Having trouble with balancing your work and life worlds? Many small business owners get so caught up with selling and making new connections and fixing problems that they forget to concentrate on…. their own issues.
However, it’s extremely important to maintain a solid work-life balance if you’re in it for the long run. Otherwise you risk running out of steam and shutting down shop forever. And nobody wants that! Here are some concrete tips to balance your life and your work so you’re in it for the long haul.
1. Schedule Better Breaks
One of the most common complaints from small business owners is also one of the most frequent causes of burnout. Small business owners, especially new ones, have a habit of blasting through all their breaks during the day, thinking they’re a waste of time.
A good break schedule, though, is essential for running a business. They can recharge your battery (both mentally and physically) and can also give you time to step back, grain perspective, and brainstorm around any issues you’re having. Figure out a good schedule for your breaks and try to maintain it.
2. Separate Work Time From Home Time
Do you work from home, or at least find yourself working late hours after you get home and eat supper? If you’re struggling with a work-life balance it’s important to physically separate the two, even if you actually work from home.
Freelancers and online sellers with home offices often find themselves interrupted by loved ones for random things. Let them know when you’re “at work” they should only interrupt when necessary. Close the door to your office when you’re working. Or, if you literally work from the kitchen table, wear a special hat that means you must not be interrupted right now. As long as you establish clear boundaries, your family will catch on. Then when it’s time for “home time,” turn the laptop off and concentrate on your family and friends…and supper!
3. Use Your Calendar Wisely
Stop memorizing everything and remember to use your calendar and notifications. No matter how great your memory is eventually you’ll slip up on something when you get swamped. When you use an online calendar you’ll be more organized to as much detail as you want, and, if you are in the habit of recording every single appointment and to-do, your brain is stressing less over that niggling feeling that “there’s something I’m forgetting…” Notifications are a great way to make sure you focus on a task when it’s due instead of forgetting and trying to catch up.
4. Get a Hobby
No, we don’t mean a work related hobby – a real hobby you can really focus on perfecting! Cooking, maybe, or yoga, or even something like bowling. These hobbies can help you in a few ways. For one it takes your mind off of work for a while. Two, these hobbies usually come with a set time to do them (meet at 8 for the bowling league) which means the most overworked of us will be forced to go. Finally, a set “hobby time” can be a great time for letting your brain de-stress, unwind and… come up with new ideas for the business! Yes, that’s right. We’ve all been driving, doing dishes, or taking a shower when inspiration struck. A hobby will allow for the same mind-wandering dedication to a problem in your business, but without you sitting at your desk and tearing your hair out.
5. Get Help
If you’ve found yourself trying to keep your head above water all the time, there’s no shame in hiring help. Whether it’s a contractor to assist with aspects of a major project or an app like WePay to get your online invoicing in order, pulling in outside help can free your workload…and your mind!
You may come to realize the outside help you hire streamlines your entire process so much you want to keep them on permanently. That’s a good thing! It means your small business is growing in ways you probably didn’t expect. Pursue that line of thinking and see what else you can delegate to make your life more balanced between work and play!