As a business owner, it can often feel like you are in a constant struggle between feeling like your personal life is interfering with your work and feeling like your work is taking over your personal life. When the balance between your work life and personal life is out of sync, frustration, resentment, and burnout abound.
To avoid these issues and keep the best of both worlds in check, use these tips for maintaining a healthy work life balance as a business owner.
Create a designated office space in your home
Each space in your home has a purpose. And each space is specially designed to allow you to function efficiently in that space. You wouldn’t try to cook meals in your bedroom. You wouldn’t do laundry in your living room. So why would you try and do important work in a space that wasn’t designed for it?
A spare room could easily be converted to a designated office. However, this isn’t the only option for creating your space. Even a partial room can be your designated work space if it’s utilized correctly. In your space, be sure to have plenty of storage for office supplies, files, and other tools or stock needed for your daily operations. Hang visual elements on the walls that help you get into “work mode” and can be used for easy reference if needed. This might include a whiteboard, project timelines, blueprints, calendars, inspirational photos, or other industry-specific materials. If you don’t have a door to close off your space, try using a curtain or portable room divider. This will create mental separation for your space and help eliminate distractions from other areas of the house
Keep separate work and personal calendars
Calendars help us stay organized, but documenting every aspect of your life in a single place can sometimes feel overwhelming. Keeping separate work and personal calendars encourages a healthy separation between your work and personal life. It can also help you quickly identify if your work life balance as a business owner is getting off track.
If you use a digital scheduling option, such as Google Calendar or Outlook, you can create separate personal and work calendars. Then you can toggle them on and off as needed. If you prefer a paper calendar, try using a smaller pocket calendar to track your personal appointments that you can easily store inside your larger calendar. Whichever method you choose, view your personal calendar regularly to make sure you are designating time each week for activities away from work.
Avoid household chores during “work hours”
When you work from home, it’s easy to look around and see a multitude of personal tasks that need attention. While it may be tempting to do some dishes between conference calls or throw in a load of laundry in between work tasks, this could hurt your productivity – both personal and professional. When your mind is constantly distracted by personal chores, you aren’t giving your best focus to your work projects. Similarly, completing chores in fragmented bits and pieces throughout the day can cause you to lose momentum. This could end up creating more work for you in the long run. For example, forgetting about the laundry in the dryer when a conference call runs over can result in you having to unexpectedly iron an entire load of clothes.
If you worked in an office, you wouldn’t run home on your lunch break to do the dishes. So, give your home-based work hours the same respect. Set designated times for work and personal activities and compartmentalize your tasks. This will help you feel more focused and productive.
Listen to the “Back to Work” podcast
If you’ve jumped on the podcasting bandwagon, you likely have an extensive playlist of entertaining, inspirational, and personal development podcasts. “Back to Work” is a great addition to any play list, especially for entrepreneurs and work-from-home business owners. Hosted by Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin, the podcast covers an entertaining mix of productivity tips, communication skills, suggested business tools, advice for overcoming work barriers, and more. Mann and Benjamin often discuss their own struggles with finding a healthy work life balance as a business owner. They also provide relatable stories and actionable advice for overcoming those struggles.
To live your best SBO (small business owner) life, it’s important to bring your best self each day. To do that, you’ll need to proactively take steps to balance your commitments and obligations throughout the week and develop a healthy relationship between your work life and personal life.