If you’re a small business owner, you’re a driven, dedicated, hardworking person. You need to be, in order to tackle the challenges and responsibilities of your business. It’s likely you’re also an incredibly passionate person who cares deeply about controlling your own professional destiny. These are all enviable and noteworthy traits, but they may mean that work becomes life—the opposite of what most people think of when talking about work life balance.
Many entrepreneurs leave behind the corporate 9-5 lifestyle in search of more autonomy, in addition to financial success, but balancing a professional life with a personal life can prove difficult when the demands of running a business seem endless.
The truth is that balance is subjective. Splitting your time equally between personal and professional pursuits doesn’t make sense because, as a small business owner, those are often one and the same. In reality, it’s important for entrepreneurs to achieve harmony between the personal and professional—rather than a more traditional work life balance—in order to maximize productivity while avoiding burnout. Homewatch CareGivers has put together some ideas to help you do just that.
Prioritize, Delegate & Schedule
According to a brain scan study at MIT, entrepreneurs have an easier time switching between logical and creative problem-solving strategies. While this ability to shift mindsets is valuable, it may also lead to a tendency to avoid delegating tasks to others. In other words, small business owners may embody the old adage, “If you want something done, you must do it yourself.”
The key to overcoming this belief is prioritizing and scheduling. Truly look at the demands on your time and determine which you feel you absolutely must handle and which don’t necessarily require your insight. Are there tasks that could just as easily be done by a manager, lead employee, third-party vendor, or even an app? Be honest with yourself and try to keep an open mind.
For those tasks that are most important to you, schedule time for them. In fact, schedule or time-block your whole day, including personal or family obligations. When you can see where your time and energy are directed—and how finite they are—it may become easier to delegate.
Set Boundaries with Yourself & Others
With so much invested in your small business, it’s natural for the lines between personal and professional relationships to become a little blurry. Clients become friends, employees become family. However, putting some thought into how you want these relationships to be structured and how much time and energy you’re willing to invest can help you establish and enforce natural boundaries.
For example, maybe you only respond to calls, texts, and emails during the hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., but one night you happen to be checking your phone before bed and send off a quick response to a client. While the client may be impressed with your above-and-beyond response time in the moment, they may come to expect all-hours responses and become frustrated when that’s not the norm.
Of course, there will always need to be a little bit of wiggle room—you own a business, after all, and emergencies or special circumstances do come up. For instance, you may have an employee who has come down with a fever in the middle of the night and can’t find anyone to cover their shift. In this case, it would be perfectly acceptable for them to call or text and for you to address the situation outside your established response hours. Define for yourself what constitutes an emergency so you know when to make an exception and when to hold firm to your boundaries, and then be consistent.
Make Time for Sleep, Relaxation & Taking Breaks
When there’s so much to do, sacrificing sleep or downtime may seem like the only way to get through your list. However, that often ends up having exactly the opposite effect. If you’ve ever been on an airplane (and as an entrepreneur, you probably have), you’ve heard the flight attendant tell you to secure your own oxygen mask in the event of an emergency before helping others with theirs. The principle is the same: You need to be conscious and fully functional to be of any use to those around you. It may seem counterintuitive, but when you give your brain and body a rest, you will be able to accomplish more.
Have a Strong Support System
Support can mean many things to many people. It can mean having a trusted assistant or manager to whom you can delegate important tasks. It can also mean finding a reliable, user-friendly scheduling app or system that allows you to block out the time you need for all your commitments—including downtime. You may find support in family members or friends who keep you accountable while encouraging you to pursue success.
Support can also mean choosing a business model with built-in support, like a franchise concept. For instance, our home care franchise opportunity at Homewatch CareGivers takes care of many aspects of a new business that could otherwise fall to the business owner to figure out. You can learn more about the tools and resources we provide by browsing our website or contacting us for more information.