healthy work life balance

Maintaining A Healthy Work-Life Balance for Small Business Owners

June 20, 2023 8:29 am

As a small business owner, you have a lot of responsibility on your shoulders. Your day is filled with meetings, calls, paperwork, emails, and a thousand other things that can’t always wait. And since there are only so many hours in a day, naturally some of these responsibilities bleed out into what should be your off-hours. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t maintain some kind of work-life balance.

A good work-life balance is important to both your mental and physical health. At best, you’ll find yourself looking back and regretting the time you missed with friends and family. At worst, work stress can take a toll on your body and put you in the hospital. A successful business is great, but not at the cost of missing important life events and recovery time for your body.

Delegate Tasks

Your business is important to you, so of course you want to be available for every question and solve every issue. However, it’s important to remember that it’s actually not your job to do everything. When you have a good team, you have people who can step in and solve problems even when you’re not around. Sure, you should be consulted for big decisions, but when you’re willing to let your team carry some of the load, you’ll find yourself able to relax more and be “off the clock.”

Get An Assistant

This goes a bit with delegation, but having an assistant or secretary is a step beyond delegation, as they can handle questions and tasks before they even reach you. If someone calls or has a question, they can gauge if it’s critical enough for your personal attention, or if it can be handled by someone else and point them in the right direction. They can keep you from sweating the small stuff which leaves more time in your schedule to handle the important tasks. With that extra time, you’ll find yourself able to wrap up your day in a far more timely manner, which leaves more time for yourself.

Limit the Time You Check Work Messages

This one is hard because clients don’t always follow a normal 9-5 schedule, whether due to time zones or because they are particularly high-maintenance. However, that doesn’t mean you need to be on call 24/7. While we can easily access our emails on our phones, it’s important to not constantly be checking them. Take time to put the phone away and be present in your friends and family’s lives.

Even if you do feel the need to check your emails during your off-hours, limit when you do so. Set rules for yourself. No checking emails at the dinner table; it can affect your appetite and steal what’s usually considered family time. Also, don’t check your email before bed, as screen usage can make it harder to fall asleep. If you have children, designate at least an hour a day when your phone is turned off and you devote your attention to them. Most importantly, put your phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’ while you sleep so notifications and calls can’t wake you up in the middle of the night. 

For high-maintenance clients, set boundaries and make sure they have people other than you to whom they can send questions. Put the hours you are available in your email signature. Let them know that they can email you at any time, but your responses to non-emergency questions will only happen during work hours. Calling your phone off-hours is for emergencies only and a privilege they should not abuse.

Your business is important, but so is your personal life. Take steps to balance the two properly and you’ll find yourself happier both at work and at home. A healthy work-life balance isn’t always easy to maintain, but it’s the key to looking back at your life with no regrets.

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