Your business is your baby, and you dedicate an enormous amount of effort to making it successful. Spending too much time on your business, however, can dampen your enthusiasm for it and could lead to burnout. Thankfully, there are ways to keep both your work life and personal life thriving as you grow your company.
Delegate Your Duties
Taking on too many tasks at work on your own can sap your energy. If your employees have the skills to do some of the things you often do by yourself, consider delegating tasks to them for a better work-life balance. This extends to your home life as well, since obligations such as cooking, house cleaning, and yard work can overwhelm you after an already hectic workday. Perhaps you can hire a housekeeper once a week to clean your home or pay your neighbor’s teenager to rake your leaves and mow your lawn.
Find Time to Exercise Regularly
You need energy to run your business, and exercise can actually make you feel more energized. It’s a great idea to exercise at least two or three times a week to feel energized during the work day. Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore: Choose an activity you enjoy, whether it’s an early morning yoga class or a brisk lunch-hour walk around your downtown area. Location permitting, biking to and from work is a fun way to get exercise that makes you commute work for you. Exercising also relieves tension, which helps you get a better night’s sleep.
Mobile smart devices often allow you to work anywhere, anytime, but staying online constantly also adds stress to your life. Finding time to detach from your smartphone or laptop on a regular basis can lead to:
- Increased Creativity: Creativity is gold. While the internet provides a wealth of inspiration, try taking a break from the screen and observe the world around you to see how your product or service fits in real life. The best ideas come organically, so set aside your laptop for a few minutes (or hours or days) and come back to your task with a fresh outlook and attitude.
- Enhanced Personal Relationships: Some say entrepreneurship is a lonely road, but it doesn’t have to be. Your family and friends are your support system, and if you consistently show them respect, you can expect them to be there for you when business is booming and when it’s not. While it may be difficult at first, don’t always put work ahead of the people who love you. Set time aside for friends and family each day to show them you care and to keep your work-life balance in check. Staying away from your phone and laptop during quality time is a small gesture with big impact that keeps your focus where it should be: on the ones in the room with you, not on your competitor’s Twitter feed.
- *Better Communication:* You communicate so much about your business via text, email, or shared digital dashboards, but face-to-face and interpersonal communication skills are crucial to the art of attracting and retaining customers, investment, and other forms of support. Instead of writing that email, consider picking up the phone and scheduling a meeting. This can be much more effective and productive, and it’s good practice to keep you sharp for when it really counts.
Lack of Sleep and Productivity
The most obvious way sleep deprivation affects productivity is by reducing how quickly your mind and body can function. You end up taking longer to perform tasks, especially those that require quite a bit of thought. Sleep deprivation’s impact on your body is similar to that of alcohol, which is why drowsy driving is considered just as dangerous as driving under the influence.
Your interpersonal skills can also suffer when you haven’t gotten enough sleep. You may have trouble listening to people or expressing yourself clearly. Since lack of sleep can make you irritable and more susceptible to stress, you’re more likely to get in arguments with other people over non-issues. As you get into the workday, you could lose motivation and feel burnt out sooner than normal.
Try these ways to improve your rest:
- Even if you have a flexible schedule and sometimes work odd hours, try your best to incorporate a cut-off time when work ends for the day. Try to avoid working right up until you go to sleep so you can give your body time to relax.
- If you work from home, don’t bring any work items into your bedroom. It’s also a good idea to either shut down your electronic devices or put them away where you can’t see any notifications when you’re in your bed.
- Try relaxing activities close to bedtime, such as deep-breathing exercises or listening to slower music. Recharge your batteries by curling up in bed with a good book, watching your favorite show, or taking a leisurely walk through your neighborhood. Engaging in hobbies, especially ones you put on the back burner to start your business, is also a great way to relax.
Do you have the tendency to spend too many hours sitting at a desk and scarf down junk food because it’s quick and easy? This could be counterproductive to your goals, because healthy food provides superior fuel for both your body and mind. This should be important to entrepreneurs who want to be functioning at the top of their game, both mentally and physically. If you’re not in the habit of eating healthy meals, try scheduling at least one or two nights a week where you have a healthy, well-balanced dinner to start.
Take a Vacation
When you’re the boss, you can’t just drop everything to go on vacation. Instead, it’s a good idea to plan ahead for your time off from full-time work. Consider scheduling your vacation during downtime, so you’re not missed as much. If you run a bicycle shop, for instance, a winter vacation might make sense: Business is slow, and your employees can hold down the fort until you return. If you’re nervous about leaving, start with a short vacation. You can work up to longer breaks as your business stabilizes. Unwinding with a vacation – even a short one – helps you clear your head and stay healthy. Trust in your employees and put efficient systems in place to make your vacation time possible.
Balancing Full-Time Work and Part-Time Business
Whether you’re starting a career as an independent freelancer or looking to launch a company, you may have to work part-time on your personal business idea while still working full-time at a “regular job” in the beginning. Here are some key elements in juggling business and work:
- Time Management: Set up a schedule where you map out times during the week to get your new business going. Look at your business venture as if it were a second part-time job where you are required to show up for your shifts and craft a schedule that works best for you. For example, if you simply don’t have much free time available, you may require making a commitment to get up an hour earlier each morning and spend that one hour working on your business.
- Set Goals: Setting goals, both long term and short term, broken down into specific tasks to complete, can help you efficiently use the time you have to move your business idea forward.
- Get a Support System: Actively enlist family and friends as a support system for starting your new business. Share your goals with them, and solicit their advice. If you let them know what you’re doing up front and what you’re hoping to eventually accomplish, they’re more likely to be understanding when the effort takes you away from regular social events or personal time.
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