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5 ways to keep work/life balance

Work-life balance is not all about productivity. Here are five tips for striking a healthy balance and without sacrificing downtime.

3 min. read

Running a small business requires a lot of your time. In fact, studies suggest that 40% of small business owners dedicate more than 50 hours per week to their businesses.

In contrast, only 6% of employees give up that much of their time to work.

As a small business owner, this time crunch can come at the expense of time at home relaxing with your family and working together to keep up with the day-to-day activities of home life. So, it's critical that you find some balance that gives your business the attention it needs without sacrificing your essential downtime.

Working more doesn't necessarily mean getting more done. In fact, just the opposite might be true. Balancing your time more equally between work and home can lead to improved productivity. Here are five tips to help you find a work/life balance that works for you.

1. Get to know your internal clock

Do you work better early in the morning, or are you a night owl? For example, if you’re a morning person, consider starting work early, perhaps to answer overnight email or prepare for an upcoming marketing campaign, so that you can be home in time to fix dinner with the family. Plan your most stressful work for the time when you're at your best. You'll be more efficient, and you'll finish tasks faster. And while you're scheduling your workday, remember to build in time for your home life.

“A gradual release of responsibilities to key employees is just good business practice, and it can improve your work/life balance.”

2. Prioritize

Carefully examine all the demands on your time. Then take an honest and hard look at everything you do and decide what you must deal with and what can wait. Include downtime as one of your priorities. It's like recharging your batteries. You'll come back refreshed and energized!

3. Set boundaries

If you're running your own business, you may be already doing what you love. The temptation to do it 24/7 can be very real, particularly because you're convinced the business needs you to succeed. But once you've prioritized your time, insist that others do the same. You'll have to be a little flexible, but set boundaries for your customers, employees and suppliers. Don't get in the habit of always being available to everyone in your work world. Focus on other areas of your life and remember that most work issues can wait.

4. Unplug

Technology has made it easier for us to do business anywhere, anytime, but it can also be a problem. Take a page from the growing number of companies that are mandating that their employees stay unplugged during their off time. The biggest threat to a balanced life is not giving your full attention to anything. So, enjoy the beach, the slopes, a family dinner or your child's soccer game. It's okay to check your phone or tablet occasionally if you still want to stay on top of things. But don't feel the need to check devices constantly. You can also let your employees or critical contacts know to call you if something is urgent and needs your immediate attention.

5. Delegate

Most entrepreneurs know that they can run their business better than anyone else. Delegate where you can at work and at home. A gradual release of responsibilities to key employees is good business practice and can improve your work/life balance. Someone needs to know what to do for those inevitable times that you're truly unavailable. If you don't have employees, consider contracting out certain jobs, such as bookkeeping, or working with software tools such as FreshBooks to help you manage these jobs more efficiently. At home, save time by hiring someone to do odd jobs or house cleaning or by using grocery delivery and meal planning services.

Balancing your work and home lives doesn't have to be a struggle. Applying a few new habits can set you up for better time management, more productivity and a relaxed outlook.

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