Maintaining Work/Life Balance When Business is Booming
Maintaining work/life balance is a challenge many business owners face, especially when their business experiences a period of rapid growth. In the rush of day-to-day operations, it's easy to forget that our lives include more than just work, and some entrepreneurs may realize too late that a better balance of personal and professional activities can help prevent burnout and the onset of poor decision-making.
So what's the secret to maintaining work/life balance when it seems like there are not enough hours in the day to achieve this goal? Here are some tips you can keep in mind:
Don't Leave your Schedule to Chance
If you're not already scheduling your time, it's a good idea to start now. That includes scheduling personal time as well. It may feel strange at first to structure your time away from work just as you would a business meeting, but creating a schedule and sticking to it demonstrates your commitment to a healthy work/life balance.
"Treat loved ones like clients and extracurricular pursuits like business meetings," advises Alexandra Kadlec at Care.com. "Don't cancel because you think they'll understand, or because you're willing to give up pleasure for business."
Prioritize your Time
Business owners sometimes confuse what's important with what's urgent. They're not necessarily the same things. If you don't prioritize, you'll find yourself jumping from one thing to another and, at the end of the day, have little to show for it. Train yourself to respond to critical business issues first and then make better use of your remaining time.
Learn to Say "No"
As business picks up, you may find yourself being interrupted many times a day by managers or employees seeking answers or advice on how to handle a particular situation. While it can be ego-boosting to be treated as the go-to person, chances are good that someone else can provide the input needed to keep things on track. Saying "no" sends the message that, as owner or CEO, you reserve your time for the most important strategic problems of the day.
Hire More Employees
In a company's early stages, it's theoretically possible for the owner and a handful of employees to get everything done. In periods of rapid growth, the accumulating number of tasks and responsibilities can overwhelm a skeleton staff. Productivity and the quality of work can decline during this period. Assuming there's a budget for it, now may be the best time to recruit and hire additional employees so the business can expand without you spending more hours on incremental tasks.
Take a Vacation
Imagine taking days away from work, or even a week. It may seem difficult, but with the right people in place, it's not only do-able, but may be essential for maintaining work/life balance. You're not superhuman; your batteries must be recharged just the same as everyone else's.
Ideally, you'd be able to leave your mobile devices behind and focus solely on the vacation you've chosen and your fellow traveler(s). But in a period of fast growth, that's not always possible. One approach to managing this dilemma involves reserving a short amount of time early in the day or just before bed to check emails. Instead of compulsively checking in throughout the day, "giving half of your attention to your business and half to enjoying yourself, separate the two to give your full attention to both."
Use Technology to Reach your Work/Life Balance Goals
There are plenty of apps available to help you feel more balanced in life. Digital marketing expert Pratik Dholakiya offers these helpful suggestions:
- Big Days for tracking past and future appointments, along with a built-in countdown reminder
- Launch by Quixey employs "Deep View Cards technology" for searching out information stored in your apps and accessing them quickly
- Schemes enables you to quickly send messages to family and staff for birthdays, anniversaries, completion of team projects, etc., via text, email, tweet, and more.
There's one more reason to adopt a healthy work/life balance. The people who work for you will take heed of your commitment to spend time wisely and, with your encouragement, can also develop a life-affirming balance that may contribute to higher morale and greater productivity.