Being an entrepreneur has plenty of rewards, but it also has an equal number of challenges. While your work time may be flexible and you get to work from wherever, the hours you work probably far exceed what you intended when you started this venture. Between work, family, and other obligations – we are guessing you struggle to both find and keep a work/life balance. And now the Holiday Season is here with additional obligations!
Don’t be too hard on yourself. This is a common problem for small business owners and you are not alone. It is also not an impossible dream to find life a flowing balance and still be successful.
Here are three tips to get you started on the path to positive flowing balance and business growth:
1. Spend 10 minutes planning the next week.
Plenty of entrepreneurs choose to do this activity on Sunday evening before the week starts, but we certainly won’t hold it against you to spend 10 minutes on Friday afternoon so that you don’t have to give up weekend time to plan your upcoming week. With these 10 minutes, you should time block your week. Remember to build in times for breaks, checking email/voicemail and any last minute activities that pop up – if you book your schedule too tight you may find yourself running in circles to get everything done. Having a schedule ahead of time will give you a better handle at tackling everything you need to get done during normal business hours.
2. Schedule personal time first.
It is going to sound counter intuitive but you need to schedule your personal time first. Only you know what feeds your soul and how often you need to recharge, so there is no good formula for that. Burning out from working too much will actually keep you from being successful. If you don’t build in time to relax and reboot the system, you will find it difficult to think creatively or to be innovative. True growth and success cannot happen if you are spending all your time on the hamster wheel.
So, before you book anything else – make time for your friends, your personal development, your family, and yourself. You know how they tell you during flight that you need to strap on your own oxygen before helping the people around you? In business, you need to nurture your own health, wellness and well-being before charging in to save the day with your work.
3. Stick to 80% of the plan and don’t give yourself grief for the other 20%.
When you first decided to start your own business, you daydreamed about fulfilling your purpose, winning clients, and earning respect for your efforts. The discovery that came later was there were plenty of tasks and needs that come with running a business that operate outside of those daydreams.
The 80/20 rule states that 80% of your results will come from 20% of your efforts. This rule is applicable for various areas of your life but certainly in your business. It also means that 60% of what you do is producing no returns. Brainstorm ways to spend more time and effort on that 20% that actually expands your reach and income.
What if there is something to be said for the opposite side of that coin? Your to do list is never really going to get shorter. In fact, it probably shouldn’t. To continue being successful, you need to keep going – working, reinventing, and moving forward. However, this means certain tasks will slip through the cracks, be put off for a while and simply not move up the priority list as fast as they should. Don’t be so hard on yourself. This is common. If the checklist of uncompleted projects is truly getting to you, hire some temporary or part time help (The Gift of Time anyone?). What you shouldn’t do is allow it to damper your focus and distract you from your goals.
There is plenty of advice out there to help you achieve a balance in your life and in your work. Hopefully, these three tips will get you started on a path that is more fulfilling and less stressful.