Six Steps to Ensure Work Doesn’t Take Over Your Life
Whether you’re a veteran small business owner, making a pivot in your career, or just starting out as an entrepreneur, it can be a real struggle to strike a better balance between your work and your personal life. It’s an all-too common challenge.
As a successful professional or business owner, your work is likely your passion, and it’s always on your mind at some level. The line between your professional life and your private life is easily blurred—or may not exist at all.
Never-ending to-do lists, smartphones keeping you connected around the clock, and working to stay ahead of customer needs and expectations can leave even the most levelheaded person feeling overwhelmed.
As an entrepreneur and a leader, you tend to think, work and view things differently. And that comes with a lot of advantages which have led to your successful outcomes. But it can have its share of disadvantages, too.
While you are accomplishing important professional tasks: meeting your client’s needs day in and day out, thinking of new services to launch, opportunities to pursue, how you might pivot your operations or take your own professional career to the next level; important personal tasks can easily build up, often going unattended to.
But how do you turn down the volume on a never-ending to-do list and ensure your personal priorities are getting met somewhere in the mix?
It is truly challenging for even the most well-intentioned among us to simply relax – even when this may be the first thing we need in order to find the energy and clarity to put toward our priorities outside of work. It can be difficult to give your mind and body a true rest at the end of the day – even when this may be the thing you’re needing the most.
What Can You Do To Find More Balance?
Amid all of the demands you face each day, it’s important to sustain your energy. After all, you are the head, heart, and soul of your business and your career. You depend on your creativity and expertise in order to succeed.
In order to do this, most of us would benefit from finding more of the ever elusive work-life balance. Try these tips to begin to do just that.
- Take a Few Minutes To Prioritize Daily
As an entrepreneur or leader, your to-do list is never complete. Chances are you could work day and night and still not take care of everything. So my first recommendation to you is to stop trying to accomplish it all.
Instead of attempting to soldier through a mountain of work, which you can and probably have done quite well for a period of time, try being more selective. Every morning, choose 3-5 goals from your list and make it your priority to finish those tasks no matter what. You’ll end the day satisfied by having met your goals and more energized to tackle the next day.
- Get Support & Delegate Wisely
If you try to do everything for your business yourself, you’ll be so buried in work that you’ll never see the end of it. Even if you’re a solopreneur, it’s helpful to have an assistant who can take care of those administrative or customer service tasks that don’t require your time and expertise.
If you want to live a more balanced life, take the time to determine those tasks that only you can do well. Focus on doing them.
Delegate those jobs that someone else can do just as well or better than you. Consider the value of your time, too. Are you a $200 or $400 an hour resource doing a $20 an hour task? If so, delegate it. This will help you finish your workday in a reasonable amount of time so you have time for your personal life and priorities. It also gives you the time, space and energy to focus on those things you enjoy and that you do best.
- Practice Saying No
If you’ve been in your profession or business for a while and have a steady stream of customers, your very success can add a level of complexity to your life. And while it’s a nice challenge to have, there comes a point when you may need to analyze your clients and determine which ones are a good fit and which may be draining too much energy or resources. Consider directing their business to a more appropriate resource in order to free up time to concentrate on your personal life – and those customers that are an excellent fit for your business today.
Saying no also applies to commitments in the community and at home. Consider what’s most important to you, what you enjoy and where your contributions are most valued. Practice saying no to those volunteer requests or even social commitments that aren’t aligned with what’s most important.
- Separate Work and Home
Design your office space so it’s focused on work. Similarly, keep your work separate from your personal space. Even if you work from a home office, dedicate a separate space for your work that you can leave at the end of the day. Keeping separation from work and home allows you to stay more focused on work. This helps you be more efficient so you can finish and go home.
If you tend to have dinner and then go back to work, even via your smartphone, try not doing this for one or two nights a week. Alternately, establish a routine – like reviewing your daily priorities and re-scheduling those you didn’t get to – that signals the end of your workday. Note any differences in your enjoyment of your evening – not to mention your energy, clarity and creativity the next day.
- Acknowledge What’s Working
When you are a high-achiever, there’s a tendency to be constantly focused on the gap between where you are and where you want to be. While this is a part of what’s made you successful so far, it also makes it easy to feel discouraged even when things are going well. Try this approach instead: acknowledge and genuinely appreciate what is working – even and especially when it doesn’t quite meet up with your vision or ideals.
Try taking a moment at the end of your day to review and appreciate what went well. It’s important that you allow yourself to actually feel gratitude – this is not an intellectual exercise. Then set your intention for what you want to go well tomorrow. And let it be.
- Make Gradual Changes
When you’re accustomed to working around the clock, it’s best to start with small steps when creating a more balanced life. If you’re working five or six days each week, it’s probably not realistic to immediately jump to only four or five days.
Gradually alter your schedule until you’re working your ideal amount of hours. For instance, if you’re working every day, start by committing to taking a full day off on the weekend. Once you’ve become accustomed to a six-day work week, take off every other Saturday as well.
Establishing more work-life balance might seem impossible initially, but take it slowly. Even starting with one small step above can help you find more balance in your life.
With each step, you’re likely to find yourself in a calmer, more content state of mind.
If you enjoyed this post and would like help setting yourself up for more success, contact me directly to see if you qualify for a complimentary strategy session.
You can also learn more about me, read more blog posts, download free tips to create a business and a life you love, or check out the stories of people who have worked with me.