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How to Achieve a Better Work Life Balance
Running a business

How to Achieve a Better Work Life Balance

Achieving a suitable work-life balance is becoming an increasing challenge for Australian workers as digital workplaces mean workers are never off the clock and fear of job loss promotes longer hours. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 1 in 10 Australians work more than 50 hours per week. We all know that working long hours can be detrimental to one's health and increase stress.

However, we shouldn’t forget the benefits of work. Maintaining employment or running a business offers a sense of purpose, provides a daily structure, promotes a sense of community and relationship-building, and can provide financial independence.

But it is important to give enough time in your life to other things besides work, and that will look different for every individual. It could be ensuring you get enough sleep, finding time to exercise, spending time with family, socialising with friends, maintaining hobbies, or a combination of all of the above. 

Common causes of Poor Work-life Balance

  • An increase in expenses without an increase in salary/incomes. When this situation arises, many people think working harder is a solution, leading to stress and other issues. 
  • Increased responsibilities at work or in your business often lead to a greater amount of time spent on work activities. Or, these responsibilities take a greater mental effort.
  • Increased responsibilities at home, like caring for the elderly or children, can make it challenging to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
  • The simple act of working longer hours.

There are many potential circumstances that could result in a challenging work-life balance. Let’s run through some tips to help you maintain a suitable work-life balance.

7 Tips to Achieve a Better Work-life Balance

As a business owner, you must make an active effort to prevent your business from taking over your life. Here are some tips to help you maintain a great work-life balance:

1. Learn to say “no”

Most skilled professionals are people-pleasers.They want to take on work and do their best. However, saying “yes” too much can lead to work overload.

As a small business owner, it’s better to prioritise activities so that you can tackle the most pressing tasks to complete first. Saying no means setting boundaries for yourself so you can spend time on the things that are the most beneficial to you and your business.

2. Take Breaks

Overworking is bad for productivity. Your brain needs time to relax and take in, process, and retain the information it receives. Many experts recommend a 15-minute break every 90 minutes. To many hard workers, this may seem like overkill as they would rather just ‘push through’ to get work done. Again, frame taking breaks as beneficial to your work processes since your brain will be less fried come the end of the day. 

3. Let Go of Perfectionism

Many overachievers have an unhealthy attachment to perfectionism. Unfortunately, as our responsibilities increase, we can’t expect perfection in everything we do at work or in our home lives. 

Expecting perfection from others or putting the pressure of perfection on ourselves will only lead to frustration when things fall short.

A healthy understanding that things can go wrong, and understanding our limited power over such things, is key to not letting work overtake everything in our lives, especially for business owners who oversee many moving parts. 

4. Unplug

Technology has undoubtedly improved work life in terms of the convenience and efficiency it has brought to workplaces.

However, it also means that work can take place around the clock. In some workplaces, there is pressure to be constantly available. As a business owner, you can spend your whole life online with business activities.

Limit your time by deliberately switching off and turning away from technology-based work activities. Set boundaries as to when you are available and when you’ll conduct business online. 

As an extra benefit, time away from those screens is also beneficial for your mental health.

5. Exercise and Meditate

Take time to take care of your body. Exercise is absolutely crucial to our health, yet it is often one of the first things we sacrifice if we feel that we are getting busy. Exercise is an effective stress-reducer and releases plenty of endorphins into your body. This process lifts your mood and can also help to put you into a meditative state.

Meditation is also useful as a tool for self-care. Whatever you choose to help you relax, it’s about building these routines into your daily life as a helpful coping mechanism.

6. Avoid Time-wasting

Time-wasting doesn’t mean avoiding things like watching TV and chilling on the sofa. Instead, it refers to a lack of focus on priorities and an inability to stick to a planned schedule. Part of this process is understanding what you value in life through something like an ikigai exercise. Ikigai is a Japanese term meaning ‘reason for being’. The exercise involves finding your ‘reason for being’ through understanding what you love doing, if what you are doing is meaningful and if what you are doing is necessary. 

After you do this exercise, it may be that spending some time watching movies or reading a book is a valuable part of your life that you want to allocate time to. The point of this exercise is to spend time on things that matter to you while cutting out things that don't.

7. Start Small 

As a business owner, you should know all about setting targets. Don’t expect to transform your work-life balance in an instant where you effectively work for 8 hours a day, exercise regularly, meditate for an hour a day and still spend quality family time and a Netflix show. 

If you currently have a poor work-life balance and feel stressed, you need to take small steps to remedy the situation. Don’t try too many things at once.

If you want to start running, set weekly targets that you can incrementally improve. Set aside small time chunks for the things you love and start to build towards the healthier routine you want to have. 

Small Business Advice From QuickBooks

As a small business owner, you have a lot to think about and this can cause a lot of stress.

Taking advice from trusted sources can help with many of the challenges you face every day as a business owner.

Check out our small business blog for valuable content. 


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