Are you struggling with your work-life balance? It seems to be a fact of working life in recent years that we are on call 24/7. People fear for their jobs in uncertain economic times feeling they should be available outside of their usual working hours. Smartphones, emails and social media give us the ability to ‘check-in’ to work accounts from anywhere there is an internet connection. So we try to get ahead of ourselves before the start of the next day’s work.
Although this can seem as if it is ‘helping’ us, it is counter-productive as we never really switch off. This is detrimental to our physical and mental health and leads to burnout.
We need to have time just to ‘be’, to relax and recharge, socialise with friends and family, exercise and have fun!
But this is even more important when you are starting up your online business and are using your free time to immerse yourself in learning what you need to know and applying that knowledge. You can’t do this with constant interruptions!
Four Super Tips To Improve Your Work-life Balance:
Unplug From Your Tech
To make sure you relax and switch off from work when you arrive home AVOID checking any of your work-related accounts. That’s all emails, messages and social media accounts (if applicable). I know that’s easier said than done but you really do need to cultivate a good work-life balance.
Constant checking of work accounts has become a habit for many and most wish they had never started. It’s easy to look eager when you start a new job but it’s a difficult habit to drop once started. Be honest here. I’d like to bet that nothing is that urgent that it can’t wait until tomorrow! Let your colleagues (and even your boss) know that you are not available and you won’t be replying to emails or texts out of hours. Make it clear that you certainly WON’T be answering telephone calls either. I had a boss once who fired off emails at 10.00 and 11.00 at night to staff. That really isn’t acceptable.
Time Management and Smarter Working
It’s no surprise to me that people feel they work more than their allotted hours per week. I’ve seen huge workloads and people going under when I worked in the education sector and indeed I was one of them. It’s also all over the news here in the UK about workloads in the National Health Service too. I don’t for one minute think that these are the only two sectors under pressure with non-existent work-life balance for staff.
Many people work longer than their contracted hours, week after week with this becoming expected. But, before you psych yourself up to ask your boss for a pay rise or for a reduction in your workload, take a careful look at how you are spending your time.
It’s a good idea to track your tasks for a few days and see if there are any obstacles or sticking points in your day. If you can understand what’s causing you to stay late each night and come in early each morning you can start to address these issues. Don’t forget you want to allocate this time for working on your fledgeling online business.
It may be down to a training or skill issue. If so ask for help and support. In addition, look at the ways you can change or eliminate distractions, procrastination and other time-wasting spots throughout your day. Hands up everyone who checks their social media during their working day?
Take Your Holidays!
To get your work-life balance in line you must make sure that you use all of your holiday entitlement. Working nonstop without some personal time won’t do your physical and mental health any favours. Family time or even time on your own is essential to recharge your batteries. If you are so work-orientated that you find taking two weeks off in one go leaves you feeling anxious then take shorter breaks. This will help if you are worried about coming back to a huge pile of work. Make sure you definitely take any time off that you are owed!
When starting your new online business, be grateful for weekends and short holidays to give you some uninterrupted ‘business’ time. You probably won’t see this as ‘work’ and more like one of your hobbies anyway.
You Don’t Have To Do It All Yourself
Delegate where you can. Don’t be precious over your work and tasks. Many of us grew up hearing, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.” Unfortunately, this has meant that we have started to believe that no one can do it as well as we can. We become afraid that it is going to end up a mess and then we will have less time to sort it out than we otherwise would have done.
When you are working your own business you will have to outsource at some point because as you grow you won’t be able to do every single task. Key to success here is to be absolutely clear what the task, project or job you want doing needs to be. Talk to people, explain well and always encourage them to ask questions. Don’t go blundering on thinking they know what you want – they don’t unless you say. The time spent on this and on training people at work is time well spent. Once they understand your requirements, you’ll be able to hand off more work and cut yourself some slack. Your work-life balance is really important so never ignore any issues.
It is so important that you deal with these issues or your dream of running an online business may never get off the ground. You don’t want to be looking back in your older age full of “what-if’s” and “if only’s”
You owe it to yourself to give your dreams a chance to become a reality. However, sometimes you will have some hard and difficult choices to make to achieve them.