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Employee Management

Maintaining a Healthy Work/Life Balance

Running three collision repair facilities, I’ve learned over the years that working toward a healthy work/life balance is critical.

Tom Martin is the owner of three CARSTAR locations in Ohio – CARSTAR Sidney, CARSTAR Troy and CARSTAR Piqua. He started working in a collision repair shop at 15, then went on to purchase the business. He joined CARSTAR in 2003 with his first location. He opened his second CARSTAR location in 2014 and a third in 2019. He has long been a champion of advanced technology and also training for his team. He also donates his time to a variety of volunteer organizations, veterans in need, the homeless and youth sports. He can be reached at [email protected]

On most mornings, you can find me at the neighborhood Big Four Cross Fit when they open their doors. Standing on a balance ball as part of my morning workout, I think about how to achieve the optimum work/life equilibrium.

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My wife and I will often hit the road with the family in our RV for a little rest and relaxation.

You always hear the “experts” say you have to make time for yourself and your family to succeed at work, but when you’re the business owner and just starting out, everyone depends on you to put work first. Growing and nurturing a business requires your full attention, and it’s hard to focus on anything else.

Spread Thin

With three CARSTAR locations in Sidney, Troy and Piqua, Ohio, I can find myself spread pretty thin. But I’ve learned over the years – sometimes the hard way – that working toward a healthy balance is critical. In the beginning, I didn’t have that balance. Thank goodness I have an understanding wife or life wouldn’t have turned out as good as it has for me. I’m the type of person who is all in no matter what it is, which is good and bad.

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One thing that has helped me achieve a better balance in my life is the support from CARSTAR. With their management tools and resources, I can operate my three locations more efficiently, which allows me more time to enjoy my life and my family.

A Turning Point

Back when I started, when I had everything on the line and my family and employees were counting on me to make it happen, I put all my efforts into the business. When we opened the second store, I promised my wife I would still keep my work time to under 10 hours per day and then I promised myself to take better care of my health and made time every day to work out. I learned that if I didn’t take care of myself, I would not be able to take care of anyone else.

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That realization finally hit me as I got older and fully understood what truly is important in life. It’s really easy to take things like your spouse, kids, parents and friends for granted. You’re so busy at work and so focused on achieving the next goal that you think you can slow down and spend time with them once you achieve that. But there is no guarantee how long any of us will be here, and we need to remember to enjoy the day we have and keep things in perspective.

Schedule Time for Yourself

To keep myself balanced, I have my day broken down into segments. I have 16 hours available – two hours for fitness/personal time, 10 hours for work, board service and community functions, and four hours for my wife, kids and grandkids. It’s not always perfect, but I try to stay with this balance because too much of anything is not good for you and the more well-rounded you are, the better you’re going to be for everyone.

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There is no guarantee how long any of us will be here, and we need to remember to enjoy the day we have and keep things in perspective.


I’ve seen a lot of benefits from this approach. My quality of life has gotten better, and I’m able to move better and think better. It has helped me to be not so stressed out even though I have a lot more responsibilities and pressures now. It’s truly amazing how much better you feel when you give your body the right fuel and exercise and how much that pays back into your work life and family life.

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Teach Your Team

I share my work/life balance approach with my team at all of our locations. I try to remind them how important family is, not to take things for granted and to take care of themselves. The benefits of doing so are definitely worth the effort it takes. I always tell them to learn from my lessons – that way, they’re that much further along in life than I was at that point. Of course, they’re young and I’m the old man, so you know how that goes.


When you’re the business owner and just starting out, everyone depends on you
to put work first.

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We discuss things that have helped me in life, like allocating time to each activity each day. I also really encourage healthy eating and exercise. It just makes you a better person because you feel better and are mentally stronger to handle life’s challenges.

Summary

When everyone is working to achieve balance in their lives and taking steps to improve their health, it creates a more positive, productive workplace. Not to say there aren’t difficult situations or stressful times, but we’re all better equipped to deal with them.

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