Owning a small business requires a commitment to work long hours and the willingness to sacrifice personal time for the sake of the company. This lifestyle can put a strain on physical and mental health, but the proper work-life balance can help prevent that. In this article, we’ll explain what work-life balance is and offer some tips on how business owners can achieve it.
What is work-life balance?
The term “work-life balance” is most often used when discussing employees. It’s the balance between the amount of time they spend working and the hours they dedicate to family, recreation, and alone time. The concept is equally important for small business owners, but companies don’t always spend a lot of time on that aspect of balance.
As a small business owner, it’s important to remember that you’re a human being. Like everyone else who works for your company, you need a sustainable balance of work and personal life. Justifying longer hours because you want to be “hands-on” or “can’t leave” is how imbalance is created. Preventing that can be done with better organization, delegating responsibility, or simply saying “no” when it’s called for.
Tips for improving your work-life balance
Achieving work-life balance is a process, not a one-time event. The scales of balance will always shift when the business expands and contracts. The same is true on the personal side. Life throws many curveballs to slow us down. Finding the right work-life balance through all of that requires constant adjustments. The lines between work and personal life can blur when you’re running a business, so here are five tips that can help you achieve an ideal balance.
1. Keep your calendar organized
Keeping an online calendar to track business appointments is a common practice for small business owners. Calendars can also be used to block off time for family events, exercise, and meals. Organizing all your obligations in one place is a great way to track the total hours you spend on work tasks and personal tasks, making it simpler to adjust the balance when needed.
2. Know when to delegate tasks
You don’t need to do it all yourself. It’s natural to want to be hands-on with everything, but the most successful business owners are those who know how to delegate. Evaluate your workload and choose employees you can trust to complete the tasks that don’t need your direct attention. Find and take advantage of these opportunities and you’ll free up some time to spend away from work.
3. Learn the word “no”
It’s hard to say “no” when you’re a new business owner, but it should get easier over time. Turning down work when you’re already overloaded is one way to do this. Moving on or “firing” clients who are problematic is another. Both reduce stress, so think of it as prioritizing your mental health. That’s a long-term benefit to your business.
4. Take vacations
When was the last time you took a vacation? You started your business for a few reasons, and one of them was freedom. Exercise that freedom by taking some time off. You can do this if you have a team you can trust, smooth operations, and technology that automates financial functions like bill pay. Take a vacation—you can even bring your laptop if you want to. Plus, when you take a break, it sets an example for the rest of your team so they know they can take a break when they need it.
5. Work when you’re most productive
No one is at their peak all the time. Most people have productive hours at certain times of the day. Some people jump out of bed and love mornings. Others prefer a quieter time when fewer people are around. Figure out when you are most productive and work those hours. Times not dedicated to working are when you can focus on family, friends, and personal life.