I’ve touched on work-life balance in a few of my blogs, normally in the context of making the management of cash flow easier. The topic is, of course, far bigger than that.
Finding the perfect work-life balance is one of the most difficult areas for business owners to focus on. There are too many other important matters vying for your attention, so it’s easy to keep driving forward without ever really stopping to take some time for yourself to relax and recharge.
But it’s so important for your health, and the health of your business, to achieve the right work-life balance. To help, we’re sharing our tips to get you on the right track, and you’ll be pleased to know that they’re not that difficult.
A lot of people are guilty of having lunch at their desk. Some skip it completely. This can very quickly become an ongoing bad habit. You’ll automatically answer that phone call or respond to the email you’ve just seen pop-up. Even if you manage to ignore it and vow to call them back, you’ll be thinking about it until you do. Stop. You need to reclaim this time and make the effort to get a change of scenery. Go to the park, have a quick walk, get some air. You should find that you’re refreshed and raring to go when you return. However, you might not be as effective if you have a big heavy lunch with a glass of wine or a beer, so perhaps leave those as a Friday treat.
Emails at home.
Unless you’re expecting something important, turn off your alerts when you’re at home. This is an important boundary to create. Like eating lunch at your desk, even if you say that you won’t reply to the work emails you’ve heard crash landing into your inbox, you’re likely to keep thinking about them. So, out of sight, out of mind. You can deal with it tomorrow, or Monday(!) morning, fresh.
You need to give your brain the space each night where it isn’t constantly thinking about work. Getting into the habit of turning off your emails after a certain time in the evening will create that space and you’ll be in better shape tomorrow to respond.
Working at home.
Another way to create a boundary when you’re at home is to allocate a work area which, ideally, you can close off when you’re done. Just make sure work doesn’t creep out from that space, so no sitting in front of the TV with your laptop.
Work smarter, not harder.
Good productivity is key to running a healthy business. The same can be said for the business owner! Productivity improvements can be achieved through technology, but also through process improvements and automation to eliminate unnecessary tasks. Take CaFE for example. Our software helps manage your cashflow and eliminates all the stress and wasted time and energy trying to maintain multiple spreadsheets!
Learn to delegate.
This is a key skill to learn. It’ll not only help free up your time to concentrate on the important matters that only you can deal with but, done well, it’ll help the business as well. Employees will feel more trusted with the additional responsibility, and it’ll help create a strong team culture. As a result, you may even find new ideas or suggestions for improvements emerging from the team.
Learning to delegate will help a lot with this one for the general day-to-day tasks, but for important decisions or urgent matters, you need to have a plan. Let the team know they can contact you in these instances but designate a certain time of day that you will briefly check your emails. A 20-minute window maximum should be enough for the genuinely important stuff. The team will be more comfortable knowing that you’ll be checking in to provide any answers they need, and they’ll be able to communicate this to any third party. But for you, more importantly, knowing you have a plan in place will give you the peace of mind to actually relax and switch-off.
As well as agreeing a time that you’ll be checking your emails, consider providing the team with a contact number in case of emergencies. Once you trust that your team will be in touch at the agreed time, and only when absolutely necessary, you’ll find that you allow yourself to switch-off. When it’s time to check in and they’ve not been in touch, you’ll relax even more!!
If taking a holiday is too much to consider straight away, how about starting with just a weekend away? Even earmarking one day at the weekend where you vow to not do any work will be good practice. Watch a movie, go on a long walk or have a quick meditation session. Whatever it is and however long it is, just make sure it’s for you and something that you’ll enjoy or feel better for doing – that doesn’t include responding to that work email!
Hopefully you agree that it’s in everyone’s best interests to achieve and maintain a healthy work-life balance. It affects your work, your business, your mental health, and even your relationships with friends and loved ones. Make a promise to yourself to implement these tips and don’t forget to take a look at CaFE too. Some may take a little time to get used to and settle in, but it’s the start of you being able to make the time to relax and enjoy all the hard work you continue to put in. You deserve it and your business does too.
For more help and advice to support and improve mental health in the workplace, take a look at Mente, a fully customisable platform of digital tools.