Building a business is hard work. It is one of the most tedious, exciting, stressful and rewarding things a person might do with their lives, aside from having a family. Even if you are really in love with what you do and it may not even feel like Work, there are many other grueling aspects to running a business (ie. taxes, legal liabilities, precarious customers, problematic staff, so on) that can drain your life force faster than a vampire.
Some days the To Do List is so long you may want to just stay in bed, bury your head under the covers and pray for an asteroid to end the world before you have to face the day! Do not despair! Here are 9 Tips on creating Work-Life Balance in your business so you can get through the tough days and still have time to enjoy your Life:
1. BIG STONES FIRST
I always remembered a story one of my business teachers told our class about prioritizing in your business. He used a metaphor of filling a jar with stones, pebbles, and sand. In order to fit in as much as possible, you would have to put the big stones in first, then the pebbles, and finally the sand could filter through the cracks and fill in any gaps. The Big Stones represent family and friends, and commitments related to them, as the most important priorities. The Pebbles represent the most important tasks for your business, the make or break items, or things only you could be responsible for. The tiny grains of Sand, of course, represent the million other things going on that need to get done. In order to have Work-Life Balance, you can’t get stuck in the sand. Focus on dealing with the Big Stones first, then the Pebbles, and get to the Sand when you can.
2. HAVE A ROUTINE
Routines provide structure, organization and much-needed calm in your day in order to create productivity. Routines will automate your daily activity saving you time on the thought process and decision making. No wondering, only doing. This will allow you to tackle your work faster to open up more time in the day for enjoyment and quality time. It is important to make your routine about Life, too, not just about your Work routines. Your routine should include time for health, entertainment, and socializing to be balanced. Go here for tips on How to Create a Routine.
3. CREATE BOUNDARIES
You need a private workspace for your business where you can focus without interruptions. Establish work hours and try your best to stick to them. Schedule blocks of time for meetings, calls, email, and other communications where you can get a lot dealt with and then get back to your other tasks, rather than having things spread out throughout the day or week. Disable notifications and set times to check for email or calls, etc. so you aren’t continually pulled away from what you are working on. Discuss and agree upon roles in partnerships, whether it is in your business or personal life, so everyone is clear on what they are responsible for to avoid wasted time and redundancies.
4. BECOME A LEADER
Being a leader will empower you to inspire other people to join and help your mission. The more crystal clear and passionate you are about your mission, the easier it is to attract the people that will be interested in participating. Good leadership will encourage people to shine, contribute their strengths in their own way, and create something bigger than you could do on your own. It is the first part of a two-step process in creating more time for yourself outside of work. The second part is…
5. LEARN TO DELEGATE
Micromanaging your business is not only time consuming, it can be draining and unproductive. You might be a superstar in your chosen career, but it doesn’t make you an expert in ALL areas of your business. Find the people that are better than you in the areas where you are not an expert, and trust their instincts. Giving up control over these things will free up time for you to focus on what you’re best at and create more free time to enjoy the fruits of your collective labours. Seek out quality service providers, interns, subcontractors, and staff that can make your life easier and help you shoulder some of the burdens.
6. SELF CARE
Remember, you are no good to anyone if you’re not good to yourself. Taking time for fitness, nutrition, sleep, and enjoyment is critical in keeping up your energy reserves to get your tasks done AND have the energy to give to the people that matter at the end of the day. Proper sleep, nutrition and exercise can do a lot for your mental focus, mood, energy levels and attitude. Scheduling these things in is easier than you think. You take that meeting outside and enjoy a walk in the park at the same time. You can prep healthy lunches and frozen dinners for the entire week in the same amount of time it takes to step out even once for takeout. Book a mobile massage on your lunch break. Think of it as an investment in your success for both your business and personal life.
7. LISTS, LISTS, and more LISTS
Want to stop your mind from racing so you can enjoy your time away from work? Get your thoughts and ideas out of your head and write them down. Plan your days, weeks, and months in advance so you know where you are going, what you are doing and how to track your progress. Keep an agenda, reminders in your calendar, and try out some different tools for getting things done. We like ToDoist, Freshbooks, Evernote, and Jobber.
8. STAY POSITIVE
Don’t adopt an attitude of defeat or focus on what you currently lack. It can leave you depressed; draining your energy, clouding your thoughts and spiralling out of control, wasting an incredible amount of your time. You can train yourself to look on the bright side by keeping a gratitude journal, focusing on your wins & solutions to problems, rather than the problems themselves. This will free up a lot of time to have a more enjoyable life.
9. BE PRESENT
It is too easy to limp through your entire day in a fog of distracting daydreams, worries, regrets or future plans. Mindfulness is the most important practice for true Work-Life Balance, which starts within. Focus on one thing at a time to avoid overwhelm, stagnating, or making errors. This applies to both your work and personal life. Life goes by fast, so don’t allow yourself to drift off in an anxious cloud of work-related clutter while you are pushing your kids on the swings or taking your spouse out to dinner. Try your best to Be In The Moment, every moment, to make it count.