What is work-life balance?
To be perfectly honest, I’m not a big fan of this phrase as it insinuates that ‘work’ and ‘life’ are two opposing things which lead to all kinds of misguided mindsets such as ‘you need to be more professional at work’ or ‘there is no place for that kind of behaviour in the office’.
Let’s get it clear, we have one life, not a ‘work-life and a ‘personal’ life. We should not be putting ‘work’ and ‘life’ against each other in a constant battle, but rather accepting that they co-exist and work in harmony. However, it’s evident not all of us think like this. In today’s world of instant, having balance in your life has never been more critical than now. With your phone having the same capabilities as a mini-computer with 24/7 access to social media profiles, emails, the web and a myriad of other things that keep you constantly connected, it takes discipline to shut it down.
Burnout isn’t fun and yet it is a common occurrence for many small business owners. Therefore, if we learn to re-work our own definition of what ‘work-life balance’ is, we can all make the world a different place.
Here are some steps you can take as a small business owner to create more balance in your life:
Take a step back and reflect on the big picture
If you are unhappy with the number of hours you are spending at work, take a step back and reflect on the big picture. What is being lost in the imbalance? Make plans and take active steps to take back some of the things you have lost.
Delegate, delegate, delegate (non-business critical tasks)
I know it’s very difficult to let go of the business that you have spent countless hours growing and nurturing. One of the most difficult tasks as a small business leader is the transition from doing to leading. But it’s an important transition all small business leaders must make if they wish to grow and let the business become a business and not simply a job for themselves.
Set clearly defined working hours
If you are struggling with the blurred lines of work and life, then a good tactic to embrace is setting clear working hours. Set clearly defined start and stop times and more importantly, stick to them.
Take weekends off and smell the roses
In many jobs, it’s not always easy to take every weekend off, but if you are a business owner you should be able to pick and choose when you work, right? I know, it’s easier said than done but if you have the discipline to set weekends to take off, and then plan your working week around it, you will be surprised.
Who said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”? There is some conjecture around where this saying originated, but that’s a whole new story; whoever it was, it speaks volumes of truth.
If you are working in your own business and you love what you are doing, then when does work start and life finish? Or when does life start and work finish? My simple answer is they don’t; they co-exist and as long as you are happy with the way you are managing the two, then you are doing it right. But if you are not happy with this approach or think differently, then I hope these five strategies help you regain some balance.