It’s no secret entrepreneurs love what they do but often struggle with achieving work-life balance- that idyllic goal of spending time with family and friends, on personally fulfilling activities, while also getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet and exercising to maintain a well-rounded life. The work-life balancing act is the bane of every entrepreneur’s existence. That’s why we’ve curated this how-to guide to effectively manage (and master) your work life for a more balanced home life. Are you living the dream or living a hectic nightmare?
Work Smarter Not Harder
Scheduling and Delegating
Before you even open your calendar, do you know your work pattern? Use this guide to find it. Once you have identified your productive peaks, which is when you accomplish tasks throughout the day, you can begin planning tasks accordingly. Use one scheduling tool, such as Google Calendar or Teamwork for projects, to schedule all of your work, home and social commitments. Then you can access your universal calendar anywhere, anytime. For instance, Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, states that technology is an enabler of balance. He doesn’t adhere to a rigid routine but instead, uses various scheduling tools to fit everything into his day. Meaning, ensure you prioritize time for work and play. Finally, when the day comes to an end, learn to relax and let go. Marianne O’Connor, CEO of Sterling Communications says, “I’ve learned that you have to take care of yourself first, or everything else gets out of whack.”
The primary reason entrepreneurs are overworked is because they don’t delegate tasks. They feel there are tasks which only they can handle and others cannot. Hire people who are competent, you can trust and believe in your vision. As well, consider hiring out all of your non-revenue-generating tasks such as administrative work, website maintenance and social media posts. You will feel less pressure to micromanage the day-to-day operations of the business so you can solely focus on big-picture issues such as business growth and management. After all, Tami Belt, Owner of Blue Cube Marketing Solutions says, “If it takes a village to raise a child, it only makes sense that it takes a community to raise a business.”
Lead Flexible Work Arrangements
In a 2013 Statistics Canada survey, 6.6 million Canadians said they feel “quite a bit” or “extremely” stressed throughout most work days. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to work yourself like a factory in order to be productive. Many studies, such as from Stanford University, show that flexible working arrangements, such as remote offices and telecommuting is the key to increased productivity. Flexible work arrangements improves self-engagement and motivation, overall health and well being and positively impact productivity. Research shows that those who incorporate a more flexible work schedule complete projects faster and have a better managed work-life balance than their counterparts.
Productivity is defined as “the strategic alignment of vision, focus, and technology.” Technology is an enabler of balance as it creates a more productive, efficient and innovative workspace. First, know your pain points- make an assessment of where your company’s greatest productivity struggles are. For example, dealing with obsolete technology or low bandwidth internet. Reachability is imperative for small business owners as a missed call could mean a missed business opportunity. Invest in a business phone system to keep you (and your employees) always connected while maintaining a consistent level of professionalism. Take advantage of features such as voicemail to email, find-me-follow-me, softphones and work caller ID. These features allow you to spend less time managing communications and more time running your business. Lastly, don’t try to be the jack of all trades. You should only be the master at running your business, so let the experts manage your business communications.
Why Not Start Today?
Most entrepreneurs say they actually want to spend more time with family and friends but can’t seem to break away from the day to day operations of the business. It takes discipline, creativity and a blend of strategies to find what works best for you. We’ve learned that the way to effectively manage the work-life balance is effective scheduling, prioritizing time for work and fun, developing a team who you can trust, creating flexible work arrangements, and utilizing efficient technology. Take some time to invest in your process and the scales will begin to level. However, the biggest takeaway is whatever you’re doing, “Be there 100%. If you’re at work, focus on work. If you’re at home, focus on home. If you’re doing three things at once, you’re doing them all badly.”