You would think that working for yourself gives you more work-life balance. In reality, you can get dragged into spending too much time working and neglecting other parts of your life. Most of the time, the victims here are your social life and your family.
However, working for yourself is wonderful! You earn your own money, you support yourself, and you gain independence.
Sounds appealing, right?
But, the real challenge here isn’t working, but taking time off to do the things you enjoy!
It’s tough to make time for yourself when you have deadlines, projects to complete, and a list of things to do. Take this, as long as your arm, clients, or customers are hounding you for work, you won’t stop. You need to know the importance of stopping! It matters, because if you don’t do it, you’ll burn out and nothing will get done.
This is perhaps the hardest trait to cultivate. In the beginning of any business venture, you work long hours. The family, particularly if you have children, can feel a bit neglected if mom or dad’s time is busy with business even on the weekend.
The following tips are what I followed to achieve a work-life balance
Work-Life Balance Tips
1. Talk to the family
Before beginning a business venture, it is important to talk to your family. Some business owners give up their jobs or decide to work fewer hours in pursuit of their new business. This affects the family finances. A successful entrepreneur makes sure that their family is on board with their new pursuit.
The support of your family is crucial. As you weather the ups and downs of business life, you’ll need the emotional support and stability your family can provide to you. They can keep you accountable when you are going overboard with work.
2. Create a Schedule
Along with your family, devise a schedule for managing business and family life. Be determined that you will work as hard as you can during business hours and play as hard as you can during family time. If you need to, enlist the help of staff and others to handle things for you when you are away with your family.
The way you prevent a forced permanent vacation is to create work-life boundaries. First of all, decide on a specific work schedule for each day. One of the nice things about working for yourself is that there isn’t any schedule, but you may find that it helps to have one. Decide when you will start and when you will stop each day.
For example, I start the day off with an hour of exercise, coffee, a light breakfast, and some harmless distraction. After the hour, it’s time for work. Work ends at a fixed time, no matter how much there is to do.
When you’re off work, resist the urge to check your business email or do anything at all business-related.
Another way to achieve this work-life balance is to schedule leisure activities just as you do work activities. For example, decide that 7-8pm is family time. Devote that time to playing with the kids, reading books together, and other bonding activities. Do it just as if you were working on a project
3. Create a to-do list
We usually think of creating to-do lists for work, but they can be useful in any area of your life. A good to-do list helps you organize and decide which tasks are most important. It also helps you remember things you wanted to do, but were too busy to work on immediately.
You can create to do lists on everything such as housework, self-improvement, career, your personal life and creativity.
Housework. Second to your job, housework is the area of life where to-do lists are most commonly made. When you notice something that needs to be cleaned or fixed, you can jot it down on your to-do list at the appropriate priority level. The next time you’re working around the house, you can refer to your list to decide what needs to be done next.
Self-Improvement. To-do lists are a great help when you want to make positive changes in your life. Most of us have things we want to change, but everyone knows you can’t tackle everything at once. If you can prioritize these self-improvement goals, you can handle them one by one.
Career. In addition to work tasks, your overall goals for your career are good to prioritize. Every career has milestones you want to reach or things you want to achieve.
Your Personal Life. Your personal life can even be broken down into a to-do list. You may be too busy to meet with friends regularly. You might have to make socializing a priority. Dating and meeting the right person is something you can organize for better results as well.
Creativity. If you do something creatively like write stories or play music that’s not related directly to your livelihood, you may have goals, tasks and things you want to accomplish in this area of your life.
To-do lists are for more than just getting work done. Use the same techniques for every area of your life and you’ll find yourself getting more done.
I decided that multitasking wasn’t good. After I found out on my own, I found research results from Psychologists Robert Rogers and Stephen Monsell. Results mention that multi-tasking reduces your productivity by 40%. This is a high percentage when you have so many things to get done.
I found this the hard way though through a study conducted on myself. I run a test of a week multitasking and the next week focusing on specific tasks to completion. Each week, I allocated 5 rather long tasks to complete.
My results were that in the the first week of all 5 tasks that I completed only 60% of each. On the other hand, the focus week I did one task a day to completion.
My results… Multitasking is a waste of time! Focus is the winner!
So, focus on one thing at a time. If you are with your family, focus on them. If you are working, focus on work. Do one task at a time.
My conclusion: combine all these 4 tips to achieve the work-life balance you seek. It worked for me and more likely it will work for you. First, talk to your family, create a schedule around it, have a to-do list and focus.
Remember, if you work too much and neglect other areas of your life, you may drive yourself crazy.