Learning & Insights
Is creating work-life balance possible?
Finding the balance between your personal life and work can be tricky for most people—but especially for small business owners. By asking yourself a few questions, you can work toward developing a more balanced life.
What does my "balanced life" look like?
Have you taken the time to figure out what a balanced life looks like to you? For example, how many hours do you physically want to be at work? What things are most important that must come first in your life, such as family, exercise or vacation? What boundaries have you set between work and home?
You can't reach a goal if you don't know what it is, so map it out. Talk to your spouse, family or other loved ones to share your vision with them so they can support you and help you stay on track.
Am I willing to delegate—and do I do it?
One of the most difficult things for a small business owner to do is delegate—especially if the business is a one-person shop. But to find balance in your life, you need to learn to let go.
Hire employees or independent contractors who are trustworthy, have a good work ethic and see your business as you do. That way, you can delegate your work and feel confident it will be done when needed. It may not be done exactly as you would do it, so you need to learn to be OK with that as well.
In what ways do I take care of myself?
Do you get enough sleep every night? Do you make time to exercise at least three to four times a week? How is your diet? Is it filled with fast food or more balanced with healthy options?
All of these things matter because the better you take care of yourself, the more energy you'll have at work and at home. You may need to get more people involved to help keep you on track. Consider offering a wellness incentive at work or at home to get everyone on board and feeling good.
Do I check in regularly with my family and friends?
Your personal life is an important part of who you are, so make sure you make an effort in that area. Needs and life situations will change regularly, so having consistent conversations with your spouse, family or other loved ones will help you keep your relationships strong and secure. And be sure you keep important dates on your calendar—birthdays, anniversaries, sporting events and performances.
Maybe you'll want to set aside time each week for a date with your spouse or make special plans each month with your children. The important people in your life need your time and attention. Don't set them aside because you're "too busy."
Do I limit my distractions so I'm fully engaged at work and at home?
When you're at work, be engaged in your work. But when you're at home, be present there as well. If you need to turn off devices so you're not tempted to answer the phone or respond to email, do it.
It's certainly possible to focus on work while you're with your family, but it's impossible to make your family feel like you're connecting with them if you're mentally somewhere else.
Do I organize my day?
The more organized you are, the better your day will go. It's that simple. Of course, things will pop up, and you'll have to adjust. But if you know what to anticipate, you can lessen your stress and schedule breaks, time with family or friends, exercise, etc.
Whether you organize your day the night before or first thing in the morning is up to you. There are many tools out there to help you plan daily tasks and accomplishments (both in written and digital format). Take advantage of one that works for you.
Do I take breaks every day?
Schedule time for personal breaks. Whether it's just 10 minutes outside at lunch or 30 minutes for your workout in the morning, taking breaks is essential to keeping your mind sharp and staying energized throughout your day.
Start balanced living today
Choosing to live a balanced life is challenging but doable. Create a supportive team of co-workers, family and friends to encourage you as well as hold you accountable. As you begin to create more balance in your life, you'll be happier and more content each day—no matter what challenges you face.