Work-Life Balance as a Small Business Owner
Starting a small business is one of the most rewarding and difficult things to do. While there are tons of perks to being your own boss, like setting your own hours, the ability to get paid for doing something you’re passionate about, and being able to work from anywhere, there are two sides to a coin. The success of your business relies solely on you as the owner, and as such there are added pressures that come with that fact. You may have the flexibility to take a 10:00 AM workout class, but that may also mean you’re up late at night packing orders, taking meetings, and going through the everyday tasks that make your business a success. No boss and no organization is going to require you to step away from your job at 5:30 PM on the dot, and if things need to get done--you have to get them done, no matter the hour. How does someone set up those boundaries around their career when they work for themselves? That’s where I’m here to help.
These are some tips that I’ve learned as a small boutique owner to help keep a sustainable Work-Life balance:
Although one of the best perks about working for yourself is that you do not have set hours, giving yourself a window of time to work will allow for more work-life balance. The most important part of setting your own hours is STICKING to them. On a given day if you have given yourself eight hours to get work done, hold yourself accountable and work only for eight hours--no more or less.
In order to stick to the work hours you set for yourself, you’re going to have to prioritize your day. Make a big list of tasks that you need to get done, and then sort them by high priority and low priority. If you get at least the high priority tasks done in your set work hours, you’ll not only feel more productive, but will also be able to feel good about stepping away from your work when you reach the end of your day.
This is the macro-scale of the prioritization piece. Planning out your week will give you a better idea of where you’re able to fit in the “life” pieces of work-life balance--walking your dog, seeing friends etc. Planning your month will give you a roadmap on which days/weeks will be busiest and where you can take more time for yourself, it’ll also give you a good idea of what progress you’ve made in achieving any goals or milestones you’ve set for yourself. Yearly planning can give you an insight on any important events you have coming up for your business, and in turn give you an idea of when you can plan time off or vacations for yourself.
Setting work hours for yourself does not always mean you have to work from 9:00-5:00--that’s the great part about working for yourself! If you want to take that mid-morning yoga class or go out for lunch, take the time to do so. That’s where the work-life balance piece kicks in, take time throughout your day to do things for your own life and health outside of work.
Despite all the planning you may do, there are always things out of your control. You may have a tight deadline that you have to meet which means you can’t take that mid-morning workout class or get drinks with your friends. In turn, you can take that time that you poured into your work and pour it back into yourself. For example, if you spent a week having 12-hour workdays, take the entire weekend off. At the end of the day, you have to hold yourself accountable for both your health and the health of your business. Take time to prioritize your needs and make changes where you’re able. Allow yourself to be fluid with your schedule in a way that creates balance in your life.
I hope this was helpful, if you use any of these tips in your life I’d love to hear from you!