As a small business owner, do you find it hard to balance work and life? Do you feel like you’re never able to turn off your work phone or throw a ball around with your kids? It may not surprise you to hear that many small business owners have the same difficulties. In fact, according to a study by The Alternative Board, entrepreneurs in the U.S. often work far more than the average adult: 30% work more than 50 hours per week, and 19% work more than 60! Needless to say, you’re not the only one who’s struggling to balance work and life in a healthy way. That’s why we want to help. We don’t claim to have all the answers—or to even be masters of the work-life balance ourselves—but here are some tips we’ve found useful in our own lives. Good luck!
1. Keep Strict Work Hours
Set strict work hours and stick to them. Don’t check your e-mail or answer your business phone after these hours, and devote this time solely to your family. If you have trouble holding yourself accountable, have your spouse keep you in check. You may also want to set an e-mail auto-reply after a specific time (e.g. 7 or 8 PM) so you won’t be distracted by incoming notifications. This will also let customers and employees know you’re not ignoring them and you’ll follow up with them in the morning.
2. Schedule Family Meals
The concept of “family time” might be too vague to achieve, especially during your busy season. Creating a more specific and defined goal will make accomplishing it more likely. Try scheduling at least one meal to eat with your family every day. Even if you can’t make it home in time for dinner, you can aim for breakfast or lunch. The goal is to enjoy some uninterrupted face time with your family at least once a day.
3. Delegate Work Responsibilities
Hire someone and delegate responsibilities so you aren’t juggling everything all at once. We understand it’s difficult for some business owners to trust another person to answer e-mails or keep the books. However, it’s something you have to do if you want to keep your sanity. You can put your mind at ease by giving this individual low-level tasks at first and gradually building up their skills. When you delegate, you’ll be able to step away from your work more often without worrying about tasks falling through the cracks.
4. Prioritize Work Tasks
First thing every morning, identify the top five or six tasks you must complete by the end of the day. By doing this, you’ll focus your energy on the most important tasks during the workday. Then, once they’re complete, you won’t feel guilty about stepping away and unplugging for the night. We hope these tips help you balance work and life better! Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.