Any professional has to find a balance between work and home life. As a small business owner, especially one that works from home, the work-life balance gets tricky. Your hours aren't usually standard and your work often infiltrates your home life. Whether it's answering emails on the go, sitting at your kitchen table while your little ones play around you, or finding little niches in your day to get things done here and there, it can of be difficult to close the computer or put down the phone.
Many of us who have chosen our own path for our careers strive to find the perfect balance between work and life. Usually that is a big part of why you start your own business- to take control of your life and manage your time the way you'd like to manage it. But is there every really a complete balance? A 50-50 split between work and life that satisfies both your career and your time with your family?
Unfortunately, no. There will always be an ebb and flow of responsibilities for each side of your life. Some days, weeks, or months, you may find business has slowed down due to the changing seasons or fiscal year. During those times you may pour yourself into life with your family and soak up the time with them. Other times, business may be booming and you might find yourself using television as a babysitter a little more often than normal.
The scales will always be a little uneven. But there are a few ways you can make them meet a little more in the middle:
Schedule your days by the hour- When you own your own business, and especially if you work from home, it's easy to let time slip away from you. By scheduling your day by the hour- and sticking to it- you can schedule breaks in between your day so you can do things like workout, play with your kids, or take care of home chores. If you work out of your home, schedule your end of day and close up your work at the appointed time.
Schedule family time-As a business owner it is easy to let evenings fall into the hands of work. You answer an email here and there or finish up a project "real quick." Try to block out your evenings with your family to focus on them. Put away your phone, close your laptop, and take 2 to 3 hours to have dinner, talk, and relax.
Hire a virtual assistant- Hiring a virtual assistant can help take those menial tasks- the ones you find yourself doing at the wee hours of the morning or night, or in between the open parts of your day, can help you better tip the scales towards family versus work.
Take Breaks- It's important for your mental health to take breaks throughout the day. Many small business owners feel like if they aren't on all day that they will miss something important or even life-changing. But the beauty of emails is that they don't go anywhere in 30 minutes. As mentioned above, schedule your day by the hour and include time to take a walk, workout, or actually eat a real lunch instead of working through your entire day.
Don't work weekends- Unless this is an integral part of your career (like a wedding photographer), don't work weekends. Allow yourself one to two days each week to actually take a break from work. It will help your mental health and, in turn, your business to close it up for 24 to 48 hours. Most companies and clients are fully aware that
Day to day, week to week, month to month- challenges will arise in both your work and your home life but as a small business owner it is up to you to figure out how you balance those waves of change. Nothing is ever stagnant. Things change over time. Your kids get older and more self-sufficient. Your business grows. You find a routine that works for you and then all of a sudden a new client or a new project comes in and shakes things up.
Always trying to find that perfect 50-50 split between home life and your career can drive a person mad. There is never a 100% even rift down the middle. Knowing that this is the case can help you prepare yourself for when you have to focus more on your family rather than your business or vice versa.
Life is about balance. But sometimes the scales are tipped more in one direction than the other.