Recently, Tree Services magazine conducted a reader survey in which one of the questions asked, “What keeps you up at night?”

As you can see, an overwhelming 64 percent of survey respondents indicated that trying to balance their work and personal life is “what keeps them up at night.”

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These results tell us that, even though issues directly related to work — finishing projects on time, getting paid on time and personnel issues — are worrisome, it’s that delicate balance of maintaining a happy personal and work life, as well as finding time for both, that most vexes this sample size of tree care pros.

An article by Forbes magazine listed several tips on how to achieve that ideal personal/work life mix. Let’s take some of those tips and apply them to the tree care industry:

Unplug

Do you check your work email at home? Constantly looking at your company’s Facebook page at your kid’s baseball game? Do yourself — and everyone around you — a favor: Stop. Make quality time true quality time. Technology is wonderful and, for most of you, has changed your business to 24-hour operations. This might be good for the bank account, but bad for your mental health, throwing off the proper personal/work life balance. This doesn’t apply just to technology. When you can, completely unplug from your job. We all feel the need at times to complain to our spouse/friends/family members about that bad customer. Or that annoying co-worker, that estimate that fell through, that chain saw that keeps stalling over and over and over. Families are our support system but, sometimes, time is better spent enjoying each other than ranting and raving over dinner about how bad that day’s work was.

Exercise and meditate

This one applies to everyone, even for those of you who work in the field and are in constant motion. Find time each day — at home, away from work — to exercise. This can be as simple as going for a jog, run or walk or even a simple stretching routine. As the Forbes article points out, exercise releases feel-good endorphins throughout your body. After a rough day at work, whether physically or mentally, finding time to exercise after can help relieve stress and anxiety. For those of you who sit behind a desk or at a computer all day, this one is the most important on the list. You must find time to keep your muscles alive and stay fit. Your health depends on it. Meditation isn’t as easy and can seem foreign if you’re unfamiliar. Essentially, it’s rebooting your mind and emptying it of stressful personal and/or job-related thoughts. We all come home from work stressed. The key is losing that stress, so that when you’re on your personal time, it can be meaningful and enjoyable to you and your family.

Start small, build from there

The point here is not to go for broke right away. Make changes that are actually manageable. If you’re that owner/ operator who’s working 80 hours per week and you want to reduce that number, don’t make an unreasonable expectation to work 40 — start with 70, and if possible, decrease from there. That extra 10 hours you’ve now freed up may do wonders on your way to creating that ideal personal/work life balance.

Everything here is manageable and doable with the right frame of mind — good luck!