If you’re not sure how to achieve a healthy work life balance, you’re not alone. As a business owner, it can be especially difficult to balance work life with home life.
When you own a business, you constantly feel as if you’re on duty. The workday rarely resembles the 9-to-5 life most employees experience. Instead, there are early morning starts, late night finishes, and weekend catch-ups.
However, for the sake of your private life and your business, achieving a work/life balance is essential.
Work Life Balance Defined
You might feel like having a healthy work life balance means spending the same amount of time on work as you do on non-work life. However, that’s not necessarily the case.
Work Life Balance Is Different For Everyone
The truth is that a healthy work life balance is different for everyone. For some people, that might mean only putting in 40 hours a week on their business. For others, that might mean spending 60 hours a week on business.
There’s no wrong answer as a whole when it comes to work life balance. Your goal should be to find out what type of work life balance is best for you–and for your family.
If you’re a business owner with a partner and/or family, it’s vitally important to include them when you’re defining your work life balance. This is because what works for you might not work for your partner or family.
And this is where “compromise” comes in. Partnerships and families are like teams. They only work when everyone is working together to find what works.
So as you strive to find a good work life balance, be sure to include those closest to you. Ask their opinion. See how they feel about your current work life balance.
Do they need more time with you? Do they have ideas about how to arrange your work schedule in a way that accommodates both business and family needs?
Keep discussing and compromising until you find what works for you and your spouse/family.
Work Life Balance Will Vary Over Time
Balance is important, however, it’s also important to remember that your work and life schedules will vary over time. Some seasons require extra time to focus on work.
For instance, maybe you’re working hard to gain a new client. Or maybe you’re in the middle of an expansion.
The same goes for life. If it’s baseball season for your some, you may need to cut out of work early for a few weeks to attend practices and games.
Be mindful of the seasons of both business and life, and be conscious to adjust your schedule accordingly. Bonus tip: Do so without self-condemnation.
Why Work Life Balance Is So Important
You might be wondering why having a healthy work life balance is so important. The fact of the matter is that when something is neglected, it disintegrates.
Without a good work life balance, you’re taking a huge risk that something in your life will disintegrate.
If you spend too much time with friends and family, your business will disintegrate. Conversely, if you spend too much time on your business, your relationship with family and friends will disintegrate.
Don’t take that chance. Keep working until you find the work life balance that’s best for you, your business and your loved ones.
Keep in mind that a healthy work life balance will increase productivity in your business too. These tips will help you remember why a healthy work life balance is so important.
Remember Your “Why”
There’s a reason you started your own business. Maybe it was because you wanted more control over your income. Or over your time.
Maybe you wanted to have the flexibility to take impromptu dates with your spouse or vacations with your family. It’s important to keep those “whys” in mind when you’re figuring out work life balance.
In my case, I started my own business because I wanted to be able to have a career yet stay home with my kids. Freelance writing allows me to work around my family schedule.
I get up early in the morning and write while the kids are still asleep. By the time they’re up and about, I’m free to spend time with them and tend to their needs.
Work hard to remember your “whys” when creating your work life balance. Write them down if you have to. Make a poster board.
Business ownership can be grueling work. However, when managed properly it can provide you with an abundance of freedom and flexibility.
Burnout is the arch-enemy of business ownership–and of life. A burnt-out business owner can stagnate a business’ growth–and even destroy the business.
Burnt out business owners have trouble making decisions and managing employees properly. They get desperate; desperate for a reprieve. And while healthy desperation can be great for a business, unhealthy desperation can be very destructive.
If you get too burnt out, your only thought may be to get out from under the pressure. And that might lead you to make spontaneous (bad) decisions like selling the business without forethought. Or simply letting it dwindle into failure.
Keep that work life balance in order so you avoid getting burnt out from doing too much at once.
Recharge Your Business And Your Life
Another reason why a healthy work life balance is important is because it helps you recharge. Both business and life need recharging at times.
Vacations can help you recharge your personal life. They can also give you a refreshing boost so you’re more energized to work and grow your business.
Business conferences can help you see your business–and your life–in a new light.
The same can be said for days off, time spent with loved ones and many other healthy activities. The point? Don’t get too immersed in the daily grind.
Instead, take some time to recharge your business life and your personal life.
Five Steps To Finding Work Life Balance
Finding a healthy work/life balance means assessing life and work to find what works best for you. Use these five tips to help you uncover your ideal work/life balance.
1. Exchange “Perfect” For “Reasonable”
Perfect doesn’t exist on any kind of a regular basis–in work or in life. You might have perfect days or perfect hours. However, putting pressure on yourself to strive for perfection in everything can lead to overwhelming stress.
Instead, try to strive for reasonable. “Balance” and “reasonable” go hand-in-hand. Finding a healthy work life balance will likely require you to let go of perfectionism.
Work to find a way to a reasonably balanced life in both work and at home.
2. Delegate Responsibilities
Delegation is vastly underrated–especially among business owners. Business owners tend to be take-charge visionaries who do many things well.
Because of that, they tend to have a tough time delegating tasks to employees. I have a friend named Frank who bought a small car dealership years ago. He immersed himself in the business, leaving very little time for his wife and three small children.
Frank loved his family and wanted to be with them, but he just couldn’t bring himself to let go of the reins and delegate some tasks. He was convinced that if he wasn’t doing everything himself, the business would fall apart.
Frank almost lost his marriage and family because of this, but thankfully, he woke up and made some changes.
Life by the old business adage: Hire up. Hire people who have skills you don’t have. If you need to, hire a consultant for a short period of time to help you learn how to delegate. Then delegate responsibilities and take some things off your plate.
Read: How To Hire An Assistant
3. Change “Normal”
“Normal” is different for everyone. What your neighbor, your parents or anyone else thinks is normal doesn’t matter.
You need to find the “normal” that works for you. That might mean going into work at noon and spending mornings with your family. Or going in at 5 a.m and being home by the time the kids get home from school.
Create your “normal” based on what works best for your life – even if others find it different or odd.
4. Take Baby Steps
Achieving a healthy work life balance won’t happen overnight. Instead, it’s typically a “slow and steady wins the race” kind of a journey. Be patient with yourself. Your first attempts at finding a healthy work life balance may fail. Or, you may do well at first and then fall off the wagon.
Take baby steps and try to find your balance one day at a time. For instance, start by making it a goal to have a date night with your spouse or partner once each week.
Then start delegating small tasks to employees. Tackle each roadblock to a healthy work life balance as it comes up, and move forward from there.
5. Manage Stress In Your Life
One of the downfalls of not having a good work/life balance is that you may have increased stress levels. Besides affecting relationships, stress has a host of other drawbacks.
According to the American Institute of Stress, stress can cause:
- high blood pressure
- digestive issues
- fertility issues
And more. I know that when I’m stressed, I find it difficult to make smart decisions. That effect would surely hinder your business over time. Finding ways to relax can help.
Do what you can to kick stress to the curb, and care for your emotional and physical health in the process.
Ways To Relax
Relaxing–both on your own and with loved ones–is an important part of a healthy work life balance. Some business owners tend to view relaxation as counterproductive to business success.
On the contrary, practicing relaxing activities can help create a healthy mind, body and home life, paving the way to great business success.
Accomplish Something Together
There’s something about accomplishing something with another person that is very relaxing. For some reason, that partnership can turn mundane tasks into fun accomplishments.
My kids and I are in the middle of a semi-large house remodel right now. As we work toward completing this large task, I will sometimes assign each person a project. Other times, we’ll work together on a project.
The projects we work on together are a lot more enjoyable for everyone. We finish faster and we can enjoy the results together, knowing we used teamwork to accomplish our goal. For some reason, working together on projects feels more like fun than work.
As the old saying goes, “Laughter is the best medicine.” Work to add laughter into your life and family. Watch funny movies. Play fun games. Reminisce about funny times or situations.
This article from the Mayo Clinic shows that laughter has several benefits to your health. It stimulates organ function, improves your immune system and acts as a natural pain reliever.
Put seriousness aside for a little bit each day, and do things that are sure to make you laugh.
Be Outside Together
Enjoying nature has so many benefits. You can reap health and emotional benefits alike simply by being outside.
- take a walk in the neighborhood
- hike at a local state or county park
- go for a bike ride
- have a picnic lunch or dinner in the yard
- watch the sun rise or set
- sit under the stars at night and watch the sky
Take some time each day to enjoy being outside with loved ones–or even by yourself. All seasons have sports and activities that you can do outside.
Get some fresh air and recharge your body and mind by spending time outside. A study says that 120 minutes per week in nature is the perfect amount.
Let’s face it: we live in a world that’s hyper-focused on technology. Families sit at the dinner table on their phones. TV, movies and video games are popular sources of entertainment.
Most of us are plugged for the majority of our day. All of that screen time takes a toll on our emotional and physical health. This article shares how too much screen time can have a negative effect on you in a number of ways:
- weight gain and related problems, such as Type 2 diabetes
- neck and back problems
- vision problems
- impaired cognitive function
- sleep issues
And more. Even two hours a day of screen time has been shown to have negative effects on a person’s health. Choose to have times of the day–and week–where you completely unplug from technology. Go on vacations where you don’t have access to wi-fi. Have tech-free times during the week or weekend.
Make it a point to reduce your screen time where you can, and watch your stress level decrease.
Celebrate Special Days
Celebrating special days can be a great part of achieving a healthy work life balance. Go out to dinner (and dessert) for birthdays and anniversaries.
Celebrate holidays–use them as an opportunity to gather with loved ones. Have a 4th of July BBQ or a Labor Day picnic.
Make a heart-shaped giant cookie and an Italian dinner on Valentine’s Day–even if it’s just for yourself. Celebrations make the heart happy. Use any excuse to have them.
Find A Relaxing Hobby
If you’ve been working too hard at your business, you may not remember what’s it like to have a hobby. Hobbies aren’t just for kids and “old” people. Everyone can benefit from the relaxation that comes from doing something you love.
Some ideas for hobbies include:
- physical activities such as biking or rollerblading
- drawing or painting
- assembling model cars or airplanes
- rock collecting
The possibilities are truly endless. Get in touch with your inner child and find hobbies that help you unwind from the responsibilities of business ownership.
Last but not least, don’t forget staycations. As a business owner, you might not feel you have time for a full-fledged vacation. However, you can (and should) carve out a few days here and there for staycations.
A staycation is a short vacation that doesn’t take you too far from home. Here are some ideas for staycations.
Check Out Local Landmarks
All states are ripe with landmarks. Explore history by visiting an old building. Visit state and county parks. Check out history museums or historical landmarks.
Your state’s tourism website should have a large list of landmarks for you to see.
Take Advantage of Local Groupon Adventures
Groupon is a great site for getting good deals an adventures close to home. On a recent visit to my local Groupon site, I found offers for:
- brewery tours
- spa excursions
- riverboat rides
- entertainment centers
- hunt club excursion
And a whole lot more. Visit your local Groupon site and find great deals on staycation activities that will help you unwind and enjoy life for a bit.
Go For A Drive
A Staycation doesn’t have to take a lot of planning or money. Why not just hop in the car with loved ones and go for a drive?
You can explore areas you’ve never seen before or visit old hangouts. You can drive for an hour or drive for five hours–the choice is yours.
Seeing the local and statewide sights is a great way to learn new things and forget about the responsibilities of life for a while.
Finding a healthy work life balance really is a key ingredient to business (and life) success. It will help you clear your head and stay on top of your long-term vision for your company and your family.
Start implementing the tips above today, and make your life and work happier places to be.