We all want that elusive work/life balance in our everyday lives, but achieving it for many small business owners is an impossible task. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
Here are some suggestions that have worked for me, my team, and many of our clients.
Recognise and capitalise on your Unique Skills & Abilities
Dan Sullivan of The Strategic Coach, recommends the use your unique strengths and abilities as a strategic filter for choosing which activities are worthy of your focus, effort and your time.
You should make a concerted effort to engage in things that will bring out your best and let other people deal with things they are uniquely good at. Using your innate natural abilities in this way will dramatically improve your output, reduce your frustration, and will leave you with more time to do other important things in your life.
Figure out the support you need
Once you have analysed and zeroed in on your unique strengths, run a review of all the daily business activities and determine which tasks are for you and the tasks you should delegate.
Doing this exercise will help you figure out the best team to leverage your input into the business and leave you free to spend more time on the things you love doing and are good at.
It’s also going to have a very positive effect on your work-life balance. You will be empowered to set aside more time for the things you love doing outside of work. Better and happier state of mind will bring new energy and creativity for truly nurturing and growing your business.
Be thrifty and smart with your time
Your time is your most precious asset and your priority should be to always remain mindful of that. Now that you know what you want to be spending your time on (and what you don’t), be strategic with how you prioritise your activities.
On any given day, you may have a long list of must-do items, but you know that you won’t be able to do them all. So what’s the answer? I like to use the Eisenhower Matrix.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States, invented a concept that has helped millions to prioritise. It is also known as the Eisenhower Matrix.
Start with dividing them into 2 lists: Urgent, and Important. You will find that only some of your tasks will be both Urgent and Important. Do them first.
Tasks that are Urgent, but not Important should be done next. Followed by those that are Important, but not Urgent.
Anything that is neither Urgent nor Important should only be done if you can spare the time.
A good tip is to take into account that most people have the highest levels of energy at the beginning of the day, which makes it ideal for tackling the most difficult or unpleasant tasks first. Don’t put them off for later!
The critical aspect to all this planning is that you must not neglect your personal time. This is the time you should set aside for your “me” time that includes taking care of your health, your general wellbeing and your family.
Treat yourself as an employee of your business
If you have employees, they all have set work hours. Make sure you do as well! Be ruthless with adhering to this rule. No excuses, no matter what, your work day starts and ends at the prescribed times.
Too many business owners are still at their desk at midnight, because they “don’t have a choice”. Rubbish. You always have a choice, and when it comes to your personal time, there can be no compromise.
Use technology to lighten the load
We are all very fortunate to be living in an age where a lot of menial, time consuming, or repetitive tasks can be done and faster with the use of technology.
This includes automation software, software for tracking time, apps for doing your business paperwork, apps for allowing colleagues and customers to automatically book appointments with you, apps for meeting with your clients “virtually”, rather than face-to-face.
These are just some examples and many industries have other applications that are specific to the business you are in.
Spend the time to research these, talk to other people in your industry and make use of the technology that is already available to you. Often, with no cost!
Take care of your finances
For the sake of your business, yourself and your family, get proper financial advice whatever stage your business is at.
If you are just starting out, professional advice regarding the best structure for your business will be critical to how your business functions, what happens to it down the track, and how you exit the business when the time is right.
If your business is already running, having systems in place that enable you to always have your finger on the financial pulse of the business, is essential for its health and future growth.
A good accountant will make sure that your cashflow is one of the metrics that is constantly tracked and you are alerted in advance whenever there’s impending trouble. Knowledge is power, and it’s very much the truth when it comes to the financial health of your business.
To wrap up, remind yourself and often, of the reasons you went into the business in the first place. Whatever the details, it was to improve the quality of your life. Make sure that lies at the core of everything you do as a business owner.