5 Tips To Achieving A Work-Life Balance
I once met a business owner who had a partner and two young kids. They were hell-bent on building a successful business and were working some incredible (and unsustainable) hours as a result. Rising at 6 am, they would work until their young workforce came online at 9 am.
Between 9 am and 5 pm, he troubleshoot problems for his team. 5-7:30 was daddy time, feed bath bed and the work started at 8 and went on till 11. I can’t help but admire this sort of work ethic at the same time as passionately believing that there’s a better way…
Establishing a work-life balance is one of the best things that you can do for yourself. And contrary to what it looks like, it can easily help you to become more productive and achieve the best results. In short, you can eat your cake and have it.
“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling five balls in the air.… You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls — family, health, friends, and spirit — are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or even shattered. They will never be the same.”
~ Bryan Dyson, former CEO, Coca-Cola.
Here are 5 tips to achieve a work-life balance:
- Manage your time well
- Set boundaries
- Don’t be afraid to unplug
- Prioritise your health
- Invest in your relationships
1. Manage Your Time Well
Imagine that you’re a consultant. You spend about 40 hours weekly on the clients that you already have. It seems like enough of a struggle, but when a new client reaches out to you, you accept. Now you have to work into the night.
You’re hardly getting any sleep or spending time with your family. You’ve taken on too much work and made way too many commitments. The result? A complete burnout.
Time management is an essential skill. It gives your day structure. If done right, with time management you’ll be able to get more out of your day.
Here are two ways that you can make sure to manage your time better:
America’s 34th president was a pro at prioritising tasks by urgency and importance. He served as a general in the US Army, as supreme commander of the allied forces in Western Europe during World War 2, as president of Columbia University, and as president of the United States.
His secret? Simple…
According to Eisenhower, tasks in the first quadrant are to be given priority. Those in Quadrant 2 are to be scheduled and completed as soon as possible, otherwise, they will end up in Quadrant 1. Tasks in quadrant 3 are to be delegated and those in 4 can be ignored or slotted for your leisure time.
Make Use Of Diaries
Make use of diaries and schedule specific times for specific tasks. Don’t juggle two tasks at the same time. Finish with one and then begin working on the other. If you can get yourself to focus fully on what you’re doing at the moment, the results will be wonderful.
You can download our handy how-to-create a default diary guide here.
2. Set Boundaries
Self-employed people have it REALLY hard with this one. Setting boundaries and differentiating work time from family time…
When your office is in the same location as your home, the two become intertwined and suddenly, you don’t have a work-life balance. You wake up in the middle of the night to go to the ‘office’ to complete a task.
Setting boundaries is crucial.
Here are two ways to set boundaries in the workplace:
Define Your Working Hours
Small business owners can easily get caught up in work and find themselves doing tasks into the wee hours of the night. Before you set boundaries with other people, you need to first set them with yourself.
When your working hours are over, avoid thinking about emails and upcoming projects. Consider having a separate phone for work so that when it’s time to clock out, you actually do so.
Communicate Boundaries Clearly
You have to clearly explain to your employees, clients, and vendors what your boundaries are.
Let them know when you are available, what channels they can use to contact you, and what response times they can expect.
3. Don’t Be Afraid To Unplug
I recently learnt that it can take up to 3-5 years to recover from burnout.
And one of the leading causes of burnout is the lack of balance between work and life.
We’re all human, and to be human means that we deserve to rest and unplug. So when you feel like you need it, don’t be afraid to unplug.
Unplugging can simply mean taking time aside for meditation and other healthy practices. It can mean taking a day off to do nothing but rest. Or, it could mean taking a week off to visit the beach for a vacation.
Whatever it be, taking that time to unwind is critical to success and will help you feel more energised when you’re on the clock.
Here are three ways that we can all unplug:
Take A Technology Hiatus
Globally, the average screen time per person per day is 6 hours and 58 minutes.
This is beyond scary! Technology has turned into a buffer for all our free time. It has made people assume that time spent on social media can be considered time resting.
A technology hiatus allows you to disconnect from digital devices. It gives you time to breathe and reconnect with the world around you.
In the Eisenhower Matrix, Quadrant 3 is all about delegating! If you are to truly unplug from work, you have to delegate tasks to trusted team members or employees when you’re taking time off.
Make sure they have clear instructions and are capable of handling critical matters in your absence.
4. Prioritise Your Health
Your health should always come first.
Whether it be your physical, mental, or emotional health, this should be your main concern.
Because the more you ignore it, the worse it becomes.
So when you start to feel certain symptoms, it’s important that you take time off and see a doctor. If you suffer from mental health issues, do not skip that counsellor appointment for work.
When you prioritise your health, you’ll make sure that you feel good at most times. This energy can be tapped into making you produce the best results at work.
Here are a few things you can do to make sure you are prioritising your health:
Regular Health Check-ups
As part of prioritising your health, you need to schedule regular health check-ups with your healthcare provider to monitor your overall health and catch any potential issues early on.
Don’t Ignore Any Symptoms
We all have the tendency to push aside the symptoms we have and hope that they go away naturally. We continue to work and stress our bodies further instead of putting everything aside and seeing a doctor.
Part of prioritising your health is about paying attention to symptoms and doing something about them.
5. Invest In Relationships
Here’s the thing…
Your business isn’t in any way more important than your family and friends.
A solid support system can take you much further in life, and even make you more energised and productive to SMASH those goals.
As you take time to unplug and rest, spend some of this time with your precious family and friends. You’ll realise just how important it is.
If you’re away from your loved ones, set time aside to call them every day. And finally, don’t forget that one of the relationships you need to invest in is with yourself.
When you have downtime, allow yourself to enjoy that quality time for yourself to re-energize.
How do you make sure that you invest in your relationships?
Prioritise Quality Time
How much time do you spend with your loved ones, compared to the time you spend working?
The best way to make sure that you are actively investing in relationships is by allocating time for the calls, activities, and interactions you have with them.
Initiate and Plan Activities
When you’re running a small business you may end up spending most of your time at work, and never initiating any activities.
Take the initiative to organize gatherings, outings, or events. Planning and participating in activities together help in creating shared memories and deepening bonds
Your business is part of your life. There are days where you’ll need to spend more time on it, equally there must be times when you spend more time on yourself or with family and friends. If you constantly have to drop your precious glass balls for your rubber work ball, you’ll jeopardise the things that (if you think about it) are really the most important.
A lot of us don’t realise it, but striking a balance between work and life helps you to achieve more. You have a lot more to benefit from doing it.
In summary, here are 5 tips on how to do so:
- Manage Your Time Well
- Don’t Be Afraid To Unplug
- Prioritise Your Health
- Set Boundaries
- Invest In Relationships
If you’d like some help rebalancing, get in touch. Outside ideas are on a mission to help people and businesses grow.
Onwards and Upwards my friends