As a small or medium-sized business owner, it can be challenging to find time for anything. Even in your downtime, you devote every effort to maintaining the company’s operations. Your personal life is affected. You find yourself becoming a slave to your business. And you’re more likely to suffer from burnout than ever.
So how can you maintain your work-life balance when running your small business? Here are a few tips from us.
What is work-life balance?
Work-life balance is the idea of spending enough time working to achieve your career goals, while also spending enough time for your personal life. You don’t work every hour you’re awake. You pursue a hobby, participate in activities you enjoy, or spend time with friends and family.
This seems to be too difficult for small business owners, who spend most of their day trying to keep their business in check.
Although every person has their own definition of work-life balance, some ground rules most of us can agree on include:
- Don’t work so hard that you’ll hate your career.
- Take care of your health and well-being.
- Make enough time for activities in your life that you really enjoy.
- Spend enough time with the people who are important to you.
- Get what you want in your business, without overdoing it.
The phrase “work-life balance” has been thrown around too much that some of us think it’s a cliché. Doesn’t mean that it’s not important!
Below are 5 work-life balance tips for small business owners.
1. Set boundaries
You should set your boundaries so that you don’t overwork yourself. It’s obviously easier said than done, but overworking can lead to severe problems that you can’t control.
Some boundaries you can set to keep work separate from your personal time:
- Avoid work-related tasks after a certain time of day unless there’s an emergency.
- Turn off phone notifications during focused hours.
- Take breaks during the day to decompress and recharge.
- Spend time on weekends for personal life activities, whether it’s family time, meditation, or catching up on your favorite hobby.
You may think that having your own boundaries can affect your relationships with business partners and employees. In fact, most people don’t care that much, and most will respect your boundaries.
Plus, your boundaries don’t have to be super rigid. You can respond in urgent situations and take one weekend to resolve unfinished work if needed.
If you want to be clear about when people can reach you, communicate your available time to others. Or you can add time blocks when you’re available on Google Calendar and share it with others. This way people know when they can contact you.
2. Allow yourself to take breaks
Work-life balance requires devoting time to other aspects of your life, not just work. You can’t focus on your personal life without making time for it.
If you’re frequently overworked, there’s a good possibility you haven’t had time for a proper break or non-work things lately.
You should schedule your personal time as if it were a job responsibility. You don’t have to wait for a certain milestone reached to take a break. Allowing yourself to rest after long, tiring working hours is a better strategy in the long run.
3. Delegate when necessary
Small business owners can’t do it all, even though it often feels like their only option. Delegating tasks is an excellent way of reducing your workload and keeping your business moving.
You can consider hiring temporary workers or assistants to help you with non-urgent and unimportant tasks. Or you can select some automation options on the market to streamline certain procedures in your business. Use an automated app to schedule your staff’s shifts, for example.
It may take some time to train your employees on how to handle delegated tasks. But they’ll get used to doing the tasks and you’ll save much more time later.
4. Be consistent in your work
Sometimes, when work gets overwhelmed, you procrastinate. It’s human nature and it happens to everyone. But the next time you put off something important, remember that you may have to stay up late tomorrow to make up for it.
So, it’s not just about how much time you try to squeeze out of your workday or how much you’ve accomplished, but more about consistency. There’ll be days when you don’t feel like doing anything, fiddle with unimportant stuff, and then feel guilty at the end of the day. If you build a consistent habit of dealing with your work, you’ll minimize those guilty moments.
To keep your working habit, you should build your own routine and follow it consistently. For example, you can start your work after/with a cup of coffee. This signals your brain that it’s working time, not slacking time.
5. Minimize distractions
We live in a world full of distractions: texts, emails, social media, phone notifications, breaking news, entertainment websites, and so much more.
What’s more dangerous is that these distractions are woven into our daily work. You use emails to contact your business partners and customers. You browse social media for updates on trends or promote your business. You make scattered calls during the day.
Everything competes for your attention and quickly stresses you out. You may find yourself check your phone notifications while you’re spending time with your loved ones, or think about an email you haven’t replied while you’re in bed.
You can minimize distractions by setting a certain time of the day when you can check your phone, emails, or social media. If you work from home these days, you can also create a separate working space to make it clear when’s the working time.
A few notes
To maintain a healthy work-life balance as a small business owner, you must first view this as something you want to commit to. Managing a business isn’t a one-time task. You need to take care of your well-being to stick to what you’re doing in the long run.
So setting boundaries or putting aside work-related issues at certain times and days are all legitimate. When you establish rules for how you approach things and stick with them, that’s when you can strike a healthy balance between your business and personal life.