Many small business owners struggle to find work-life balance, especially in the early days. While most have the best intentions of maintaining a flexible work schedule and keeping up with family commitments, it can all fly out the window when times get tough or cash flow is tight.
It’s easy for others to wonder why you can’t just take time off or have a break when you’re feeling stressed or close to burnout, but they don’t realise that being a small business owner can be all-consuming at times. Here are four practical ways to improve your work-life balance.
1 Break up with your smartphone
Smartphones: they can be your best friend and your worst enemy. Now we have the ability to take mini computers with us wherever we go, we have become entirely reliant on them – to the point of our own detriment.
If you’re feeling stressed and want to improve your work-life balance, start by taking control of how much you are using your smartphone. While it can be handy to invoice-on-the-go and call clients from almost anywhere, constantly getting notifications, reminders and emails from clients can make you a target for stress – all day, every day.
Whether you turn your phone off, dial down your notifications or restrict your use on weeknights or weekends, make a choice to change your smartphone habits today.
2 Force yourself to take lunch breaks
It may not be easy to take an entire weekend off and an overseas holiday could be off the cards while your building your business, but a lunch break is entirely achievable – and necessary. Every day you work, take a break.
Whether it’s 30 minutes to go for a walk or run outside, have a quick coffee with a friend or even a power nap, regular breaks can do wonders to relieve stress and improve productivity. Set an alarm when it’s lunch time, so you remember to take that intentional break – and make it a phone-free event.
3 Give your schedule an overhaul
Over scheduling is a key source of pain for many small business owners. Instead of packing your days with meetings, phone calls and tasks, give yourself some breathing room. Understand how you work and what hours of the day you’re most productive.
Manage your time with others and limit the number of meetings you have each day or week. Be kind to yourself and sensible when organising your work schedule.
4 Prioritise your physical and mental health
No doubt your to-do list is never-ending and, at times, overwhelming, but you need to add one more thing to your list – your health. Whether it’s going to get a medical check-up, prioritising your sleep or starting a meditation routine, getting on top of your health will benefit your business in the long run.
Make sure you’re eating well and taking the time to plan good, healthy meals and squeezing in time for exercise. While it can feel counterintuitive to take time away from your busy schedule to do such things, it’s imperative to ensure your long-term success as a small business owner.