There is something exciting about being a business owner. It’s a rush and a huge confidence boost to know that your business is thriving. But, this often leads to business owners overworking themselves and not finding time to enjoy life away from the business. This is the case regardless of business size and type, and it’s something that a lot of business owners struggle to fix. Even as a business owner, you don’t need to handle everything yourself at work, especially if doing so is taking away from other things. Below, we have listed some of the key ways to find a good work-life balance as a business owner.
Understanding Work-Life Balance
There are a lot of common misconceptions on work-life balance, and you need to challenge these if you want to find a good balance for yourself. Finding the work-life balance as a business owner doesn’t mean finishing at a set time everyday or making time for a hobby once a week. It doesn’t mean having a day or two off every so often. Though this is a part of it, to truly achieve a work-life balance, you need to identify the signs of burnout and workaholism. You can have a good amount of time off, and still struggle with burnout. You can delegate a handful of tasks and finish early once in a while, and still be a workaholic.
Personal and Professional Goals
To find a good work-life balance as a business owner, take the time to clearly define your priorities on a long-term basis. Determine what you want to achieve in both your work life and personal life, and then prioritise those goals. It’s important to set achievable goals for your business and personal life, as unachievable goals are unlikely to inspire you and motivate you to work towards them. Overloading yourself with unrealistic expectations can quickly lead to burnout.
Without goals, it’s hard to balance work and personal life. You’re more likely to find yourself tirelessly working, not really sure what you’re aiming for. At home, you’re likely to be distracted and focused on work, as there’s nothing specific to aim for personally. But, with clearly defined and set goals, you can split your time evenly and find a fair balance.
Time Management and Productivity
You can do everything possible to find a good work-life balance as a business owner, but it’s unlikely to make a difference if you don’t manage your time well. Without good time management, it’s difficult to be productive, and it’s a lot easier to feel overwhelmed by a growing list of tasks. It’s important to take regular breaks during the day to recharge. This might sound counterproductive and the opposite of managing your time well, but it’s an important part of focusing on the tasks in front of you. After a short break, you will find it a lot easier to be productive. You could even consider implementing the Pomodoro Technique – a time management technique which involves working for 25 minutes, followed by a 5-minute break – to maintain productivity and prevent burnout.
Being a business owner can be stressful, so schedule regular annual leave or time off to recharge and disconnect from work completely. Taking proper breaks can help you return to work with renewed energy and creativity. Enjoy a hobby, spend time with loved ones, travel or catch up on your sporting interests. It’s impossible to find a work-life balance if you’re not prepared to dedicate adequate time to the ‘life’ side of things.
For a lot of business owners, the lines between work life and home life become blurred. The stresses and strains of running a business can easily make their way into time spent with family, friends and loved ones. It’s hard to leave work at work, especially when you are the one running things. This is why it’s so important to create strict boundaries. By creating clear boundaries, it’s a lot easier to disconnect from work during social engagements, holidays and family time.
You can do this by establishing specific working hours and sticking to them as closely as possible, even when it’s tempting to work well into the evening and on weekends. Communicate these boundaries to your team, clients and suppliers so they know when you are available. This way, no one is expecting a reply after you’ve switched off for the day. It’s also a good idea to turn off work-related notifications and emails during non-working hours. If you see a notification or email, there’s a high chance that you’ll deal with it quickly, just to get it out of your mind. This is a slippery slope into giving up on your boundaries completely.
Embracing Work-Life Integration
There is always going to be a certain amount of work-life integration, so embrace this as much as possible. Regardless of how hard you try, your work life and home life will sometimes bleed into one another. That’s the case for most business owners, and it’s likely to be the case for you too. This is completely natural, but resisting it can make matters worse. Instead, embrace flexibility and adaptability.
As a business owner, you have the freedom to choose your own hours and work in a way that suits your other commitments. You don’t have to ask someone to change things up. Make the most of this by willingly changing your working hours to fit in personal plans, commitments and urgencies. Similarly, know that sometimes you might have to work late or at the weekend, and that doesn’t mean saying goodbye to your work-life balance completely.
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