How do successful entrepreneurs strike a balance between work and their private lives? It is a delicate one for sure. This article gives some insight and advice on how to help attain that balance, and some peace of mind.
Being a business owner, I know the question is rhetorical. It seems impossible to turn your computer off at 5 o’clock and not answer emails first thing in the morning or after dinner. In a very competitive world, entrepreneurs use almost every waking hour trying to gain an advantage over the competition. But, is all the extra time and work necessary? Is it possible to train our clients and ourselves to having better balance in our lives? Can we be more productive by working fewer hours?
I believe the answer is yes. I’m not confident enough to espouse a “4-hour work week” like Daniel Ferris, but I do think business owners can take three critical steps to enjoying better balance between life and work.
1) Prioritize Your Work – Not everything you do in the office is critical or urgent; it just seems that way. At the end of your work day, take 10-20 minutes to prioritize the work that needs to be done the next day. Avoid listing 100 different items on a list because it’s unrealistic that you will get to them. If you can, delegate the lower-priority work to people on your team or staff, and focus on the 7-10 important projects or matters. The next day, use your list as if it’s a GPS system taking you to a specific destination. If you start to get distracted or taken off-course, rebound quickly and regain focus on your list.
2) Avoid “Time Robbers” – This is a critical step to recapturing work-life balance. How many people come by your office, call you on the phone or text you about something that is not on your priority To Do list? The answer is probably “too many!” You have to take control of your time during the day. If someone stops by or calls you out of the blue during prime business hours (usually 8 or 9am – 5pm), tell them you will have more time to chat at the end of the day, but you need to get some work done. For some calls, you can talk during the commute to work or on the way home. Take notes on how many people try to interrupt you during the day. By the time you are finished talking and getting back to work chances are you have lost 30-45 minutes of your day.
3) Set Personal Meetings – As you set up meetings with your staff, customers, partners and vendors, you should also set up personal meetings. During the day, your personal meetings might include breaks to go for a walk, exercise or do personal errands. The more planning you do with your time, the better chance you have for successfully balancing it.
4) Set and Forget Recurring Payments – One of the best ways to simplify your life is to automate as many processes as possible. Set aside an afternoon or day to set up recurring payments for all the things that are necessary for your business to run, especially your commercial insurance. Investing a few hours to do this will ultimately save you time in the long run and help you avoid missing payments.
Life is too short for you to be off-balance with your time management. Follow the three steps listed above and start taking control of the one currency that truly matters—your time.