Don't Burn Yourself Out - Maintain a Work/Life Balance


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As a new business owner, you will undoubtedly want to put all your energy into ensuring that the launch of your business is as smooth as possible. From getting the brand out there to nailing the processes by which you offer success to your clients, there is a lot to do. But there’s a hurdle there that many new business owners trip over. If you fail to maintain your work-life balance, you can get into dangerous working habits, end up burning out, and lose the passion that got you started in the first place. Here, we’re going to look at how you maintain that essential balance while still driving your new business to success.

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Set your boundaries

 

This is rule number one. Put aside the idea that you’re going to be able to work any time of the day, all day, no matter where you are. Give yourself set working hours and have some rules about where you will and won’t engage with work. Letting work into your home life can make the home a much less effective environment at helping you get the break you need as you will start to associate it with the business as much as you do the office. What’s more, by the time you get to work proper again, you will already feel like you’ve been hard at it, affecting your productivity when it matters.

Make up for lost time

A little give and take is allowable, but you have to make sure there is give for every take. Sometimes, you do need an extra hour of work. You should try to not make too much of habit of it, as too much overtime has been proven to make you a lot more unproductive. However, if you need to work an extra hour, make sure you find an hour that you can take off in response. You might not be able to balance the books 100% of the time, but you should try to maintain it as best as possible.

 

Prioritize your work

 

If you can’t find the ability to consistently fit what working goals you need into your day, there’s a good chance your working goals are wrong. Some business owners make the mistake of focusing their energy evenly on all tasks on their workload. Start the day by prioritizing your plans. For instance, working with your web developer to get your site launched is clearly more important and urgent than cleaning up your email inbox. Use this to figure out what tasks you need to do today, and what tasks can be left for another time. Not every task is going to be worth your time.

Plan the day (including breaks)

When you have a list of tasks you definitely plan on doing today, put them on a schedule. Figure out a realistic timescale by which to complete certain processes in and order them. If it’s a long-term task you need to chip away at, then decide how much time you dedicate to it and when you do it in the day. Try to work out when you’re most productive and schedule accordingly. For instance, most people feel a drop off in productivity shortly after lunch, so diving into a highly demanding task just then won’t work. Make that your time to organize your emails or carry out something a little lighter. Most importantly, give yourself real break times throughout the day. Schedule them in advance and treat them as important as you treat the next work item on the plan.

 

Use your team

When you’re launching a business, you might not have the largest team, but you should still make use of them when it makes sense. How much of your work really requires your attention? How much of it could be done by another team member? If their own schedule isn’t already full, learning how to delegate effectively can be one of the most important skills you learn. Just make sure you’re not delegating anything that is your responsibility, directly, or that needs your specific skills. Reward and appreciate those who take on delegated tasks, too. Don’t treat it like it’s expected of them. They are going outside their regular duties to help you and deserve the kudos.

 

All about outsourcing

Of course, a small team during a business launch period is likely to have a lot on their hands, already. When that’s the case, you can look outside the business, too. Your non-core tasks, such as answering phones, scheduling appointments, even social media management and bookkeeping, can all be outsourced. From virtual assistants to part-time accountants, making use of outsourced services can be a lot more cost-effective than hiring new bodies to pick up the slack. Just make sure you entrust non-core activities to them and nothing else. They are great for helping you make your workload manageable and allowing you to focus on the work that really makes you money, but you shouldn’t expect them to run your business for you.

A really easy way to outsource some of your admin tasks is to make use of our virtual reception receptionists. Our receptionists can answer your incoming calls, greet your callers in your business name and take a message from those callers. That message can then be forwarded to you via email or SMS. In addition, if you require our receptionists to do more when they answer those incoming calls there are a whole range of potential tasks that they can carry out from surveying your callers to filling out online forms. It really does make a lot of good business sense.

Social and family commitments are as important as work obligations

If you set up a work meeting and you are any kind of professional, you will do whatever it takes to ensure you take that meeting. To do otherwise would be unprofessional, highly damaging to your brand and, above all else, incredibly rude. You need to put that same commitment into brand preservation into your personal life, too. Your family and friends are going to be crucial parts of the support structure that helps you deal with work when it’s at its most stressful. Making plans with them and keeping them is an essential maintenance of that structure.

Dedicate time to your health

Go to bed a little earlier in the night so you can be fully rested. Make time in the morning to prepare a nutritious breakfast and lunch. Find room for some exercise before or after work. Your health is going to impact your sense of balance greatly. Not only will it keep you fitter for longer, but it has major impacts on how you work. It helps you maintain the energy levels that allow you to stay productive and pushes back against all the health risks that even an office role can entail, like back pain and migraines. Launching a business can be demanding and you should be in good shape so that you’re able to take the strain, physically and mentally.

Say no when it matters

You may be inclined to take on whatever work you can and as many clients as possible when launching the business. You might spot the opportunity to quickly scale a little in order to eke out more profit. If you’re already having trouble with your work-life balance, it’s best to say no. Provided that your business is viable, there will always be more opportunity out there. Focus on dealing better with the work at hand. As processes improve and profit grows, you will be able to grow naturally alongside it and welcome new clients and markets. Similarly, learn to disconnect when you’re outside of work so that you’re not constantly open to being contacted or tempted to check in on certain things. Separating the work phone and your personal phone can be greatly beneficial, for instance.

Without the right work-life balance, you may end up endangering a lot more than your mood. It can take a heavy toll on your health and even risk the business if you don’t know how to fulfil yourself inside and outside of it. Take stock of the tips above and ask yourself which of them could use a little more of your attention.

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