Do this, not that: How entrepreneurs can obtain more work life balance
Many entrepreneurs struggle with work-life balance, but there are many easy ways to add more “life” to the mix.
As an entrepreneur, you have plenty of work to do, so we’ll make this quick and attainable for you. Here are some suggestions for what you should - and shouldn’t - do to gain a better work-life balance.
Technology can be a useful tool, but it also can be a distraction. Manage your tech so it works for you, not the other way around.
Do make it a habit to set your phone aside and keep your laptop in your bag when you leave work for the day, at least for a while. You may not be able to do this every day, but get in the habit of creating a hard stop to separate work from your personal life.
Don’t be on 24/7. This can lead to burn out and negatively impact the quality of your work and management style. It also gives vendors and customers a false idea that they can reach you any time they need you. By setting restrictions on your “open” hours, the people you work with will learn to respect those boundaries and you will have an easier time balancing work and everyday life.
Hiring the right employees allows you to confidently leave the business in good hands so you can get away on vacation or attend to personal matters.
Do create a hiring process that attracts the right people. Make sure to talk up the benefits of working for your company so you can get top talent interested in your open positions.
Don’t skimp on the job description details. Go beyond the bare minimum when writing out the job description; list the exact skills and strengths you’re looking for in a candidate and hire someone with the experience and background that matches your needs.
Delegating can be a challenge when you’re used to doing everything yourself, but it’s important to find a balance between remaining hands-on and entrusting someone else to take on some of your responsibilities.
Do let your employees take the reins once you’ve hired your team. Let them do what they do best and take some things off your plate. If there’s a specific function you don’t like to do and that your employees can’t do, consider outsourcing the work. Examples include marketing or payroll duties.
Don’t micromanage your employees. You hired them for a reason, right? For example, if you run a retail business, let your assistant manager take the lead working the counter and handling orders over the phone.
Start with what you have to do and then move on to what you want to do. And be careful of what you think you should do.
Do make sure that what you’re working on is helping to achieve your goals and delivering the most value to your company. Focus on the objectives you’ve set for your business. Refer to the goals you set in your business plan to guide you in making sound decisions. Being efficient can free you up so you have more time to focus on business development.
Don’t make decisions based on what your competition is doing. If they have a larger variety of products or different lines of business, that doesn’t mean you need to keep up with them. Chart your own course.
Do block off time on your calendar – not just for meetings but for all work and personal activities. Be intentional and schedule time to exercise, attend your kids’ sporting events, read a book, go fishing…whatever is important to you.
Don’t overschedule yourself. Putting off a client meeting for a day isn’t likely going to tempt the client to go elsewhere. Remember that part of running a successful business is being present fully, and you can’t do that if you’re not taking care of yourself first and foremost.
Do schedule breaks into your workday, especially if there is a lull in the day where you don’t need to be in front of the computer. Do something unrelated to work. If you really can’t pull yourself away from a last-minute meeting, consider taking the call on your cell phone and take a walk outside while you’re talking.
Don’t deny yourself the same mandated breaks that your employees get. Not recognizing when you need time to take a breather and clear your mind can cause stress and anxiety.
Constant monitoring of texts and emails and answering calls can be distracting and time-killing. Keep on task by managing your messages.
Do dedicate specific times throughout the day – at the top of each hour, for example – to check your messages and emails. And allow your employees to manage incoming calls and emails if you’re working on something behind the scenes like bills or a promotional idea.
Don’t let inboxes get out of control. Figure out a way to categorize emails early on because it will help you and your staff stay organized and efficient.
Ready for more time to yourself? Following these steps can bring you the work-life balance you had in mind when you launched your business.