Whether you’re working on launching a company or running an existing business, there never seem to be enough hours in the day.
As a business owner, wife, and mother of four children, I relate to the plight of busy entrepreneurs who struggle with balancing their work responsibilities and personal lives. Some days are easier than others, but the challenge is ever-present. That's why it's essential to find ways to not only survive but thrive in the face of competing priorities.
To help you find your balance, I’ll share 4 tips based on my own experience in managing my work and family obligations.
1. Establish a No-Work Zone.
This might be a particular period of the day or a particular place. Either way, proclaim it a work-free zone when/where you commit to not checking your email, taking or making business phone calls, doing office work on your computer, and talking shop. By setting up a safe haven, you have a dedicated time and space for connecting with your loved ones and escaping the demands of your business.
2. Get organized.
Sometimes work-life misalignment happens not because people don’t have enough time but because they fail to manage it properly. By finding ways to boost your efficiency and productivity, you might discover work-life balance is far more attainable than you thought.
One of my favorite suggestions is to schedule everything that you: a. Need to do and b. Want to do. Reserve time on your calendar for specific work tasks and personal activities. This will help you keep tabs on what you need to accomplish, ensure that you meet your deadlines, commit yourself to taking time for yourself and your family, and enable you to see when you've overextended yourself.
Also, realize the significance of setting priorities. Not everything on your list holds the same level of importance. Determine what is a “must-do quickly” versus a “must-do in the near future” versus a “must-do but not anytime soon” versus a “don’t really need to do at all.”
3. Don’t be afraid to delegate.
Are you one of those people who believes to have it done right you have to do it yourself? I used to be one of those people, too. With a Type A personality, I’ve had to do a lot of work on stepping back and letting others do what they’re good at without me looking over their shoulders.
Take stock of what tasks are interfering with your ability to better balance your time. If someone else—whether an employee or independent contractor—is capable of taking on work and doing it as well or better than you, consider delegating it to them. It will free up your schedule to focus on mission-critical tasks that you and only you can tackle and preserve hours for reconnecting with family, and friends and a good night’s sleep.
4. Realize “balance” doesn’t have to be 50/50.
The scales will usually tip in one direction or the other depending on a number of factors (stage of your business’s development, time of year, emergent circumstances, etc.). Sometimes you’ll need to make your business your number one priority, and other times, you will have to push work aside to pay more attention to your family and friends. There will be an ebb. There will be flow. You may rarely experience complete balance at any given moment, but overall, over time, it’s possible to have it even out.
Work-Life Balance – Don’t Beat Yourself Up About It!
There was a time when I worried so much about maintaining a work-life balance that I got in my own way of accomplishing it. If you constantly stress over it, your efforts will be counterproductive. Cut yourself some slack as you navigate running your personal life and building your business. It may take time to figure out the formula that will work for you, but with some experimentation and patience, you can master it and prevail.