Being a small business owner is no easy task. People on the outside only see that you’ve built something special and the perks of being your own boss, but they rarely get any insight into just how big of a time commitment running your own business takes. As they say, a job is something work from 9-5 but a business is something you hustle 24/7 for.
Unfortunately, working 24/7 will lead to stress, fatigue, failed relationships and health problems. The key to success is in managing your time wisely and developing a work-life balance that is beneficial for you. The phrase “work-life balance” is a little misleading. You can never actually have a true balance between the two, it is always a give and take. There are boundaries and rules, however, that you can set up to limit stress.
Setting your own schedule is great, but you need to factor in breaks throughout your day, just as if you were working for someone else at an office job. Set a schedule for your business and try to stick with it. For example, read and respond to e-mails only twice a day rather than all day long. Have a set lunch break from 11 to 12 can help you catch a breather in the middle of the day. These small scheduling tips can go a long way towards a more balanced day.
Set boundaries between your work day and your family or social time. Make a dedicated space to work in, even if you work at home. Keep work within that dedicated space so that it doesn’t take over the house, which it will in a heartbeat, if you don’t take control. Set times where you will no longer work on the business. Maybe your cut off is 5 pm, maybe it’s 7 pm and once a day you take a full day off. Whatever schedule works, just as long as you have one that include clear boundaries. You deserve time off and even vacations.
Practice self-care. Make sure to get some down time to spend with relatives, read books, listen to music, have a spa day, whatever it is that recharges your batteries. This is not wasted time. Your mind and body both need to rest. This helps you relieve stress and repair the brain and body so you can continue to keep up your pace.
Don’t be afraid to say no. Just because you have the freedom to set your own schedule doesn’t mean that you have to volunteer for every event that comes along. You can’t drop what you are doing for every household chore either. Stick to your schedule and make arrangements for special occasions as needed.
Learn how to delegate. This is probably the most important tip of all. Write down two lists. On one list, detail all the responsibilities in your business. On the other, write down all the responsibilities you have at home. Take a look at each list and decide where you can delegate tasks. At home it might mean hiring a cleaning company to free up your time to spend with loved ones. At work it might be hiring a virtual assistant to help with emails, blog tasks, social media or anything else you need to get off your plate.
Make sure to have a work-life balance discussion with yourself monthly. Do a self-care check in to make sure you are getting enough rest and down time. Use these tips to make yourself happier at home and at work.