addressing these issues once and for all. Enlist the aid of others to help you.

#4 What bad habits have you developed?

The underlying cause of being out of balance is generally related to bad habits that have become part of your normal, day-to-day way of doing things.

These habits may relate to your health and wellbeing. Perhaps you eat badly because there isn't enough time in a seriously busy day to go that little bit further and get a healthier lunch. Or exercise consists of wrestling open a bag of chips, your only meal, sometime during the day.

Or perhaps you are drinking a lot of coffee to fight the fatigue of working longer and longer hours. Or maybe you are unable to make even simple decisions anymore simply because your mind is so full.

Whatever your particular bad habits are, rest assured, you are not alone. They come with the territory and I have had them all. I do know, though, that these bad habits will trap you if you don't act on them, and from my experience they are particularly hard to shift. Just like smoking, it's easy to start but amazingly difficult to stop.

Not all bad habits are obvious. It can sometimes be a matter of what you are not doing that is significant. Like not taking enough time to relax, not recharging your batteries by doing the things you love. These are generally by-products of the bad habits we have developed — but they should be listed as well to help you start the change process.

What can I do today?

Make a detailed list of all the bad habits that you have developed and the impact they have on you. Be honest, be specific and be prepared to be a little shocked. If you are not comfortable with this, don't show anyone else, but don't kid yourself either. Write them all down.

#5 Be clear about how you want your life to look and feel

Just as important as making the time to sit and reflect on your life as it is today is being clear on what you want your life to be like, or how you want it to look and feel, from here on.

I find that being clear about this makes everything else fall into place. The more specific you can be about how you want your life to be, the more likely you are to achieve it.

Often it is hard to be clear about just what it is we want out of life. Faced with a blank piece of paper, I struggled for a long time with my attempt to list how I wanted my life to look, or how I wanted my business or my body to look. I found it easier to write down the things I didn't want first of all — that made working out the things I did want much simpler.

Before I started my marketing company I had done a number of different things. I had been a commercial diver, run a small travel company, worked around the world as a sales professional, sold encyclopaedias door to door — and much more. I had reached a crossroad in my life where I was trying to decide what I wanted to do. So I wrote down all the things I liked about each of my previous professions, and all the things I didn't like, and from those lists determined what kind of business I wanted now.

The results were very specific. I had spent a lot of time working outdoors and being cold. Hence today I live in the tropics, but I didn't want an outdoors job. I used to be on call 24 hours a day when I had my travel company, but I didn't want to answer the phone at 3 a.m. anymore. I certainly didn't want to knock on doors to sell anything, but I did want to meet people and to travel.

What came out of the melting pot was a very clear set of criteria to be met by my next business — and that's how I came to be a writer and marketing consultant.

So when we are talking about regaining control of our lives and being able to successfully balance business and life, we need to know exactly what that means to us as individuals.

Writing it down makes it real. The form in which you do it — lists, tables, a flowchart — doesn't matter. Write down exactly how you want your life to look. Be very specific. Don't say you want to spend more time with your children — say how much more time. If you don't want to work as many hours, say how many hours you do want to work. If you want to earn more money, say how much. Specifics become reality. Airy-fairy, non-specific goals rarely get to be achieved.

The more specific your goals are, the greater your chances of making them a reality.

What can I do today?

Today is the day to make up the written picture of how you want your life to look and feel. Be specific, take your time — and keep your target list where you will always be able to see it.

#6 Old habits die hard — it takes time to change While it is good to acknowledge that it has taken time to form the habits that prevent us from balancing our life and business, and that subsequently it will take time to change these habits, we need to get on top of the process of change and drive it.


Excerpted from 101 Ways to Have a Business and a Life by Andrew Griffiths. Copyright © 2007 Andrew Griffiths. Excerpted by permission of Allen & Unwin.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Andrew Griffiths is a professional marketing consultant. His company, The Marketing Professionals, provides practical and creative marketing solutions to both large corporations and small business operators. He is the author of several business books, including the 101 . . . series and Secrets to Building a Winning Business.

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