One of the challenges that I see when I meet business owners is the dilemma they face over the “work/life” balance. If you search online for this term, there are hundreds of pages offering advice, especially to new and start up businesses.
The general advice that many articles give is along the lines of being able to split your work and business life with a fine definition between the two. The challenge in a small business, especially if you are the sole owner/worker, is that you are the key to your company and therefore an element of spending personal time in your business is inevitable.
I agree that there needs to be an element of personal time, however when you are at a very high level in your business, or are just starting, it is inevitable that the business becomes an integral part of your life.
Here are my top three tips to manage the work-life balance.
1) Accept that your business may cut into your personal time on occasion:
When you are the key to your business, it is a fact that it will become a part of your life and who you are. Your business is your passion and it is unfair to ask someone to detach themselves from this. However there is a fine line when this can become obsessive. Be aware of the time you are spending on your business, and ensure that you allow yourself time away from the business to clear your thoughts. Accept however that sometimes it is essential to work unsociably from time to time.
2) Outsource certain tasks:
Of course I am going to advise you to outsource accounts and bookkeeping! But seriously, accountants, insurance brokers, virtual assistants, marketing consultants and similar businesses which are designed to help you create time, are very experienced in what they do. Yes it will be a cost, but if their time allows you to grow your own business then surely it is worth the investment.
3) Make time for you:
Whether for family time, socialising or a hobby, make sure that you make time for you. Making time may involve switching off the phone and the computer and taking a complete break. Don’t feel guilty about this as it is often one of the reasons why many business owners start their own company. By following step one and acknowledging that your business is part of you, you can give yourself permission much more easily to take the breaks you need, and more importantly deserve.
This may not be the standard answer you expect to see about work and life balance, but modern business today isn’t about living a standard life.
Until next time….