Does work-life balance sound like something from a fairytale? Your reality looks more like hustling all day at work and then falling into bed feeling guilty about the things you didn’t accomplish in your personal life. Maybe you’re worried about the lack of time you’re giving to your most important relationships like your spouse or children. Maybe you panic when people ask what hobbies you enjoy because the truth is you can’t remember what you like to do in your free time because it hasn’t existed in so long. Or, maybe you have reached the point of burnout and are struggling to find the motivation to accomplish anything. Wherever you find yourself right now, we want you to know that work-life balance is something you deserve.
Starting and growing a business requires a lot of work and time. And there will be periods when your business requires more time than others. However, if you want to live a healthy and balanced life, you must take action so your business doesn’t run your life. The following tips can help you get started.
1. Establish routines for your day
A large part of feeling like you’ve achieved work-life balance is making time for the activities that you need and want to do in your work and life. Establishing routines can help you achieve this.
Create a morning routine that allows you to practice self-care and do a few things that are important to you. This could include making time to exercise, eating breakfast with your family, or reading a book for 20 minutes. Think about the activities that you can do in the morning to help you feel your best for the rest of your day.
It’s also helpful to have routines for the start and end of your work day. For example, you may start your work day off by viewing your priorities for the day and holding staff meetings. Or, you may end your day by clearing off your desk, updating your SPEAR, and previewing your priorities for the next day.
You may also want to create a routine for the end of your day. Maybe you put your phone away to spend time with your family, stretch before bed, prepare your clothes for the upcoming day, and read before finally turning out the light.
Routines help you be intentional with your time so you don’t become too busy for important tasks.
2. Block time on your calendar
Another way to be intentional with your time is to use your calendar for business and personal activities. If you plan on taking your family out to the park on Saturday, block the time off in your schedule. Make sure all of your commitments—business and personal—go on your calendar. You’ll also want to block off vacation time, personal days, and any time you want to reserve for no plans at all.
You ultimately have full control of your calendar. The only things that end up on your calendar are what you agree to do or places you agree to be at certain times. As you become more intentional about your calendar, you may identify areas where you need to start saying “no.” You only have 24 hours in a day and it’s your responsibility to use them wisely.
3. Take control of your phone (instead of allowing it to control you)
Our smartphones can be helpful but they can also become massive time wasters if we’re not careful. The average US smartphone receives 46 app notifications each day. This doesn’t even include notifications from calls, texts, or emails. That means if you grab your phone to see what’s happening every time you receive a notification, you are being pulled away from your task-at-hand repeatedly.
Here are a few ways you can take control of your phone use:
- Turn off notifications for unnecessary apps
- Don’t use social media apps on your phone
- Silence your phone when you are home with your family for certain hours of the day
- Keep your phone in the other room
- Only check your phone at set intervals throughout the day
It’s too easy to think we’re going to look at our phones for just a second and end up wasting 30 minutes or more. Consider how you could be using the time you spend on your phone more intentionally. Could you have made progress on a project at work? Could you have played a game with your kid? Or, could you have read a book instead of scrolling on social media?
We’re not saying smartphones are bad, but it’s not good if you let your phone control your day.
4. Set a work schedule and stick to it
A constant problem we hear from entrepreneurs and small business owners is that they work long hours every day. They have too much to do and so they stay at work until the tasks are done. It can feel like this is the only way to grow a business, but it’s important for your health and the overall health of your business, for you to have time away each day. You shouldn’t be working on your business from sun up until you head back to bed. It’s not healthy.
Set a time for each day when you are going to step away from the computer and be done working for the day. If this is a new concept for you to try following be prepared that it won’t always go perfectly. There are some days when you need to be flexible with your schedule. But it’s important for you to have personal time. Don’t allow yourself to feel guilty when you head home in the evening to spend time with your family.
If it feels like this is impossible, it’s a good sign that you could benefit from working with a SPEARity business coach to get control of the different aspects of growing your business.
5. Put the right people in the right places
Look for ways other people can help lighten your load. If you are a solopreneur, it may be time to make your first hire. This could be as simple as finding a freelance worker to help you with a short-term project. Or, it may be time to hire your first full-time employee. If you already have a team, you may need to reassign tasks, make additional hires, or replace employees who aren’t carrying their share.
When you have the right people in the right places in your business, you can delegate more. This allows you to accomplish more while doing less yourself. It’s one of the keys to successfully scaling a business.
6. Only attend necessary meetings
Many business owners are wasting too much time in unnecessary meetings which doesn’t help with work-life balance. If you’re struggling with work-life balance, you need to be purposeful about what meetings you attend. You don’t have time to sit in meetings to listen to people catch up on their weekend activities and you don’t have time to attend meetings when the same information and decisions could have been made through an email.
At SPEARity, we teach a 15-minute meeting system that allows you to make sure your team is aligned on goals, check that resources are properly allocated, and improve communication without wasting time.
7. Be prepared to pivot when needed
While it’s important to have plans in place, hold them loosely. If you are too strict with your schedule, it will throw everything off when the first thing doesn’t go as planned. Learn how to make adjustments and pivot when needed. Do you have a sick child at home that needs your attention? Be willing to make adjustments to your schedule so you can take care of your family. Did you hit a bump in the road with a big project at work? Look for low-priority tasks you can cut from your workday or tasks you can reassign so you don’t end up working all night.
Things won’t always go as planned, so expect to make adjustments when needed. The more you understand your schedule and priorities, the easier it will be for you to pivot when the time comes.
Ask for help if you need it
You are the expert in your industry, but it’s perfectly acceptable to admit that you’re not an expert in all areas of business. Running and growing a business is challenging. We hear from people all the time who are burning the candle at both ends and who have lost the enjoyment they used to find in their business. If that’s you, we want to help. Message us or schedule a call to learn how working with a SPEARity coach or joining our group coaching program can help you find work-life balance and love your work once again.