When you run your own business, you may be the managing director, sales team, marketer, and head of product rolled into one. Boundaries between your work and personal life can easily become blurred, particularly if you’re working from home.
Creating a healthy work-life balance isn’t only good for your health, it’s good for your small business and leads to greater productivity. Allowing your work to take over your life can lead to burnout, feeling overwhelmed and at its worst, throwing in the towel altogether. Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to make sure you stay healthy and ensure your business thrives.
Read on to find out:
- What is work-life balance?
- Why balancing your business and time-off is important
- Working from home tips: achieving your perfect balance between work and personal / family time
What is work-life balance?
Work-life balance simply means balancing the amount of time you spend on your business with your own personal needs. You may love running your business. But everyone needs a break to recharge their batteries. Taking a break can increase your productivity because you’re likely to come back refreshed and ready to take on new challenges.
The importance of work-life balance
Poor work-life balance can adversely affect your physical and mental health. Stress is one of the most common workplace issues with 17.9 million work days lost to stress, depression and anxiety in 2019/20, and a lack of balance can be a direct cause.
Unhealthy work-life balance in middle age can lead to a higher risk of physical ailments in later life. People who suffer from it tend to sleep less which, over time, can lead to increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
9 ways to achieve a better work-life balance
- Switch off your tech
For many of us, our mobile devices are constantly pinging to announce a new message or email. It can be hard to turn off and before you know it, you’re answering client emails at 11pm or taking a phone call from a customer before dawn. Sometimes you need to stop, turn your phone and computer off for an hour or two and take a break. A regular digital detox is a great way to de-stress and pause from the demands of running your own business.
- Set regular working hours
If you worked for someone else, you’d generally have contracted hours but when you work for yourself it’s harder to step back. Try setting business hours you’re prepared to operate in and stick to them. So, if you finish work at 5pm, don’t go and answer emails or cram in some paperwork in the evening.
- Create your own workspace
This is particularly important if you work from home. If you have the space for an office, then that’s perfect. If space is limited, try and find an area for your desk and computer which is your work area and nothing else. Ask flat mates or family members not to disturb you when you’re working and, if your living space allows, step away from your workspace outside of your scheduled hours.
Work out what’s important and what’s less likely to make the impact you desire. Focus on high priority, important tasks and leave the rest for another day.
If you have staff, learn to pass tasks to them. It can be hard to let go, particularly when your business is your baby, but you hired them to help you so let them get on with it. If you don’t have a physical team, consider setting up a virtual assistant to help with admin.
Working out doesn’t have to mean going to the gym. It can be as simple as going for a walk, having a kick about in the park or enjoying a bit of yoga. Anything that gets you moving will get the endorphins flowing and leave you feeling happier, and more productive.
- Take time for yourself
If exercise isn’t your thing, do something else you find relaxing. It can be as simple as reading a book for an hour, enjoying a meal with a loved one or watching a film with your kids. At the end of the day, anything that makes you feel good and well rested should be on the list.
- Say no
Setting boundaries is important. You don’t have to agree to every bit of work which comes your way. It’s worth considering whether a project will benefit your business goals before taking it on.
- Use time-saving tools
There are many apps that can help you make more effective use of your time. For example, why keep complex spreadsheets of client data on the go when a CRM system can do the job faster and more effectively? And why spend hours on bookkeeping when you can use a business current account and accounting app that automates your financial admin?
Learning how to balance work and family or personal life takes time. To achieve greater success as an entrepreneur, it’s a skill you’ll be glad you mastered.