This guest post comes to us via Jess Brown, a virtual assistant and health coach who helps other entrepreneurs and self-employed types find time for balance and health in their busy lives. You can get her free book ‘The Virtual Assistant’s Guide to Creating the Perfect Work-Life Balance’ here or follow along on Facebook.
Are you tired of feeling like your business is creeping into all parts of your life? You started your business so you could live your life your way. But instead of having that work life balance you crave every waking minute is filled with email, client issues, and creating your next product. It doesn’t have to be that way…
Here are 12 tips to give your well-being and your business a boost:
I will be the first to admit that yoga pants and pajamas are super comfy and my outfit of choice. But there is something about putting on real clothes with buttons, zippers and all that puts your brain in the right mindset to really get stuff done. Get dressed every day. It will make a huge difference when you actually feel like you’re in a real work environment.
2. Schedule family time first
Grab a blank calendar and mark it up with your family activities and obligations. When you start to schedule this way, your life won’t revolve around your business. As you’re filling out your calendar, be honest with yourself about how long each task actually takes. If you need to leave the house, for example, don’t forget to factor in drive time to get to your destination.
This is where you’ll have to give yourself a break. So what if your apartment isn’t immaculate and that blog post you wrote last week isn’t the “best” it could be. If you’re someone who can’t stop thinking about these things, you could try a yoga class or go for a brisk walk or run.
4. Announce your “working hours”
Balancing business time with family time isn’t easy. Giving your full attention to both sides of the spectrum can be difficult if you have tons of distractions that pop up throughout the day. If you have blocks of time to work on your business and your family knows this, you’ll not only be more focused and productive, but you’ll feel a lot less stress because your family will come to know and expect that you’ll be working during certain hours. That means when it’s family time, you won’t have to worry about business. All business matters are dealt with during your regular “working hours.”
5. Learn to unplug from your business
When you’re the one in charge, it’s next to impossible to completely unplug, but there are ways to get some balance during your off-time. One idea to help is if you have people helping email address for important “after-hours” matters that need your immediate attention. Your people will know how to get a hold of you and you don’t have to check your regular email and social media constantly.
6. Expect the unexpected
Let’s face it, stuff happens. When you’re scheduling your day, it’s smart to book an hour to “unexpected” things that come up. This block of time is to take care of unexpected interruptions or events that happen. If nothing unexpected happens that day, great! You just gained an hour you can do whatever you want with.
8. Break it down
Make the most of your time and get more done by breaking your tasks into smaller chunks. Not having a plan for your work session usually results in wasted time and little progress. Get focused. Use 15 minutes to return client emails, 20 for social media engagement and 40 to write a draft for your next blog post, etc.9. Harness the power of no
If you’re available to your clients 24/7, it’s a clear sign you have a hard time saying, “no.” If you let that continue, over time it leads to bad things. Not only are you going to burn out, but you very well could start resenting your clients and your work. If you tend to say “yes” without thinking, don’t answer immediately. Get back to the person later and then you can decide if it’s a task you want to do or not. If you end up saying “no”, don’t justify or make excuses.
10. Take care of you
When you’re creating your schedule, don’t forget to pencil in free time for yourself. Book an appointment once a week to take a long bath and a glass of wine. Block out time to go to the gym. Schedule a date night with your partner. Don’t forget to give yourself enough time to get a good night’s sleep every day. Skimping on sleep is bad for your health, but also adversely affects the quality of your work and productivity.
Tell your friends, family, colleagues and clients you’re trying to balance work and life. Tell them about your plan and ask them to respect it.
12. Take baby steps and work up
Changing things in your life that have become habits is no easy feat. If your goal is to have dinner with your family every night, start with one dinner per week. Don’t try to change too much too soon. Just like any new routine, it’s going to take the time to adjust and build new habits.
So how do you find balance in your business? Do you have something different than what I’ve listed? Tell us in the comments!
P.S. How to juggle a day job + a blog + a freelance career + a life
Setting a schedule and work hours has been huge for me the last few weeks! It’s so much easier to focus when I know I have a couple hours left to work. And it’s so nice to be able to “turn off” work mode after those hours are up.