As a small business owner, you probably find it difficult to master a work-life balance. What with the long hours, networking requirements and the constant need to market, there’s little time left for a personal life. And when you do get to spend time with your loved ones or take a vacation, you probably find this eats into your work commitments just as easily.
This begs the question how can you get a grip on work-life balance in a small business?
Understandably, you want your small business to succeed and grow. But arguably you don’t want to be working so hard that you’re burning out and not having time for family and friends.
So, what’s the answer?
Here are a handful of tips that can help you achieve a better work-life balance especially if you practice them daily and commit to it long term.
1. Set Boundaries
For those small business owners who are ‘married’ to their job, this isn’t an easy task but we’ve listed a few ways that you can keep work separate from personal time.
- Set a certain time of the day after which you will not do any tasks related to work
- Following on from the above, do not answer any emails or take any phone calls on your Smartphone related to business
- Take official ‘breaks’ during the day to de-clog your brain and recharge your batteries
- Use the whole of the weekend for personal life activities whether that’s spending time with family and friends or catching up with a favourite hobby.
2. Become Super-Productive
Being productive enables a small business owner to accomplish more in less time and have more spare time but not everyone knows exactly how to make this concept work for them.
Here are a few tips to help you become the master of productivity.
- Organisation – Being organised both in your work and personal life means you won’t waste as much time sorting out tasks. It’s a good idea to write tasks down on a whiteboard and tick them off once they’re done.
- Theming – When you theme or plan days, weeks, or months ahead you don’t spend so much time about thinking what you should be doing for that period. This rewards you with more time since you can get straight down to your business tasks. For instance, Monday could be a marketing day, Tuesday could be spent networking and Wednesday could be client-facing work and so on.
- Time Management – Learning to manage your time efficiently will also give you more breathing space. Block off different times of the day so you know exactly what you should be doing at any given time.
While you may think it’s your only option, you can’t do everything yourself. Delegating tasks is the perfect way of taking some of the weight off your shoulders and making headway in projects.
If you have one employee, say, you could delegate some of the basic admin jobs. Alternatively, you might want to consider outsourcing those time-consuming jobs that (a) you’re not very good at and (b) don’t like doing such as bookkeeping.
Being able to assess what tasks demand immediate attention as opposed to tasks that can wait a while means that the crucial jobs get done and you don’t feel quite so overwhelmed. It also helps you identify what is really important and what isn’t. Ask yourself what are the consequences of not getting a task done – i.e. will something bad happen or can it be postponed to give yourself a little more leeway.
It’s true that prioritising requires a bit of work up-front but you’ll be glad you did it when you have more time later down the line to do the things you want. Once you get into the habit of prioritising you will have more choice over what you do because all of the important tasks will have been dealt with, leaving you with time to spend doing things with your family or friends or catching up with your favourite hobby.
5. Minimise distractions
Finally, anything during the workday that doesn’t help you achieve the tasks at hand can be considered a distraction. The problem is that in this digital world there are more distractions than ever. Some of the distractions you’re probably already plagued by include:
- Text messages
- Smart notifications
- Social media
- Phone calls
Try to cut down on these distractions by
- Checking your Smartphone only on a break or at lunchtime
- Committing to checking emails just twice a day
- Using social media purely for work-related purposes
To achieve a better work-life balance you have to be committed. This is why it’s important to set boundaries such as not dealing with work matters after a certain time of the day or not replying to work-related matters on a Sunday.
When you set rules for approaching things in your way and stick to them you will be able to strike a healthier balance between your small business and your personal life. Not only will you be more successful but ultimately you’ll be taking better care of yourself and spending valuable time with family and friends.
You may have to experiment and try different things until you find what works best for you and your small business. But keep at it and you will make that all-important breakthrough.