Sometimes it feels as if all we do is work. If you run your own business, you often end up working 12 hours a day, and most weekends too, to make sure it’s a success. That’s all well and good, but you need balance in your life. You have to make time for keeping fit and healthy, for spending time with family and friends, and for hobbies and relaxing.
Here are some tips for creating work / life balance:
Work smarter: often, we create extra work for ourselves, or we spend too much time performing tasks that don’t contribute to our bottom line. We’re working, but not being productive. It’s time to spring-clean your work habits.
How much time do you spend checking email and social networks during the day? Do this once in the morning, and then shut it off. Do you surf the Internet looking for inspiration or “catching up on industry news?” Set yourself a timer for 20 minutes while you have your morning coffee, and when it goes off, stop surfing and get back to work.
Other ideas to increase productivity include taking regular breaks. Yes, if you take more breaks, you give your mind a chance to rest, and you can come back to your work with fresh eyes. A five-minute break can be all you need to crack a problem that’s been plaguing you for hours.
And remember that you don’t have to do everything yourself. You’re not a failure if you ask for help. There are other people in your team who are better at certain activities than you are. Why not give them some of your difficult work in exchange for some of theirs? You’ll both get the work done faster, because you’re working on something you’re good at.
Instead of multi-tasking and writing endless to-do lists, start the day by prioritising only two important tasks that need to be done. Let everything else fall behind those two important tasks. Focusing on these two tasks will keep you on task and motivated.
Most people find that by using productivity techniques they can cut their work hours down by half, gaining more time to spend on other activities.
Be engaged during family time: all too often when we’re eating dinner or watching a movie with our family, our minds are distracted other things. Make an effort to be physically and emotionally present during family time – get the family together for a board game, and engage conversation at dinner. Make the time you do spend together worthwhile.
Negotiate flexible hours: If you work for a company, explain to your boss that you’re having trouble maintaining work/life balance, and ask if you can have a flexible work schedule, or if you can work from home a couple of days per week. You never know unless you ask!
Learn to say no: Don’t forget, the only person responsible for how you spend your time is you. Learn to notice when you feel worn out and overworked, and don’t feel bad about saying “no” to overtime and new projects. You don’t need the money as much as you need your health, your sanity and your family.
For those who agree that ‘We don’t live for work, we work to live’, put your hands up!