In a technology driven world, finding balance between anything in our lives is difficult as we are switched on 24/7. Everyone has a different definition of what work/life balance exactly means to them, but generally it is how we prioritise things in our relationship between what happens at work and our lives outside of work.
A balance insinuates equality, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be represented like this. It may mean getting up early once a week to do a boxing class or putting down the phone on the weekend to read a magazine. It’s more about how we integrate our work priorities with the priorities outside of it.
According to the OECD Better Life Index over 13% of Australians work more than 50 hours per week. This figure is even more pronounced for small business owners as work and personal time constantly overlap. This is turn leaves us with less time to do devote to leisure activities, families and friends. It is a known face that the more we spend on activities outside of work, the better we feel mentally and physically.
How to find it
So if it’s so good for you, and we know we need to do it, how can we start on the road to happy integration between work and personal commitments?
Set clear priorities – understand exactly what is on your plate and how you wish it to be different. This may mean switching off the phone at 7pm or making sure you can take your son to soccer practice once a week
Take time off – make sure you take your holidays, or at the least schedule a long weekend. It’s amazing how much more refreshed and productive you will be after a break.
Schedule leisure activities into your calendar – if you find that when it comes to the crunch you say “I’ll do it next week” or let your work takeover other priorities, hard code it into your life by putting it in your calendar. That way both you and colleagues know that it can’t be overwritten
Flexible schedules or working arrangements – challenge the traditional 9 to 5 thinking by working different hours. This might include setting aside a few hours one evening as a trade off to picking children up from school, or another activity that will bring you joy.
Get someone else to do it – Sometimes you have to admit that you need help. Consider engaging a service partner for your business such as an administrative service provider, book keeper or business consultant. Or consider employing a cleaner for home. Then you will have more time on your hands to juggle your priorities.
Impact on small business owners
If you’re a sole trader or small business entrepreneur taking time off or implementing flexible working arrangements may seem like an impossible task. Small business owners are stretched as it is. They need to be across so many different facets of business such as technology, book keeping, marketing, social media, invoicing or writing. On top of all of that there is being an expert in the part of the business that is the reason you’re in business!
Have a go at implementing just one of the suggestions above and see if it pays off. It’s your life. Make the most of it!