Cambridge dictionary defines work-life balance as “the amount of time you spend doing your job compared with the amount of time you spend with your family and doing things you enjoy.” This seems quite simple, but things get complicated when you are trying to grow your own business.
As a small business owner, you can only dream about work-life balance. Building your business is a 24/7 job, so there’s no much room for your private life. It implies wearing a lot of different hats, juggling between meetings, tasks, clients, and family.
However, it doesn’t have to be like that: you can reconcile your private and professional life, and achieve balance. Especially because otherwise you’ll burn out and miss important things in your life, such as family, friends, physical activity, your little passions, and hobbies. If that happens, then your business doesn’t have any sense.
Just as you build your business, with your expertise, patience and time, you can build your ideal work-life balance in the same way. In this article, you will find the expertise, the rest depends on you. Learn how to manage your professional and private life and grow your business more successfully. Just follow these 5 tips:
1. Define what work-life balance means for you
We are all different and we perceive the world based on our experiences, values, and believes. Therefore, each person has a distinctive grasp of the term work-life balance. For somebody, a perfect balance between professional and private life is having a job that you like and having enough time to spend with the family, while for others it means building their business passionately and having enough time for their hobbies, sports, and traveling.
Hence, the first step is to sit down and think carefully about what you mean by your ideal work-life balance, how you conceive your business and private life and connection between them. Define the work part: what, how, how long, and with whose help. Do the same with the life part.
Take as much time as you need to figure out this because it’s the first step that will lead you to the desired harmony in your life. Don’t try to skip it!
2. Ask yourself why work-life balance is important to you
This question may seem redundant and a little bit silly, but it’s crucial. Understanding why the harmony between your business and your private life is important to you will keep you motivated to lead a balanced life. In this way, you will be driven even when you are tempted to return to old habits.
More importantly, knowing the higher purpose behind this balance will make a permanent change, not just for a couple of days or months.
So, will work-life balance bring you a healthier life? Maybe success? Or fulfillment? Or maybe it will help you nourish some values that are essential for you, such as family, friends, knowledge, passion… and the list goes on.
This is another topic to brainstorm on. Take your time to grasp the reason that will motivate you to keep your work-life balance.
3. Get organized and plan your day ahead
“Organization is what you do before you do something so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.” After determining what work-life balance represents for you and why is important to achieve it, it’s time to get organized and put all pieces of the puzzle together.
For this, you’ll need a planner with time slots where you can divide your time and write down all obligations. If you go digital, Google calendar it’s free, easy to use, and it doesn’t require downloading an app if you have a Gmail account. But there are plenty of other calendar or datebook apps (most of them free) that you can download and use in your smartphone, so you can keep all in one place.
When you jot down each meeting, a task at the appropriate time and make time for your family, friends, hobbies or physical activity, you will commit to them. This will make a difference because when planning precisely, you will be more productive and you won’t mix up everything. An agenda will become your best ally.
Just as you plan the tasks to carry out as soon as you step on your business place, do the same with your free time and with the time you reserve for your family. Write down in your planner the time you plan to go to the gym, your important appointments outside of work (such as doctor appointments), the time you want to set apart to see your friends, and of course, the activities you will do as a family. Having all this at sight, far from making it an imposition, will keep you motivated the rest of your day at your workplace, doing the best you can. Finally, commit to making some time every day to devote exclusively to your partner and family. This does not mean having a romantic dinner every night or taking the children to the amusement park every afternoon; It can be something as simple as taking the dog for a 5-minute walk with your spouse or reading a bedtime story to your kids. And don’t forget to write everything down in the planner. It seems silly to do it, but we guarantee it works and your family will appreciate it.
Therefore, get a planner with time slots and start writing or typing! This small hack is a game changer. You can take this tip a little bit further: besides working on your to-do list for the day or the week, try to plan for the whole year! Read these tips on how to make an end of the year checklist for your business.
4. Set some boundaries
Now that you figured everything out and finally organized your day according to your work-life balance, it time to raise the bar a little bit.
As you probably already know, things don’t always go as planned. There are many distractions and unforeseen events that can disrupt your schedule. That will happen, but the key here is how you will react to them.
It’s crucial to set some boundaries and learn to say no if needed. This may be hard in the beginning, but it will pay off in the long run. Also, don’t be afraid to set aside time for your needs: your business won’t suffer, it will survive. You are the one who makes the rules and others will be fine with them. They will probably respect you even more for that.
So, think about lines you want to draw and stick to them!
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
You are a small business owner and you are aware of how difficult is to start something from scratch, how much time, patience and resources you need for creating your business by yourself. Probably along the way, you’ve asked for help from more experienced people or delegated some work to others in order not to burn out.
The same applies to work-life balance. It doesn’t depend exclusively on you; actually, it takes a village to achieve it. So it’s perfectly fine to ask for help, especially if you have so many things on your plate. Maybe you’ve realized that you need to work less, so hiring an extra pair of hands might be a solution. Or you’ve realized that you need more quality time at home, so you need to delegate some of your chores.
Do the same at home and with your family. Do not hesitate to ask your partner for help, or to involve your children or other family members. Delegate chores and responsibilities among them. After all, they are the reason for your business; they know that and they should help you when you need it. But be careful: don’t overwhelm your family with numerous household chores. Remember that, much like you, your children also need a balance between studying, home responsibilities and leisure time. A good tip is to download a printable chart that reflects the family responsibilities and household chores each family member has to fulfill. On the internet, you have hundreds of templates to choose from. As a team, decide altogether the chores to be accomplished and who should carry them out. Be fair when it comes to dividing tasks, and try to rotate them periodically so they don’t become tedious. Finally, place the chart in a visible place, such as the fridge door. Your kids, far from feeling this as an imposition, will appreciate that you recognize their effort and that you see them as valuable members of your team. So, just as you would with your employees, reward them as they deserve!
These tips may seem radical solutions at first glance, but they will help you focus on the things that are important, both at work and at home, without wasting time in distractions.
Hope you found these tips useful and that you are heading to write down ideas that crossed your mind after reading this article. However, remember that nothing happens overnight and that it will take some time to accomplish work-life balance. Just keep in mind the reason why you need this balance and how it will benefit you: eventually everything will come together.