3 Tips on How to Manage a Work-Life Balance as an Entrepreneur
As an entrepreneur it can be incredibly tough to manage a healthy work-life balance. It’s a constant struggle between dedicating time to your business or to your family and friends or to yourself.
Many entrepreneurs find themselves attempting to figure out how they should spend more time and energy: on their business or life. Yet, the fact is that it’s doable to have both. You just need to accept that to maintain a work-life balance you can’t do it all.
Even in the land where they are known for their work-life balance, the number of people not going to work due to stress is increasing. Sweden’s notorious culture of relaxed work hours and parental leave is what we strive to have in Canada. However, according to the Swedish Social Insurance Agency, “more than 20% of sickness benefit cases across all age groups” are due to clinical burnout. No matter where you live, what you do, or who you are; it’s important to balance your work-life to maintain a happy healthy life.
I did some field research and asked entrepreneurs about their work-life balance, many didn’t hesitate to tell me they struggled with it all the time. After collecting their answers, I picked out the top tips and tools to manage a work-life balance that they’d share with other entrepreneurs.
Tip 1: Time Management
It’s important to keep track of how many hours you are spending on your business. One of the entrepreneurs I spoke to uses CAATO Time Tracker to organize and time how long they spend on grant writing, emails, finances, meetings, and much more. The app allows you to look back and reflect on if the time you spent was necessary and worthwhile. Being able to see how many hours are put into your business allows you to re-evaluate.
In addition to keeping count of work hours, it’s helpful to use the Pomodoro Technique. This technique allows you to be fully present in your work when you work and to be rewarded with a break. Set a timer for 45 minutes to focus on your tasks, and once that time is up, go outside for a break, have a snack, or anything else. This simple technique allows you to be 100% there when you are working and in the long run allows you to spend more quality time with your friends and family. It’s easy to get distracted and overwhelmed when you are working, but the Pomodoro Technique can assist in your work-life balance.
Tip 2: Delegate / Outsource Tasks
Ask yourself, “is it worth my time and skills to do this task?” If you are hesitating with your answer, you should consider delegating the task to someone else or outsourcing it by hiring someone to do it. For example, maybe you need to do the accounting for your business and because it isn’t your background it takes a long time and energy to get it done. Instead of using your valuable time, think about hiring someone and using your time to maintain the work-life balance. It might cost you money, but it you will save your sanity by avoiding unnecessary stress. Use this spare time to surround yourself by things and people that centre you to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Tip 3: Unplug
Technology makes us accessible 24/7. Especially if you work with technology and rely on it. Frederic at WP Expert relates as he needs to be available if issues were to occur.
“I find it is not always easy to manage the work-life balance when you are running a web agency with clients on WordPress maintenance plans. You need to fix issues when they arise and it can be at nights, weekend... I try not to work more than 8h a day, sometime below especially during the summer where I am trying to spend quality time with my family.” - Frederic from WP Expert
Unplugging can help you rejuvenate and let go of the stress that was pilling up. Make quality time and turn your phone on silent. Unplugging doesn’t mean that you need to be offline for a couple of days, it can easily just be an hour as you are eating dinner with your family, going for an evening walk and leaving your phone at home, or silencing your phone when you are at your kids piano lessons. By not reacting to the notifications from work, you will develop a stronger habit of resilience. Resilient people will have the psychological strength to maintain a low stress life.