Do you find yourself consumed with running your business, getting new customers, mastering your marketing and struggling to find time to be with your family, exercise or cook a healthy meal?
The constant feeling of barely keeping your head above water will start to wear on you. I felt this way when I started my business (and some days I still do). Knowing I couldn't sustain that way of living, it motivated me to look into ways that other people approach work-life balance. Here are some tactics that I've implemented over the last eight years that have helped.
Set Your Business Hours
Yes, you kind of know when your officially open and/or when you see clients, but REALLY decide what will your business hours be to maintain a balanced life. For me, it's 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday. Make sure everyone knows about them so that you don't feel obligated to work or be open, outside that time. Post them on your shop, your website, your social media pages, your email signature and say it on your voicemail. (Let family and friends know too so that you aren't getting calls from them during your work time!)
Control The Phone
Many people are using their personal cell number for their business and/or give their mobile number to their customers or vendors. To ensure that you aren't taking calls from customers or vendors during the hours you aren't working, try setting up the automatic "Do Not Disturb" (iPhone) feature on your phone so that if a call comes in when you're not working, that call will go to voicemail where customers will hear your business hours. (You can set specific friends and family as "favorites" so that their calls override the "Do Not Disturb" feature.)
Accept Your Capacity
Now that you know what hours you'll be open and at work, start saying NO to anything that's going to push you past that capacity. Will there be exceptions? Of course! This is a guide so that things don't get out of control. You need to set some limitations on what you can achieve in a work day so that it doesn't keep spilling into your personal life and set you up for burnout all over again.
Take the time before your work day to do whatever it is you need to do to stay balanced—exercise, walk your dog, meditate, breakfast with your kids, reading the newspaper—whatever time you need, take it. Make this non-negotiable. (I block mine out on my calendar. This means no other meetings, no work during that time, no emails, etc.) This is your time to set yourself up for a productive day.
Work When You are Working and Don't When You're Not.
Simple idea, right? It's really difficult to implement, but when you can think about it that way, it really defines those boundaries. Working around the clock and being "connected" on our phones, social media, etc. 24/7 makes you less productive during work hours. It's really all about being present and focused on what you are supposed to be doing at that time. Same goes true for your personal life spilling into work time. If you don't set up these boundaries for yourself, who will?
You will never change your life until you change something you do daily
Not too long ago, I read the statement above. It's something I wrote down and refer back to often. By taking back control of your time by implementing some of these steps into your daily life, you will start to feel a shift in balance and more content in both your work and personal life.
Have more ideas about work-life balance?
Share them in the comments below. And if you have been struggling with balancing your marketing on the business side of things and need a little help, let's chat!
Here's a great video by Marie Forleo that might help. Her website has loads of videos and articles about this subject. She can be a little silly, but she gets her point across.