Work life balance is something that’s important but not always easy to achieve. Running your own business can become all-consuming and trying to make room for family, friends and time to relax and step back from the day to day can, at times, seem impossible.
We all start out in business determined that we will not let it rule our life. Over time, boundaries easily become blurred and before you know it, switching off and relaxing become really difficult.
The area that often impacts the most is the stress that goes with running a business. We may not be physically working but we’re often worrying or stressing about things that are going on in the business. We need to figure out how to not let this impact on our ability to enjoy life outside of the business.
- Set clear boundaries and stick to them. Let your customers know when they can expect to be able to contact you. Your customers will assume that if you were available one weekend, you’re available every weekend.
- Don’t be afraid to say no occasionally! A customer or colleague would much rather you say no, than say yes and then not be able to deliver because you’re too busy or split between priorities.
- Be strict and manage your diary well. Set time aside for work you need to do and don’t get side tracked into doing other activities that try to grab your time.
- Choose good enough over perfect. Striving to achieve perfection all the time will mean added stress and time pressure.
- Take time to step back from the business. When you spend all day running your business it’s easy to get too involved with the small issues that don’t need or deserve your attention. Take time to look at your business from afar. It can help you to see what your priorities are.
- Make “to do” lists. Then prioritise them. Break down big tasks so they don’t overwhelm. Start working on the most important ones, and be realistic about what can wait.
- When you are away from the business, set clear boundaries for levels of communication. Set aside an hour a day while away to catch up and deal with any issues that need attention. Let employees and colleagues know what issues they can contact you about and what they need to deal with on their own. Maybe own a non-work mobile phone and have a separate email when away to avoid getting non-urgent calls and messages.
- Write down your vision and aims for your business and personal life. Put it somewhere where you read it regularly. It is easy to lose focus where you want to be and what you are trying to achieve.
- Make time for yourself. This could be taking ½ an hour out each day, or going out with friends a couple of times a week. Also take regular exercise as it will help to clear your head and keep your body healthy.
- Have an interest or activity outside work that demands your time. It may sound odd, but having something that drags you away from your work and makes you focus on something else can be really useful.
- Try and find a mentor. It can be lonely working for yourself. Having a person to run ideas or problems past can help both with business but also your own state of mind.
- Ask for help. Sometimes that will be delegating work to free your time up, sometimes it will be talking through issues and getting advice. But don’t be afraid to ask.
- Try to separate thoughts about work and home life. Meditation and other relaxation techniques can help you to achieve this.
Life is short and although we all think we’ll live forever, we won’t. It’s important to remember that our businesses are only a part of the whole picture. Find the balance before it’s too late.