It’s funny. One of the top reasons entrepreneurs give for starting their own business is to have better work life balance. Yet, equally as many will tell you that it’s incredibly hard to maintain that balance once you’re in business for yourself. It takes a lot of work to get a new business up and running and by the time that day arrives, many business owners are so entrenched in working long hours, weekends, and hustling all the time that they simply forget that things can (and should!) be different.
This all begs the question of whether or not we can truly have it all as we balance work and family life with our own personal needs. As an entrepreneur myself and after having worked with many clients who are also small business owners, I’ve seen the good and the bad, but I still say, “Yes, we can have it all!” and I want to devote this post to explaining how you can make it happen in your own life.
5 Ways To Build A Better Work-Life Balance
Admittedly, it is tough to maintain a work-life balance even when you work at home and answer only to yourself. The good news is that you have total control over your work life and how you spend your time. Here are 5 ways to build a better work-life balance when you’re in business for yourself:
1. Set Boundaries. I cannot stress this enough. Set boundaries for work, play, family, and yourself and stick to them! The biggest challenge in self-employment is when everything bleeds into each other. Yes, having the freedom to work around your family’s needs is wonderful, but without clearly defined work and family time, you may feel like you’re always “on” and that is a recipe for burnout. Decide what kind of work schedule works best for you whether that is 9-5 or something different. Then make sure NOT to do any work when you’re “off”.
2. Find A Routine That Works For You. Routines help with time management and put you in a work mindset. One thing I love about being self-employed is the ability to work when I’m at my best. Some people are at their best first thing in the morning, others need some time to ease into the day. Some need an afternoon break. Others are night owls. When you work with your body’s natural energy levels, you’ll be more productive and find it easier to adhere to the boundaries you’ve set.
3. Be Prepared To Say No. Once you’re in business for yourself, you will inevitably hear from friends and family who need a favor. They assume that since you work for yourself, you can be available any time. While that may technically be true for some people, it’s not true for everyone, nor is it a good practice to adopt. Any upset to your routine can throw of your entire day and force you to give up precious personal or family time to do the work you should have done earlier. I’m not saying to never say yes to a request. Just be judicious about it and make sure it’s not going to negatively affect your work. Having the freedom to change your plans and do what you want, when you want, is one of the perks of self-employment, after all!
4. Get Help When You Need It. It can be feast or famine in the world of self-employment. In times of feast, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Delegate tasks or hire temporary help to get you over the hump. As you build your business make time to network to build a list of colleagues you can draw on for specific needs when the time comes. You may never feel comfortable handing the reins over completely, but at the very least you can delegate some of the less critical of your tasks, freeing up your time for more important work.
5. Take Breaks. Take breaks throughout the day. Go on vacation. Take a mental health day. Everyone needs time off. Taking care of yourself by stepping away from work for a while will pay off in the form of more energy and focus, less burnout, and a healthier you. Time away can reinvigorate you, boost creativity, and give you a new perspective on a problem that’s been bugging you.
Balancing work and your personal life is less about creating a 50-50 balance and more about developing a give and take attitude. There are just some days that you will have to work longer hours. Do it without guilt knowing that on a slow day, you can take the day or afternoon off and devote it to your family or yourself.
This is just the tip of the iceberg as far as work-life balance tips go. Every business and every business owner will have different needs and challenges. What tips or advice do you have for new entrepreneurs who are struggling with work-life balance? Share them below!