The Work/Life Balance Conundrum (Part 2/5)

The Work/Life Balance Conundrum (Part 2/5)

The biggest issue with the self-help industry is the moulds that are created and the box that you are seemingly being forced into. I almost want to say “unfortunately” here but rather I will choose the word “thankfully” because thankfully there is no such thing as “one size fits all” when it comes to a solution.

If you have read our blogs you will see that we prefer to give advice coming from what worked for us. We leave it open for you to try it so you can take what works, and throw away the rest. Through trial and error, you can come up with a custom solution that works for you.

For example, when it comes to sleep habits:

  • You can read 2 blogs, one tells you to get 4 hours because that is what the most successful people do
  • The other says 7-8 hours where you go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day.
  • You try 4 hours, it doesn’t work so you go for 7 hours strategy from 10pm-5am and you feel refreshed.

We should never feel guilty if something worked for someone else but does not work for us, it just means we need to adjust and try something else. Work/life balance is not impossible, but each season may look different. When we think balance, we think 50% one way, 50% the other. As the Father of a newborn and a toddler, I can tell you that my life right now is not 50/50. It is more of a 70/30, family over work right now.

As we create routines and our newborn starts to settle in, that will come closer to 50/50. It may even have to sway to more work to make up for that time, maybe a 60/40.

We have a pie chart exercise in part 4 of this series that you can see what your life looks like right now and where you want it to be. DO NOT be married to those percentages for the rest of your life, be flexible and re-visit it in different seasons of life.

As always, if there is anything we can do to help you out, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Check out Part 3: “Life Is Like Riding a Bicycle.
See our intro to the series “Work/Life Balance – Introduction.

– Derek Burbidge
Manager of Sales & Marketing for VEA

Work/Life Balance – Introduction (Part 1/5)

Work/Life Balance – Introduction (Part 1/5)

This is the single biggest topic of discussion that I have encountered when talking about life in general amongst work associates, friends, family, and other groups.  The majority of people that I have heard speak on the topic of their own life balance rate themselves as ‘imbalanced’… usually far too heavily weighted on work.  In fact, there is a common work-life balance quote that goes No one on his death bed ever said, ‘I wish I had spent more time at the office”

Let’s face it, the average North American working a 40 hour work week spends 40% of their waking hours at work – not including travel to and from, overtime, or other off-time projects – so that statistic alone makes it extremely difficult to achieve a balanced life.  The 7 most common areas of life that we need to work in keeping balance with are:

  1. Mental Health (mind)
  2. Physical Health (body)
  3. Spiritual Health (soul)
  4. Family
  5. Social (relationships outside of family, recreation, fun)
  6. Career/Business
  7. Financial

We all, however, have the freedom of choice so that we can decide what our priorities are for our own lives and how much energy and commitment we want to put into these areas.  Also, keep in mind that sacrifices in other areas of life are necessary to enhance the ones that you want to improve upon.

There is a great, well-known story about how truly full our lives are these days, and how to balance it all for the greatest happiness possible:

One day a philosophy professor brought a large glass jar and some beautiful river rocks to class with him. “Raise your hands when the jar is full,” he instructed his students, and he began putting the big rocks into the jar.  Soon the lid would no longer fit, and all the students raised their hands to indicate the jar was full.  The professor then pulled out a bag of smaller black and white pebbles and poured them into the jar.  As the pebbles rolled down, they filled the little gaps between the big river rocks.  The students smiled and raised their hands.  This time the jar was completely full. 

Then the professor produced a bag of sand and began pouring it into the jar.  When the sand had filled the tiny gaps between the rocks and the pebbles he triumphantly placed the lid on the jar and asked his class if the jar was now full.  They all clapped and agreed, “Yes it is full!”  At that point, the professor opened the lid and slowly poured two cups of coffee into the jar.  The coffee completely filled the tiniest gaps between the rocks, the pebbles, and the grains of sand.  “Now, life is very much like this jar,” he said. 

“The river rocks represent the most important things in life, such as your ethics, your family, your loved ones and your health.  Even if you lost everything else, your life would still be full with these most important things in it.  The pebbles are the things in our lives that are pretty important – but our happiness shouldn’t depend on them.  Things like our job, house, car, etc.  Finally, the sand represents everything else – the countless small, busy things that fill our lives.  If we fill up our jar with sand first, then we won’t have any room for the river rocks or pebbles.  If we fill our lives with just the small stuff or the busy stuff, we won’t have any room or time for the things that mean the most to us.” 

After a brief moment of silence on of the students asked, “Professor, what does the coffee represent?”.  “Ah, I’m glad you asked,” replied the professor. “It means that, no matter how full your life is, there is always room for a cup of coffee with a friend.”

After reading this story, we have a few questions for you to ponder in the attached PDF to help you structure your life to be a little more balanced.

Work life balance worksheet download button

See Part 2 of our 5 part series, “The Work-Life Balance Conundrum“.

– Nick Thompson
Co-Founder & President of VEA

Fractional CFO Services

Fractional CFO Services

VEA is now offering certified virtual CFO services that are 100% North American!

Our fractional CFO’s understand the complex and diverse job descriptions faced by many of today’s CEOs, presidents, and entrepreneurs. We offer virtual bookkeepers and executive assistants (and now accredited CFOs) that have multiple years of experience in a professional role and are here to assist you with your day-to-day tasks and larger projects.

Our focus is to help you grow your business which is why we only charge for the hours that you actually use. We can scale the hours up or down, based on what your needs are.

How do you know if you need help from a CFO?

Take our assessment below. If you answer ‘no‘ to any of these questions, please contact us for a discussion to see how we can help you grow your business.

Derek Burbidge
Manager of Sales & Marketing

Growing Your Real Estate Brokerage

Growing Your Real Estate Brokerage

If your real estate business is growing with the market, many Realtors find themselves bogged down by admin work. It keeps them from meeting clients and potential clients, slowing their ability to grow their business.

VEA will help you push your business forward by freeing up your time to pursue new leads and bring back sanity to your personal life.

Here are the services we provide for our clients:

  • Answer the telephone, take messages, and forward calls to a licensee
  • Schedule appointments for the licensee
  • Submit listings and changes, as approved by a licensee, to a multiple listing service
  • Organize digital marketing campaigns and manage follow-ups
  • Maintain brand consistency across all online and offline communications
  • Organize and send out e-newsletters
  • Draft advertising copy, promotional materials, and correspondence for approval by a licensee
  • Undertake online research
  • Maintain an online presence and build followings for re-marketing purposes
  • Place advertising
  • Prepare and distribute flyers and promotional information under the direction of and with approval by a licensee
  • Gather feedback from licensees on showings
  • Complete contract forms with business and factual information at the direction of and with approval by a licensee
  • Assemble documents for a closing
  • Perform bookkeeping or office functions, including
    • record and deposit trust funds, including transaction deposits, security deposits and rents
    • compute remuneration cheques and perform bookkeeping activities
    • monitor licenses and personnel files
    • office filing

Who is VEA?

VEA (Virtual Executive Assistance) is a 100% North America company with highly skilled EA’s. We work as low as 20 hours a month. Our EA’s work with you to grow your business.

If you are tired of doing any of the above-mentioned tasks or need to free up more time, please do not hesitate to reach out to us, we are here to help.

– Derek Burbidge
Manager of Sales & Marketing

The Slow Season Double Down

The Slow Season Double Down

It’s summer or Christmas and your business has slowed down. Many businesses slow down, it’s hard to get a hold of leads or your clients, so what do you do now? Here are a few ideas to grow your business during the slow season.

Take a Break

Let’s start off by completely contradicting the title of this blog post. Take a break, go on vacation. This is the best time to relax and spend some time with your family. Get away from work and do the things that re-energize and excite you. Whether that is laying on a beach or going on a 4-day hike.


I have gotten to know a local Financial Advisor over the past few years and he gave me great advice during the summer. In August, his business completely shuts down. Clients, fellow advisors, lenders…everyone is on vacation. What he does is automate his business. He is miles ahead of other advisors and can scale his business faster because of all of the hard work he puts in during his slow season.

Whether it is onboarding new clients, following up throughout the year or many other areas of his business, he has taken the time to automate the monotonous tasks. Where can you automate your business?

Goal Set

This is one of my favourite things to do. Read our blog on the ‘Think Week‘ I do a few times a year. Your slow season should be a time that you step back and set goals for the coming year or quarter. If you already have goals in place, this is the season to make sure you are on track. Tracking your goals is just as important as setting them.

See our Goal Tracking worksheet to help you not only set goals but track them.

Personal Development

If you have been in business for a while you will know when your slow season is. This is a great time to invest in yourself through personal development courses; whether that is online or through a program or conference. There are plenty of personal development conferences that go on around the world, whether they are for your growth or a conference that helps you grow within your industry.

If you are interested in a conference, choose one in a location you would love to visit and bring your family. Three days at the conference and with a week’s vacation with your family.

Grow Your Network

Reach out to people you really want to connect with and strengthen relationships with those you want to know better. For new connections, swing for the fences. Look for the top dogs in your industry or those you would like to connect with. Try and book it about a month out and fill out a day or two of just connecting with people.

If you plan a day with 3-4 coffee meetings, make sure you choose decaf for at least 2 of them or you will be visibly shaking by the end of it. I have learned this from experience.

Learn New Technologies

Technology moves so fast, researching and implementing new software could save you countless hours for the coming season. Networking and joining groups within your industry will help you identify new technology faster than you researching everything by yourself.

Focus On Other Products & Services

If you are in retail, gift cards will sell better at Christmas than most times of the year. Is there a new service or product you could create in your slow season that would be an ideal time for your clients to use it?


Do not feel guilty taking time off in your slow season, but if you are inclined to work or would like to use the time to grow your business, the above list will help immensely. Is it time to bring someone in to help automate or hand off tasks? Check out our services to see where we can come in to help you grow your business.

Is there anything else that you have done during your slow season? We would love to hear your comments below.

Derek Burbidge, Manager of Sales & Marketing
VEA Pros