Finding work-life balance
is important for everyone, and while it can be difficult for anyone to achieve, it can be especially challenging for business owners and those who are self-employed
. Running your own business takes hard work and dedication, and small business owners are known for the long hours they put in. In fact, a study conducted by New York Enterprise found that 25% of small business owners routinely work more than 60 hours
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that spending nearly all of your time at work can be a surefire recipe for burnout
. Working too much can have a damaging impact on your mental health, as well as your relationships with your spouse, children, and other important people in your life.
So, what is a hard-working small business owner to do? Here are some suggestions to help you strike a balance between your small business and your personal life:
1. Identify the Problem
When you start to feel overwhelmed and stressed by work tasks, take a step back and evaluate where your life lacks balance. Are you sacrificing too much time with your children to get your business up and running? Are you losing connections with friends and extended family? Have you developed new health issues that could be related to stress? Asking yourself some tough questions and answering them honestly is the first step to resetting the balance in your life so you will have enough time for work, family, and outside pursuits.
2. Delegate Non-Critical Tasks
Letting go of certain tasks and allowing other people to handle them may seem like an impossible challenge, especially if you launched your business by yourself. However, it is not necessary for you to have your hand in everything. Try delegating anything that is not critical to your business mission. If you refuse to delegate, you could become so bogged down in administrative tasks that you will have no time left for a personal life. Learning how to delegate tasks will not only help you achieve work-life balance, but it will allow you to more effectively grow your business down the road. Remember, it is not possible to do everything on your own.
When it comes to work-life balance, prioritizing tasks is just as important as delegating them. As you consider the things you need to do at work and at home, rank them in order of importance and then create a checklist for each day, week, and month. You will quickly learn how much you can manage and that it is okay not to get to everything on your list when other things take priority.
4. Learn How to Say No
Learning to say no is uncomfortable for many people, but it is a necessity to protect your boundaries and mental health. For example, you may need to turn down or put off a potential new client if you already have enough work to last for the next several months. Some clients will need services immediately and may decide to go with another company, but others may appreciate your honesty and be willing to wait.
You may also find yourself in the difficult position of having to end a business relationship with a client who is unreasonable or difficult to work with. Remember that it is within your right to do so as a business owner, and that eliminating a client who causes you stress can be an easy way to improve work-life balance.
5. Take Time Off
Every small business owner needs a chance to disconnect from their business. Taking a break is essential for your mental health and can leave you recharged and invigorated for a return to work. You may worry that your customers will take their business elsewhere if you are unavailable for several consecutive days, but do you really want the type of client who would begrudge you taking time off? If taking time away means closing your business for a short period of time, there’s nothing wrong with that, just be sure to communicate the closure to your customers beforehand. You can do so by posting a message on your website and social media accounts, and you can even send proactive emails to your customers with advanced notice of the closure.
6. Establish a Daily Schedule and Stick to It
When you run a business, there is always something that needs your attention. But you cannot let your business dictate your time. You will find yourself working too many hours each day if you do not learn to stick to a schedule. Remember that it’s impossible to get every single task done in a single day (hence the need for prioritization). Consider using the “Do Not Disturb” feature on your phone and disabling text and email notifications when you’re outside your established hours. Of course, you will need to ensure there is a way you can be reached in the event of an emergency, but don’t be afraid to put some boundaries in place to prevent your business from becoming all-consuming.
BankFive understands that operating a business requires significant support and resources. Our Business Banking Team is here for Massachusetts and Rhode Island business owners. Contact us today to set up a consultation and learn more about small business products and solutions.