Work-life balance is not always easy to find. Even more so when you are an entrepreneur and work long hours to achieve your goals and develop your business.
Finding work-life balance is fundamental to preserve energy, have mental clarity and avoid burn-out. According to a study by Technologia, 10 to 20% of business leaders show signs of pre-burnout.
10 Work-Life Balance Tips
Do you work almost every day? Do you think about work all the time? Perhaps it is time to put measures in place for a better work-life balance. In this article, discover 10 concrete tips.
1) Separate your workspace and your living space
With the Covid-19, teleworking has become widespread. But many self-employed entrepreneurs were already working from home. Indeed, when you start, you don’t always have the budget to rent an office, for example in a coworking space.
If you work from home, make sure to separate your workspace and your living space for a good work-life balance. The ideal is to have a separate room in which you work on a daily basis. When the day’s work is over, you can close the door signaling your brain to go into “off” mode.
If you can’t dedicate a room to your professional activity, try to set up an office area rather than working on your sofa for example. The idea is to have a work configuration and a relaxation configuration, without them merging.
2) Establish fixed work schedules for a good work-life balance
Another fundamental rule for a good work-life balance: have fixed working hours. If you don’t set a limit, you risk having extended hours and working all the time! And without a frame, you also risk being much less efficient!
Focusing on 8 hours, for example, forces you to be productive. You will be less tempted to procrastinate, for example by watching videos on YouTube ! If you say to yourself “I must be done before such and such an hour”, that will encourage you to work extra hard!
Think about your working hours. You can opt for a so-called “office” rhythm and work from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 6 pm, for example with a lunch break. But you can also choose to work shifted, for example from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. or Sunday or Thursday. And why not work only 4 days a week. The advantage of working for yourself is that you have a choice! But a classic rhythm will be easier to reconcile with a social life or a family life.
3) Start your day with the most important tasks
Do you often have the feeling at the end of the day that you haven’t done anything you planned? This is a very common phenomenon: we start the day with great ambitions and we quickly get overwhelmed by emails or unscheduled calls. Or emergencies to manage.
At the end of the day, your to-do list is still just as long and you wonder where your time is spent. To avoid that, here’s a simple tip: start your day with the most important actions, on a professional AND personal level.
Before you dive into your emails and everyday tasks, give yourself time for what really matters and will make a difference. Create your prospecting plan . Make this appointment with the dermatologist. You will see: your mental load will decrease!
4) Use a calendar to better plan your activities
Your online calendar is an excellent ally for better management of work-life balance. In Google Calendar, for example, you can write down both your professional and personal tasks and events. You can use a color code to easily distinguish them.
The more you write down your personal activities, the more time you tend to spend and organize yourself around it. Put in your agenda your sports activities, your lunches or dinners with friends and your outings. With Google Calendar, you can set up notifications and reminder emails. A good way to be more disciplined and stick to your plans!
Even though there is sometimes room for improvisation, an updated and detailed schedule helps to manage your time better. It provides time slots dedicated to relaxation and leisure activities. And you will be much more aware of the passage of time, what you are doing and what you are not doing.
5) Limit the consultation of its messages and emails
This advice is undoubtedly one of the most important for finding work-life balance. Indeed, all people who find it difficult to reconcile professional and personal life have this in common: an uninterrupted flow of messages and emails, to which they constantly respond.
In addition to generating stress, it is very unpleasant for others. Who wants to be with someone who spends their time glued to their phone and not really listening to conversations? If you’re in this situation of compulsively checking your phone, it’s time to take action!
Force yourself not to check your messages and pro alerts after a certain time. And avoid starting the day by checking your emails as soon as you wake up! It’s the best way to be tense before you even start working. Define a reasonable time slot for consulting your work emails.
You can also try a digital detox . It can make you aware of your hyper-connection and the importance of disconnecting for your physical and mental well-being.
6) Delegate more
Another common characteristic of people who have trouble finding work-life balance: the tendency to want to control everything and do it yourself. When you are a perfectionist, it is often difficult to trust others.
Learn to let go, to delegate and to trust! As they say, “done is better than perfect” (better done than perfect in the original version!). If your business grows, you will need to rely on other people: freelancers, virtual assistants, interns, employees or associates.
But this is also valid in your personal life. You can delegate tasks or responsibilities to your roommates or spouse. The same goes for booking the next restaurant with friends. What if you take turns taking care of it instead of always doing it yourself?
7) Learn to say no
To lighten your mental load and find a work-life balance, also learn to say “no”. It’s not always easy. We often want to please others and say “yes” to everything and everyone, whether it’s a colleague who needs a helping hand, a friend who is moving or a distant cousin who is organizing a paintball. . But you risk ending up with a whole bunch of obligations and an overloaded schedule! This is a breeding ground for exhaustion and burn-out!
It is not a question of doing nothing for others, but of being selective and of not saying yes to everything in order to take care of yourself and protect yourself. So maybe people will be disappointed, but chances are they will be a lot less disappointed than you think.
If saying no seems difficult, know that the more you practice, the easier it will become. It can be as simple as using phrases like “I can’t help you today because I have a big file to finish, but I can give you a hand tomorrow”. And in a personal context: “I’m sorry but I need a weekend of rest, I have to think of myself, I’m exhausted”.
8) Take days off
One of the keys to the work-life balance is knowing how to switch off. When you work for yourself, and you are a self-employed person for example, you do not have any days off strictly speaking. And sometimes non-working day = day without income.
But working all the time is not desirable. You will eventually burn out and this will affect your productivity and efficiency as well as your creativity and problem solving ability. This lack of lucidity could even lead you to make bad decisions.
Don’t go that far. Take days off. And not just one day here and there. Give yourself a real week’s vacation every now and then. Change the air. Have fun. And recharge your batteries. Successful entrepreneurs have adopted this philosophy: “word hard, play hard”.
9) Treat yourself to small pleasures
If the days off are important, the small pleasures of everyday life are just as important. They boost your well-being and contribute to a better work-life balance. The ideal is to make time each day for a micro-activity that makes you feel good.
It could be listening to music , calling a friend, cuddling your cat, sunbathing, watching a show, going for a walk, cooking or dancing in your living room! No matter what the activity as long as it gives you joy! You can do this activity at the start of the day to boost yourself or at the end of the day to reward yourself for your hard work! Or in the form of a break between 2 files to manage!
If you get stuck on an issue or feel frustrated with a situation like a dispute with a client, this is also a good way to clear your mind and come back with a clearer picture.
10) Gradually find your work-life balance
Last tip: be tolerant and kind to yourself. The perfect work-life balance does not come about overnight. And it can vary from month to month: it depends on our current desires, our aspirations or our state of fatigue.
Don’t set yourself overly ambitious goals. Take action little by little, testing to find what works best for you. It’s like New Year’s resolutions: big ambitions often go nowhere!
New habits go through small changes that, taken together, have a big impact. Start small with a goal like “don’t check my emails tonight”, then do it regularly and you’ll see, it will become a habit!
Finding a work-life balance can take some trial and error. But, once you find the techniques and strategies that are most effective for you, your work and your social life, you will feel the benefits: less stress, less fatigue, more serenity and ultimately more fulfillment.
If there’s one thing you need to remember from this article, it’s to take time for yourself. For the activities, you love, for seeing your friends and just for relaxing. Working hard to start your own business is good, but what’s the point if you can’t reap the rewards of your labour?