You often hear fellow business owners, or business coaches talking about work-life balance online - you need to be doing this, or that, to achieve it. Try as you might the reality is that sometimes work takes over and as your business grows you find yourself wishing more and more that you could spend more time with your family, but actually you see them less and less.
Today, here at Valued, we want to help break that cycle by talking you through some of our tips and tricks to having it all and actually thriving.
Why we practice work-life balance in our business
Work-life balance has a huge meaning to us here at Valued. Our CEO, Stephen Paul insists we build it into our weekly and monthly routines. This flexibility helps us create, as employees, a more balanced mindset, in turn producing a more balanced and harmonious team. As a result, it means we can be there for you, our clients in the right way and with the right attitude.
When Stephen first started out as a business owner, he’ll be the first to tell you he didn’t always get the balancing act of business, friends, family and self right. It has taken some big moments in his life to realise that other things have to take priority over building a business and like most of us, he still struggles with that fine balancing act, even today. But here is what he has learned; your family, friends and time for yourself is just as important to your mental and physical well-being as the pride and grit it takes to build a business from the ground up. Each of these areas of your life need nurturing in order for YOU to thrive.
Based on this we thought it would be a great idea to give our tips, here on the blog, so that you can take some more meaningful steps towards your own balance.
How you can practice work-life balance in your business
Firstly, it is crucial to mention that work-life balance looks different for everyone, so as you read, please take into account your situation and what will work for you.
Most months as a team we try to tackle each of these 5 things to keep a better work-life balance in terms of the overall business:
- Take holidays - Holidays are great for allowing you to reset your thinking and refresh your mind. Encourage your staff to do the same, this is great for team moral!
- Stay healthy - This is sometimes easier said than done, but it makes a huge difference to how you feel both at work and in your personal life. Keeping healthy will help your mind cope with the stresses and pressures of running a business.
- Learn to delegate - Many hands make light work! Your business will run smoothly and efficiently if you delegate to the right people and let them get on with it.
- Get regular medical check-ups - It can be difficult to see the signs of being overworked when you’re too busy concentrating on all the things you need to get done. Regular check-ups will keep your mind and body in check.
- Switch off - At the end of the day and on the weekends, learn how to switch off properly. This can be hard when we’re all so easily contactable, switching off your emails and social apps on the weekends is a good place to start!
How to take extra steps to ensure you have time for a work-life balance
Having the ‘time’ is where most of us openly say we fail to achieve a true work-life balance, so here are some tips to help you to implement strategies that will help you create time where you think it simply isn’t possible.
- Learn to play to your strengths - by recognising what tasks you are good at you can highlight where the gaps are that you can either outsource, or employ in-house.
- Prioritise your time - look through your task list each day and your emails, and place them into 4 categories; important and urgent, important and not urgent, urgent and not important, can wait until tomorrow. Once categorised work through them logically.
- Understand your peak hours - some of us are morning people and some of us aren’t, knowing this ahead of time can make a big difference to the flexibility of either your working hours or when you choose to tackle those important and urgent tasks.
- Set your working hours and stick to them - make sure you let your team know when you will be available and when you plan to switch off. The importance here is to also set with your team what situations qualify as important enough to disturb your personal time and what can wait until the next day.
- Use an online diary to block out your days and months - If you have an assistant you may already have an online diary in place and even if you do not, we recommend you start using one and map out both your working hours, holidays and times for things like lunch, or even family time. You can then add in ‘zones of focus’, in other words, the times when you will be working exclusively on a given task, or an area of your business. Creating a routine of checking your calendar daily will help you start to focus on the right things at the right time AND build in time for a more balanced approach.
- Set up systems that work more productively for you - there are lots of cloud-based apps and software out there to help you manage almost every part of your business and each are specifically designed to save you time, but make the time used more productive than ever. We implement Xero for our client’s accounting and find that this saves them a substantial amount of time each month and gives them financial data crucial to making the right decisions ahead of time in growing their business.
- Take a moment to step out - the simple action of going to get your own coffee from the local coffee shop, can make a world of difference to your attitude, because it takes you out of the office mentally, as well as physically, freeing you up to balance out your mental space.
Still struggling with achieving a better work-life balance?
Running a business can be rewarding but also overwhelming - with early starts, long days and often no weekends. If you are feeling the strain and struggling to leave your working day behind then we do have some extra advice.
- Try the four D’s of better time management
- How to create good habits in business
- Main causes of stress for business owners and how to conquer them
- Signs it is time to upgrade your systems
- How to say NO if you are a YES person
We also have a newsletter where we share lots of tips and advice in growing your business, without ripping you hair out - feel free to join us!