Well, I wouldn’t say that it’s possible to have a perfectly even balance at all times.
There are going to be days where you work more than you rest. And there will be days when you rest more than you work, which is perfectly okay! You may never achieve a perfect balance, but you can still try to even the scales a little bit. After all, it’s important to take time for ourselves amidst all the hustle of running a business. To help you have a better work-life balance, I’m sharing a few tips that will help you out!
How to Have a Better Work-Life Balance
Having a better work-life balance requires you to set some boundaries in your work life and your personal life. Once you’re able to do this, it becomes so much easier to have balance and draw the line between work hours and rest hours. You also want to learn how to maximize the time you do have so you never feel guilty about shutting down at the end of the day. Here are some tips to help you achieve that:
Set Virtual Office Hours
When your office is only a few steps away at all times, it can often be tempting to slip back into your desk chair and start answering emails. However, this is a dangerous habit if you do this regularly because you aren’t respecting your personal time. You need to be able to clock out at the end of the day. When you draw that line between work hours and play hours, you’re able to truly shut down and just focus on you when the computer is off and the office door is closed.
It’s also important to have office hours in place because you don’t want to fall into the trap of answering emails at 11 PM, especially if you have clients. If your clients see you’re responding to emails that late, they’ll expect you to respond then all the time. You won’t have boundaries in place.
For a better work-life balance, set virtual office hours and implement them. You should also let clients know what your hours are so they know when to expect email responses from you. And here’s a hint: It’s totally okay to work late nights from time to time. Just don’t get into the habit of it. You need to take time for yourself to unwind after a long day. But if you do find yourself working late and you’re responding to emails, use a tool like Boomerang (which works with Gmail) to schedule your emails to send in the morning. No one has to know you’re in your inbox late at night!
Plan in Advance
I know, I know… One more thing you have to do, right? Here’s the thing: life is so much easier when you plan in advance. If you really want to take advantage of this, I recommend blocking off time every Sunday to plan for the week ahead. By doing this, you’re setting yourself up for success because you’ll enter the week prepared and ready to tackle your to-do list since you’ll know what needs to get done. You won’t spend every morning wondering what task you should work on first because you’ve already planned it all out.
When planning, start by making note of any important appointments you have scheduled for the week. When you can refresh your memory of these appointments on Sunday, you’ll be less likely to forget them. Take this time to make sure they’re clearly labeled in your planner and/or digital calendar.
Then, you need to prioritize your tasks. What are the most important things you need to get done this week? Block off time to accomplish those early in the week so they’re done and out of the way. You should also make note of any deadlines you have so you can schedule ample time to complete each of those tasks. When blocking off time for your to-dos, I also recommend batching your tasks to use your time efficiently. The reason planning is so important is because it’ll help you make the most of the time that’s available.
Related: How to Plan Your Week
Schedule Time for Yourself
We all have a lot going on in our lives between businesses, relationships, and day jobs. But we also have ourselves. We need to take care of ourselves if we want to perform at our best. So many people say there’s just no time in the day to tend to their needs after they take care of everything else, but we can’t be that way.
If you find yourself saying this, it’s time to change. If you truly want to have a better work-life balance, you should schedule time for yourself into your calendar. Block off 30 minutes to an hour every day (or as much as you can fit in) to do something for yourself. Depending on how much time you allow, you can read a book, have a pampering session, do some yoga, or whatever makes you feel good. This is one appointment that you’re not allowed to cancel or postpone. Having a better work-life balance is all about making time for yourself and things outside of your business.
Here are a few other tips you should keep in mind:
- Don’t forget to block off time for hobbies and passions that you have outside of work. You need to have that time just for you.
- If you have to, you can even schedule time for your relationships. Block off a date night on your calendar or plan time for a girls’ night. These things are non-negotiable appointments because others are counting on you to be there for them too.
- Also, just because you have a free night where you have nothing on your schedule, it doesn’t mean you have to fill that time with work or social engagements. You can use that time to be with yourself and relax. Don’t feel obligated to do things you don’t want to do during your free time.
- Know what really matters to you and make time for those things in your busy schedule.
Maximize Your Productivity
I already mentioned batching your tasks is a great way to make sure you’re using your time efficiently. It’ll ensure you’re being the most productive. If you’re not familiar with batching, here’s an example for you. Let’s say you have three blog posts to write for the week ahead. Instead of writing each post the night before it goes live, block off time to write all three posts in one sitting. Once you’re in that writing groove, it’s easier to keep going.
There are a few other things you can do to boost your productivity as well. For example, you should consider planning your tasks based on your most productive hours. When do you do your best work? First thing in the morning? Midday? Consider planning your toughest tasks around those hours so you can accomplish them when you’re feeling the most focused and energized.
Another helpful tip is to eliminate any distractions while you’re working so you can remain focused. Silence your phone, close your inbox, and log off social media. If you work from home, turn off the TV or work in a room that doesn’t have one so you won’t be tempted. When you can eliminate the things that distract you during work, you’re going to get more stuff done. And when you get more stuff done, you’ll feel better about shutting down at the end of the day. There won’t be any reason to work those late nights if you accomplish everything on your to-do list. This will help you create a better work-life balance because you’ll work smarter during your office hours. Then you’re able to use those evenings to refresh and recharge.
Know That You Don’t Have to Hustle All the Time
If you log onto social media, you’re guaranteed to see someone working late nights or working on the weekend. Just because they’re seemingly hustling nonstop on their businesses, it doesn’t mean you need to do the same. Don’t ever feel guilty for not putting in those extra hours.
It’s more important that you focus on what’s right for you and your business. Figure out how many hours you want to work per week and hustle during those hours. If you only want to have a 20 hour work week, while others are putting in a full 40 hours, that’s totally fine. You have to do what’s right for you, so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. And if you have this fear that your business will fail if you stop working, you need to kick those worries to the curb. Your business will be just fine if you take a little time away for yourself.