As a small business owner you wear many hats. Your list of daily tasks seems to increase each day as your business grows and sometimes you may feel exhausted and overwhelmed. Additionally, you may have a family to look after, and you also need to care for yourself.
The word “balance” gives the false impression that you need to dedicate an equal amount of time to work and personal time. As you are probably aware, that’s not a realistic goal. Instead, strive to find a rhythm and routine that allows you to dedicate adequate time to both.
Here are a few practices that you can start any time:
Separate work space from personal space. This is especially important if you work from home and have young children. It’s very distracting to manage tasks, emails and phone calls while your child is reaching out for attention. Dedicate a separate room or space in your home for work, while your child is being cared for by another person. If possible, work away from home during times that are particularly hectic.
Set an end time for work. Most people who work in corporate jobs have a regular 9-5 schedule and are able to physically leave work behind. As an entrepreneur, your hours may often be inconsistent, but do your best to have regular times when you stop working and checking messages. This allows you to be fully present with your family, or have some time for yourself. Set a calendar reminder for when to stop working.
Work in some transition time. Sometimes it’s difficult to mentally transition from work mode to family mode. Create a routine that helps you cool down from the day’s activities so you’ll be more relaxed at home. For example, go to the gym, take a walk or listen to a fun podcast at the end of your work day. That will help you glide your thoughts away from work and towards home.
Set expectations. Communicate with your family about the requirements of your business and when they can expect you to be working and expect you to be spending time with them. Most importantly, honour your promises. Avoid cancelling plans unless it is absolutely necessary.
Be flexible with your time. Let’s face it, you will often need to work very long days and that might happen for several days in a row. While that’s unavoidable (especially if you have a busy season), schedule some time for a significant break. For example, take a few days off or even a week to re energize and reconnect with those you care about.
Pace Yourself. There are endless activities that you could be doing at work and it’s tempting to do them all. But small business growth takes time and patience, especially if you have very few, or no employees. Don’t try to do everything all at once. As the saying goes, manage the business, but don’t let it manage you.
Want to learn more about effective operations? Check out our free online course, “Key Business Practices”.
If you’re ready to take the next step, book a meeting with an experienced Business Advisor at Small Business Centres Ontario. We have 54 offices across Ontario. Working with a Business Advisor means you are not alone and that you can get help to build your plan. Find a location near you.