The meaning of the term “work-life balance” differs from person to person but generally, it is the concept of maintaining the right balance between the time spent doing one’s job and the time spent with one’s family and pursuing other personal interests. Finding the equilibrium between one’s professional and personal life is an important aspect of a productive and fulfilling working environment. However, entrepreneurs, especially small and medium business (SMB) owners, find it hard to achieve work-life balance. A recent survey by NodeSource reveals that a majority (45%) of entrepreneurs say that their greatest ongoing challenge is finding work-life balance.
Why should entrepreneurs care about work-life balance?
Entrepreneurs are particularly prone to work-life imbalance. According to a study by Alternative Brand, 30% of SMB owners say they work for more than 50 hours per week and almost 20% say they work for 60 hours or more per week. Not surprisingly, 80% of the entrepreneurs surveyed report that they feel like they work too much. However, working more doesn’t necessarily mean you are more productive. Overworking also causes chronic stress, which is linked to many health problems including sleeping disorders, diabetes, depression, and heart disease.
Many entrepreneurs like you may feel that finding that elusive work-life balance is impossible. The good news is it can be done. Simple steps such as adapting good working habits like these can go a long way to keeping you sane and productive. Here are some work-life balance tips for entrepreneurs.
Set manageable goals and priorities
Check your to-do list and prioritize working on the most important business-critical tasks and weed out or delegate the less important tasks. Improve your productivity by using time management strategies and structuring your day so that you have more free time to spend outside of work.
Delegate or outsource tasks
Go through your daily tasks and identify the ones you can ask someone else to do. If you have employees, let them handle these tasks. Aside from allowing you to have more time to work on the most important tasks, delegating also provides your employees with opportunities for growth. If you don’t have any employees yet, you can outsource tasks such as admin work and bookkeeping to an independent contractor.
Aim for a realistic instead of a perfect schedule
There’s no such thing as a perfectly balanced schedule, especially for small business owners. There will always be days when your business will require more time and effort and there will be days when you need to pay more attention to family time and personal stuff. Try not to split your time evenly between your professional and personal life but provide ample time and attention to each as needed–give and take. Treat time for family and personal interests as part of your daily schedule instead of an afterthought.
Prioritize your health
Entrepreneurs are notorious for ignoring their own physical and mental health for the sake of growing their business. Especially if you are a solopreneur, you should keep in mind that the success of your business is directly related to your physical and mental well-being. Getting sick can be potentially devastating to your business. Make time to do regular exercises–even moderate physical activity helps boost the body’s immune system and supports the healthy functioning of the brain. As much as possible, try to eat a healthy diet and get enough sleep every day. Don’t be afraid to seek help, be it mental, emotional, physical or financial, when you need it.
Take regular short breaks throughout the day
Most entrepreneurs are guilty of not taking enough breaks at work, some take none at all. While it’s nice to get into the zone and get things done, taking short breaks throughout the day also provides significant benefits to our physical and mental health. Sitting for long periods of time is linked to a higher risk of heart disease, obesity, and other health problems. Taking even a five-minute walk every hour can help improve your well-being. Taking a break also improves your creativity and reasoning ability.
Pace yourself and avoid multitasking
Multitasking isn’t the best way to get things done. In fact, studies reveal that working on two or more tasks at the same time has negative effects on the brain and can actually hinder your productivity instead of boosting it. As an entrepreneur, you have to understand that it takes time to grow your business and build a successful brand. Avoid trying to finish everything all at once. It simply isn’t realistic to reach all your business goals in the first six months. Pace yourself by prioritizing the most important immediate goals.
Set personal boundaries and commit to them
Setting boundaries for yourself and for your clients and keeping them is key to finding work-life balance as an entrepreneur. It’s easy for small business owners to fall into the trap of working overtime and sacrificing time that should be spent for family. Start by establishing clear “office hours” for yourself and sticking to them. You should also determine rest days and vacation days. Set limits around checking your emails and turn off all except the most essential notifications when you’re off work. Make sure you also manage your clients’ expectations by communicating your boundaries to them. You should also set ground rules on when and where you can be accessible for professional inquiries.
Reward yourself with a vacation
Yes, even busy entrepreneurs like you deserve a vacation once in a while. Taking the time off is an excellent way to recharge and renew your motivation to keep working toward your business goals. An entrepreneur’s life is not an easy one. Taking a break from time to time breaks the monotony of running a business. Make sure you take a vacation either by yourself, with your spouse or life partner, or with your family and friends to recalibrate and remind yourself of the reason why you work so hard: to build a better future for your family and your employees.
Achieving work-life balance is especially challenging for an entrepreneur but it is definitely worth trying. There are no tried-and-tested formulas and every person has a different definition and ideal of what a good work-life balance is, but we hope these tips can help you create a fulfilling balance between your professional and personal life.
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Marq Untivero is the SEO & SEM Manager of Inkjets.com, a trusted supplier of remanufactured and compatible printer inks and toner cartridges. Inkjets.com has been providing small businesses a more affordable solution to printer ink.