Work/life balance is a major consideration for 72% of people when job hunting. So, it’s no surprise that over two-thirds of small business owners consider the ability to set their own schedule and choose their own lifestyle to be their primary motivator for starting a business. Yet many entrepreneurs end up feeling like they don’t have enough time in the day, which often negatively affects their relationships.
Let’s be honest: for entrepreneurs, the idea of a “work/life balance” can be problematic. It implies that your work and your life are separate things, but when you own a business, that’s not necessarily true. Unfortunately, finding a balance between work and life is not as easy as the phrase suggests, and it can be especially difficult this time of year, when both business and family may demand a lot of your time. That’s why we’ve gathered a few tips to help you stay healthy and happy.
Strive for equilibrium.
The idea of balancing work and life conjures up images of two equal weights on a scale, but that’s not really how it works. It’s more about knowing how to shift your time and energy. Based on your needs and responsibilities, sometimes you need to shift to optimize your productivity, health and happiness long term. During a busy week at work, you may need to shift more energy toward completing those tasks. When work slows down or if something happens in your personal life, you can shift more energy in that direction. The goal is not to be putting equal amounts of energy into both work and life, but to find a kind of dynamic balance or equilibrium. You can shift and adjust as needed, and ideally, the shifts will equal each other in the long run.
Take advantage of technology.
Technology is one of the best ways to manage both work and life. A calendar app can help you keep track of meetings and family obligations, so you don’t double book yourself. With technology, we are no longer trapped into only being able to do work in one location. Cloud-based services can help you take your business documents on the go, so you can work anywhere. This can be helpful in allowing you to act quickly and make the shifts you need to make.
One of the best ways to identify when you need to shift in one direction or another is to look at your tasks and commitments and prioritize them. Consider deadlines and due dates, how firm those deadlines are, and how important the task is to your overall success and happiness. For example, an important meeting at work that can’t be moved may have to take priority over your weekly family dinner. Maybe another time, your child has a big recital, and they really want you to be there. You might prioritize that over finishing up a work project that has a flexible due date. Remember to include relationships as part of your bottom line—not every return on investment is monetary.
You’ve probably heard it before: communication is key. It’s a common piece of relationship advice, but it applies to all relationships, both at work and at home. Make sure you communicate with your coworkers and employees when you’re going to be away from work, and make sure you let your family and friends know when work has priority. Miscommunications can be a fun plot device on TV, but they’re the last thing you want complicating your time off.
Especially if you’re a people-pleaser, it can be very easy to get in the habit of saying “yes” all the time. You want to be able to help every client or customer, pick up every task, or take every opportunity. But too many “yeses” will leave you spread too thin. Don’t over-commit. When you’re considering a new request or opportunity, think about it carefully. Is it something you would be enthusiastic and excited to say yes to? Are you ready and available to say yes? If you’re reluctant or unprepared, it’s okay to say no. Because “yes” answers require your time and energy, you don’t have an unlimited supply of them. Your energy is not a pie that you can slice to serve to each friend, family member, or employee. Prioritize how to distribute your “yeses” and remember that “no” is sometimes all you need to say.
Find harmony, but set boundaries.
Don’t feel like you have to keep work and life completely separate. For business owners, work and life often feel like pieces of a puzzle that need to fit together for the picture to make sense. That said, it’s important to not let the lines between work and life disappear completely. When you say you’re going to be on vacation or out of the office, make sure you really are. Your family may not appreciate you constantly picking up the phone or checking your email when you’re supposed to be spending time with them. And your coworkers probably won’t like it either if it feels like you’re always using work time for personal matters. Rather than solid walls, think of your boundaries like a gate with a lock. It can open, and things can pass through when they need to, but sometimes you need to close the gate. The important thing is to know when the gate needs to be closed and boundaries need to be set.
Don’t do it alone.
Almost 82% of business owners work over 40 hours per week, but only 44% want to work as much as they do. If you’re feeling overworked, don’t be afraid to delegate tasks to others. That’s where Padgett can help. Finding a full-time tax and accounting partner can help take some time-consuming tasks off your plate so you can spend more time and energy on the things that matter most. Reach out to a Padgett office near you today to find out how we can help get your life back in balance.