“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”
– Dolly Parton
If you are a small business owner who feels like you’re burning the candle at both ends, you need to learn how to balance your business with your happiness. We all want to be successful with our decision to start our own small business, while at the same time being recognized as a supportive spouse and loving parent. Terms like “having it all”, describe the 80’s myth that anyone can have the ability to work endless hours at their business, while never missing a recital, soccer practice or school play. Society as a whole, (and women in particular), discovered that it is functionally impossible to effectively balance business and happiness without recognizing the inherent dichotomy they present.
If done properly, we can all enjoy our work and our private lives. In order to remain successful, healthy and happy, we simply need to learn how to handle that intrinsically tricky balance between life and work. Here are six ways to lessen the conflict between what makes you happy and what pays the bills:
1. Learn how to effectively manage time or it will manage you. Utilize a daily to-do list that is comprised of objectives that are not only imperative, but also realistic to complete. Experts recommend that you keep your lists limited to no more that 3 or 4 daily tasks. Some other big time savers – eliminate meetings from your life; the vast majority of which have been proven to be a complete waste of time. Also, keep an orderly desk. Get rid of the clutter by filing, completing or trashing – it will be much easier to remain focused on what needs to be done.
2. Set your office hours and stick to them. It takes discipline, but once you establish your business hours and let them be known, your schedule will mandate the separation between work and life. You should also apply the same scheduling technique with your daily routine. Waking and retiring at the same time daily will keep your mind and body in sync.
3. Depend on others by learning to delegate. Regardless of the size of your business, you can always involve others to help lighten your load. Ask your associates, support staff and suppliers to do additional items that will allow you to spend more time working on the bottom line. Start by making your to-do list and then determine how many of the items you can hand-off to others. It will free you for more important things, while building trust and improved communication with your cohorts.
4. Learn to be more patient. This is one trait that will serve you well in both your business and personal life. Discovering how to “not sweat the small stuff” is a valuable attribute that will eliminate a lot of anxiety while helping to sustain your mental and physical health. We all know that stress is bad for you, but few of us really learn how to be less demanding and more relaxed. Through becoming more patient, you’ll quickly discover how much easier it can be to run your own business.
5. Understand the value of disengagement. Once you’ve left the office, leave the office. Turn off your email, text messaging and all of the other devices that keep you chained to your corporate life. Sleep experts stress the importance of shutting down all your screens at least one hour before you plan on sleeping. Studies have shown how disruptive electronics are to your body’s ability to produce melatonin, the hormone that controls your circadian rhythm. A good preemptive plan is to make your bedroom a technology-free zone.
6. Become more selfish by devoting more time to you. Take the time to exercise, breathe and meditate. You need to make the time in your busy schedule to work your muscles, brain and soul. Dedicating 30 minutes a day to walk or to meditate will not only keep the doctor away, but can make your outlook on life much healthier and more meaningful. Another great thing to do just for you is to cut the commute. Moving closer to work, working more from home or finding a new job in your neighborhood is well worth the hassles and stress a daily one-hour commute creates.