Whether you’re a veteran small business owner or running a startup, struggling to strike a balance between your work and your personal life is a common challenge. Mile-long to-do lists, smartphones delivering steady streams of email, and struggling to stay ahead of constantly evolving technology can make even the most levelheaded person feel overwhelmed.
Amid all of the demands piled on you each day, it’s important to remember that as the heart, soul and brains of your business, you must sustain your energy and talents. In order to do this, it’s necessary to find work-life balance. These tips will help you do just that.
1. Prioritize Daily
Chances are you could work day and night and still not finish your long list of tasks—so don’t bother trying. Instead of attempting to plow through an inhuman mountain of work, try this: every morning, choose three or four goals from your list—mixing business and personal—and make it your priority to finish those tasks no matter what happens. You’ll end the day satisfied by having met your goals and energized to tackle the next day.
2. Practice Saying No
This tactic is usually more effective for entrepreneurs who’ve been in business for a while and have a steady stream of customers, but it can also work for newbies. There comes a point when you can objectively analyze your various clients and determine which ones are draining your energy and resources. Muster up the courage to politely refuse their business in order to free up time to concentrate on your personal life.
3. Delegate Wisely
If you try to do everything for your business yourself, you’ll be so buried in work that you’ll never see the end of it. This all-consuming mindset might work temporarily while you’re setting up shop, but if you want to have a balanced life, determine those tasks that only you can do well and focus on doing them. Delegate those jobs that someone else can do just as well or better than you. This will allow you to finish your workday on time or early so you can get home to your personal life.
4. Separate Work and Home
Design your office space so it’s focused on work. A family photo or two is okay, but avoid outfitting your workspace—either offsite or at home—with a lot of personal memorabilia. Likewise, avoid bringing work into your personal space. You’ll only make yourself stressed and tense if you have a file folder from the office sitting in the living room when you’re trying to relax with the family. In addition, a lot of personal items in your workspace are likely to have you thinking about home and feeling regretful about not being there. Instead, keeping yourself focused on work enables you to be more efficient so you can finish and go home.
5. Make Gradual Changes
When you’ve been working 24/7 on your business, creating a balanced life requires that you start with small steps. It’s probably not realistic to immediately jump from working seven days a week to only four or five days. Gradually alter your schedule until you’re working your ideal amount of hours. For instance, switch to working six days a week by taking off Sundays, and then when you’ve become accustomed to a six-day work week, take off every other Saturday as well.
Establishing a work-life balance might seem impossible initially, but if you take it slowly when it comes to rebalancing your life, you’re likely to find yourself in a calmer, more content state of mind.