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Navigating Work-Life Balance as a Small Business Owner

27 Jul

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Chances are, you’ve taken steps to improve your employees’ work-life balance. Perhaps you offer flexible hours or a hybrid work environment. Perhaps you insist that your employees leave work on time. But what about your own work-life balance as a busy small business owner?  What have you done about that? 

The fact is, most small business owners’ work-life balance isn’t balanced at all, because so much rides on their shoulders. But all that work and stress can take a toll—on their health, family, and even their business.

That’s why it’s time to consider your own work-life balance—and to cultivate new, healthy work habits.

The Dangers of All Work and No Play

Owning a small business is both liberating and burdensome. The success of the business depends on you. So do your customers and employees.

According to a recent survey, most small business owners work at least 50 hours per week, compared to the average 34.4 hour workweek of their employees. One-quarter put in more than 60 hours per week, and 70% work weekends.

Not surprisingly, more than half of small business owners also report feeling stressed and all that comes with it: insomnia, irritability, health issues, burnout, and strained relationships.

Which begs the question: no matter how much you love your business, is it worth risking your health, happiness, and family?

Furthermore, studies show that when we’re chronically stressed, we can’t think as clearly or creatively. We can’t focus, let alone problem-solve objectively. So, poor work-life balance makes it harder to lead your business effectively.

For all these excellent reasons, it’s time to set some boundaries.

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5 Work-life Balance Tips for Small Business Owners

Here’s five proven ways for achieving better work-life balance.

1. Practice Prioritization

Chances are, you spend a good chunk of your workweek on issues that were never on your to-do list—such as putting out fires and soothing irate customers. Some days, you never get to your own list at all.

Rather than operate in reactive mode, ask yourself if whatever it is you’re doing is the best use of your time at that moment. If it’s not, reschedule it, hand it off, or (gasp!) just say no—an invaluable skill for small business owners. Practicing good time management will help you focus on tasks that truly need your attention.  

2. Set Solid Work-Life Boundaries

It’s easier said than done, but work on creating firmer boundaries between your business and personal life. Assign yourself specific work hours and stick to them. Don’t miss your kids’ games or cancel your dinner plans because “something came up.” Unless the sky is falling, respect your boundaries.

You might even set a “no emails after hours” rule. Your employees will appreciate it, and your family will, too.

3. Schedule Regular Downtime

That precious, much-needed time-off isn’t going to schedule itself. Get in the habit of scheduling quality time with family and friends, as well as self-care for yourself.

Speaking of which, when was the last time you took a real vacation or spent an entire day doing something you love? If you can’t remember, you’re overdue!

4. Leverage Time-saving Technology

Perhaps you’ve delayed updating your business technology because of the learning curve involved. Unfortunately, that means you’re only falling further behind.

If there’s technology available that will streamline your work processes, automate manual tasks, and help you manage your business better, start taking advantage of it.

5. Learn to Delegate

One of the toughest challenges for some small business owners is entrusting the business to others. But if you don’t, your business will never grow beyond a certain point—and neither will your employees.

Give your people the training they need to take on greater responsibilities, and then delegate away. Not only will your employees feel more engaged, it will free you to focus on activities that only you can perform.

Speaking of which, if you’re spending too much time on HR and payroll, consider delegating those tasks to VensureHR. We can take all that off your plate, freeing you to focus on growing your business—while enhancing your work-life balance, too. Learn how it works.   

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