Getting the work–life balance right

photo of silhouette photo of man standing on rock

As a small business owner, it’s hard to juggle your work and outside responsibilities. It’s important to run your business effectively and still have a life outside the office.

You need a good balance between work and play for your health and well-being. Small business owners often fall into the trap of working too hard, ending up exhausted from the constant work demands associated with self-employment.

Why you need balance

Working too much without taking time out for yourself and your family can quickly become counterproductive. You’ll be tired, stressed and irritable, leaving you unable to perform optimally. As a result, you’ll be more likely to make mistakes and snap at people who are important to you and your business.

Some dangers of overworking include:

  • Missing opportunities because you’re too busy
  • Being short-tempered with your staff, affecting their attitude and performance
  • Treating your family poorly, resulting in an uncomfortable home life
  • Working to the point of burn out or illness
  • Losing the passion that prompted you to start your business.

Avoid burn out

There are a number of things you can do to scale down your workload and regain a sense of balance.

Start delegating

Delegating will take some of the pressure off you and free up time for more urgent and important tasks, allowing you some leisure time to relax.

Create good systems

Develop a clear operations manual for each process in your business. This lets you and key staff take a break, and speeds up training when someone new comes into the business.

Stretch and walk

Take a few minutes every so often to get up from your desk and stretch. It’s good for your body and will help you stay focused.

Talk to your family

Ask for suggestions and input – they’ll see things that you can’t.

Network with other business owners

Chat to fellow business owners who seem to be working normal hours. You’ll stop feeling so isolated and you might get some valuable advice.

Take Mini Breaks

Put mini breaks into your diary. Schedule a day off once a month, a week off every 12 weeks, or perhaps take every second Friday off.

Re-evaluate your client base

Do you have customers that take up far too much of your time for very little gain? Find a polite way to stop doing business with them or pass them on to staff members to deal with.

Stay motivated

Staying passionate about your business and motivated to do your best is important. If you find you just don’t have the energy you once had, your staff and business will suffer. Take action before you start to enter a negative spiral.

You could try the following:

  • Set exciting and challenging new goals.
  • Share your goals with your staff so everyone understands what you want to achieve.
  • Set measurable ‘steppingstones’ to the main goals and celebrate each achievement.
  • Refresh your daily routine. Allocate blocks in your diary for key daily activities, such as checking emails, meetings, and visiting clients.

By staying motivated and avoiding burn out you’ll have the foundations in place to enjoy running your business again, while also retaining a fulfilling life outside work.