Starting a business is an exciting, terrifying time. A true rollercoaster of emotions. Many businesses don’t survive their first year, which is a great shame, especially when everybody involved gives every ounce of their time and effort to make it work. But even in the early, crazy stages, it is essential that new business owners find time for themselves.
It’s easier said than done, of course. Some people can happily work 100 hours a week and never see friends or family again. But sooner or later, this lifestyle choice catches up with you, and before you know it, the relationships you cherish have suffered as a result of you being unable to switch off.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at seven useful ways for new business owners to work on finding their perfect work-life balance.
Make Your Home a Relaxing Place
It seems like an obvious point, but think about how easy it is for home-life to get the better of you. Even the generic tasks - washing up, clothes washing, filing away your bills - can get on top of you if you let it. Set some time aside in your evening or weekend to tick these tasks off your to-do list, and focus on making your home a relaxing place where you can unwind.
If you’re sharing a home with friends, for example, or are in a shared house, concentrate your efforts on building solid relationships with them so you can be honest and truthful with them in regards to noise, cleanliness and when they should and shouldn’t disturb you. When you’re getting a business off the ground, your spare time is sacred. Your home should be sacred, too.
Keep Work and Play Separate
All managers and business owners want to have a good working relationship with their team, but in order to have a better work-life balance, you have to learn where to draw the line. If you are spending 8-10 hours a day within your business with your staff, do you really want to then be socialising on a regular basis outside of working hours?
The same goes for contacting each other after working hours. Unless it is urgent, your work phone should not be buzzing with calls and texts from your colleagues. There has to be some degree of separation so that you can come to work the next day fully refreshed having spent a healthy amount of time away from work and work colleagues.
Get Your Finances in Order
Money. It’s what most people worry about in their day-to-day lives, especially if you are running a business as well as paying a mortgage, bills and putting food on the table for you and your family. It can be overwhelming and the need to make more money can take over your life, stressing you out, causing you to lose sleep and keeping you away from your loved ones for longer.
Getting your finances in order will certainly help with this. Keep records of everything that comes in and out, both at work and at home, and set budgets that you can stick rigidly to. If you have everything in writing, you can refer to everything in black and white and be safe in the knowledge that you know where you stand.
Switch Your Emails and Apps Off
A 2015 Oxford study found that of 69% of the 3000 workers consulted had continued to work long after the 9-to-5 had come to an end. Three years on - with the number of smartphones and online technologies increasing by the day - it would be easy to imagine that number as being a lot higher. It has become almost impossible to switch off.
One way that new business owners can attempt to escape the daily grind after it has come to an end is to switch off the WiFi or data on their smartphone. Failing this, you could chose to mute the apps that are associated with work (WhatsApp groups are particularly popular with work colleagues) and ensure that the notifications for incoming work emails are turned off. It’s almost impossible to ignore those beeps and vibrations, so don’t put yourself in the position where you might be tempted to check. Leave work at work and enjoy your home.
Keep on Top of Any Maintenance Issues
One of the toughest tasks for any new business owner is get contacts and contracts in place for communications and office/workspace maintenance. You don’t want to be focusing your energies on attempting to fix faulty equipment or installing software onto brand new PCs.
Try and get regular commercial ventilation inspections booked in, especially during the warmer times of the year when productivity in the workspace could suffer as a result of it being too hot in the office. If you can get a service contract in place with a local company, they will take care of repairs and conduct checks at a set rate per month, rather than potentially paying for expensive call-outs and emergency repairs from random companies, whilst putting the extra strain on you to find an available company each time.
By getting maintenance and IT departments/companies on board, you can focus on what is important, both at work and at home.
Consider Your Travel Arrangements
If your business is situated in the city centre and you live within walking distance of a train station, it might be a good idea to alternate between travelling by rail and car (especially in adverse weather conditions) or purchasing a long-term rail ticket and saving yourself some cash. You could use your train journey as an opportunity to check your emails on the way into work, or set your calendar/diary for the day ahead. You may even want to simply relax before the day starts.
Driving to work can be great for making time but can also put extra pressure on yourself, especially if you are driving in peak traffic. By leaving your car at home at least once or twice a week, you won’t be as fed up with driving and the endless traffic, and you might decide to take a trip away - free from any thoughts of work.