Keeping a healthy work-life balance can be quite a challenge. However, you can slowly achieve it by doing the following:
1. Understand that not all days will be equal.
2. Learning to set boundaries.
3. Attending social events
4. Taking vacations
5. Keeping doctor’s appointments
7. Utilizing your support system
8. Taking breaks
9. Saying No
10. Making your own rules.
Small business owners often struggle with managing work-life balance. The demands of running a company can feel overwhelming at times, particularly with start-ups. You are responsible for so many aspects of the organization. You may handle hiring and training, finances, marketing, tech support, and more. Even if your organization is well-established and fully staffed, you still may feel as if there are many complex tasks that will only be done correctly if done by you.
With all of your work-related responsibilities required to make your company a success, you may find yourself neglecting your personal life for the sake of productivity. As the owner, you may do too much. Your days become all work and no play, when the whole point of starting a business was to enjoy your job and find satisfaction in your life.
Why Work-Life Balance Matters
Successful entrepreneurs are those who understand the need to balance work with sleep and relaxation. Studies show that the average workday for those in creative or intellectual fields should be only four hours. Our brains are only capable of maintaining concentration and focus for a maximum of four hours. Beyond that time, we can be responding to emails, handling administrative tasks, or catching up on industry news.
Working more hours each week does not necessarily result in getting more done. An interesting study conducted by Boston University revealed that managers were unable to tell the difference between employees who worked 80-hour weeks and those who were just pretending to.
Monitoring the number of hours you regularly work is also important for your health. The stress associated with overworking has a clear impact on your health and has been linked to disorders such as diabetes, sleep disorders, excessive drinking, memory loss, depression, and heart disease.
Steps For Improving Work-Life Balance
Taking into account your health and your brain’s limited capacity for effectively completing work tasks, it is essential that you proactively balance your work responsibilities with your home life. Consider the following ten steps for a healthy working lifestyle:
1. Not All Days Will Be Equal
Understand that work-life balance does not mean that every day will involve an equal split between work time and home life. Some days you may need to work late to meet deadlines. Be sure to counter that time with a day off with your family or on the golf course.
2. Learn To Set Boundaries
Just as you set boundaries in other areas of your life, your job as a small business owner requires that you define boundaries and stick to them. For the most part, this pertains to the number of hours you work each week. Without boundaries, you could end up working constantly, checking emails in the middle of the night, skipping family events to tend to client needs, and pushing yourself beyond your physical limitations.
Overworking can result not only in business failures, but also health issues and damaged personal relationships. Establish the following boundaries to improve your work-life balance:
- Time: Set up specific hours for work and defined days off and adhere to that schedule. Keep vacation days and personal time sacred. This means that you should not even check your email before bed, or you will be tempted to respond to messages that seem important, but truly can wait until morning.
- Space: Create a separation between where you work and where you live. Even if your office is in your home, it’s important to establish a specific place that signifies work. When you leave that space, it’s time to stop working and begin attending to your personal life, your hobbies, and yourself.
- Accessibility: One of the biggest issues that small business owners face is how accessible they are to clients and employees. Set boundaries about when and how often you can be contacted and ensure that you only respond to true business emergencies.
3. Attend Social Events
If you’ve planned an evening out with friends or a date night with your spouse, go. And go without your phone in hand. It’s important to keep social commitments not just physically, but be available emotionally as well. Listen, interact, and have fun. Work can always come later.
4. Take A Vacation
While it may be impossible to imagine your business running smoothly without you, it’s important that you make it possible. Personal vacation time is so important for everyone, including small business owners. Take time off, whether it’s a three-day staycation or week-long skiing trip. Enjoying a complete break from work will help you rest and rejuvenate. You will return to work with the excitement and ambition to handle even the most difficult project.
5. Keep Doctor’s Appointments
When your life is overwhelmingly busy, it becomes difficult to manage your time. Doctor’s appointments tend to be the first thing you skip. While it may seem as if they fall low on your list of priorities, you need to think again. Your health should be your number one priority. This applies not only to your yearly physicals and required exams, but to your lifestyle choices. Get a gym membership and use it. Buy fresh fruits and vegetables rather than chips and cookies. Meditate or pray. Developing a well-rounded routine for your physical and mental health will go a long way towards ensuring that you are capable of working for years to come.
“Delegate” is not a dirty word, although many small business owners look on it with as much disdain. It’s impossible to do everything. Hire the right talent and invest in proper training for each person on your team. Creating a reliable staff makes delegating easy, leaving you with time and energy to focus on the important tasks.
7. Utilize Your Support System
Everyone has someone in their life who can offer support, even if they are simply available to listen to your problems. Build a support system that will be there when you need them to be, and remember to reciprocate the favor, lending support when they need it, as well.
Finding a mentor will help you manage work-related issues and offer insights into financial issues, growth planning, or business procedures.
8. Take Breaks Throughout the Workday
Sometimes it’s important to just get up and step away from a problem. Go for a walk, pick up a coffee or snack, or chat with a friend about last night’s game. Taking your mind off of the issue for a few minutes will can help you solve it more quickly when you return to it. Sometimes we just need that break to clear our minds so that we can return with the ability to view the issue from a completely new angle.
9. Say No
Your time and attention will be pulled in many directions when you are a small business owner. While you may feel as if your input is essential in every aspect of the company, it’s important for you to maintain those boundaries and simply say no. This goes not only for employees, but for clients, friends, and family as well.
10. Make Your Own Rules
This is your business and your life. Keep in mind why you started your company and don’t stray from the goals and objectives you originally laid out. Don’t let your company overrun you or overwhelm you.
Achieve Your Balance
Work-life balance is important for small business owners. Without it, they are liable to push themselves to exhaustion. Take the time to make a work schedule and ensure that you take the time off that you need for your own mental and physical health. Hire a competent staff so that you feel comfortable delegating tasks. Once you’ve developed a healthy work-life balance, you’ll be able to focus on your ultimate goals and the success of your company.