For small business owners, a work/life balance is hard to achieve. Managing both a staff and your company is a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week occupation. It’s hard to not think that you need to be in touch with your employees at all times, and that you have to be constantly on top of absolutely everything happening at all times, but, at the risk of sounding cliché, it’s important to remember that you don’t necessarily have to work harder than everybody else. Working smarter is the goal to try to achieve.
Dedicate as much of yourself to having a good work-life balance as you do to your small business. Both you and your company will fare a lot better for it.
Make Decisions (and Be Creative) When You’re Ready
Let’s be honest (and realistic), it’s impossible completely separate work and life. While you’re at one, you’re going to be occasionally thinking about the other. It’s just inevitable. But there are effective ways to blend the two so that one actually helps the other, and vice versa.
If you happen to have not gotten good rest – despite your efforts otherwise – remember that people who are tired and anxious often make bad decisions, reacting with more emotion than usual. It’s also a good idea to take a break from decision-making entirely every so often. There is such a thing as “decision fatigue,” which occurs after having to make several decisions in a row. The last decisions are consistently of lesser quality than the first, so it’s always ok to hold off on making a choice if you feel you are being forced into it.
Part of a good work-life balance is knowing when to “turn off,” even at the workplace. Hammering away at a problem ad nauseam generally does not bring about the best result.
Creativity works a lot the same way. Deep within the creative parts of our brains is often where we come up with our best solutions to problems. To be real, some people are just extremely talented at accessing their inner visionary on the turn of a dime, but most people require a clear head and time. I find it’s often when I am not specifically concentrating on a particular task that I come up with my best ideas about it. So I’ll think about it for awhile, then take it easy and try to move on and return to it later.
You can’t force a decision just like you can’t force creativity. But you can support both through healthy environments. You can design a creative workplace where people can feel at their best. One of the best – and most obvious – ways to do this is to promote and encourage physical activity.
How To Have a Life Outside of Work
If you don’t take time off to rest, relax, and do the things you enjoy, not only will your mental and physical health suffer, your business is more than likely going to suffer too. Here are some ways to get the most out of each part of your day and begin creating the groundwork for a healthy work-life balance.
When at work:
- Don’t forget to delegate. Trust your employees to be able to provide the services you need.
- If it’s just you at your business, think about contracting out some of the more tedious work. The cost is worth the relief in knowing it will get done and you can move on. Play to your strengths and outsource the rest.
- Know when you are most alert and productive, and schedule difficult tasks for during these times. Finish the most important ones first.
- Later afternoon is when everyone gets tired. Schedule in simpler tasks for these times.
- Stick to set work hours. When you’re working on your own it can be very hard to stop, but remember that most of the rest of the world stops working when their hours are up. You should, too.
- Use accounting tools to make doing your finances easier.
When at home:
- Hire out chores and duties that you can. The time saved to spend doing what you want is worth it.
- Ensure to schedule proper vacations for yourself, and take them.
- If you work from home, make sure you have a dedicated space for work that you can walk away from and shut the door.
- Don’t just leave yourself with nothing to do during your time off. You’ll almost certainly start thinking about work again. Create healthy habits and take care of yourself. Even something as simple as a bath can make an enormous difference in mental health. And have fun!
- Make the most out of time with the family. Avoid unnecessary conflicts and support each other.
- Sleep well. Getting enough sleep is one of the very best ways to keep stress low.
Of course, exercise should always be a priority. I think of it like making my bed. It’s just another task I need to get done before I can continue on with my day.
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