I recently had a session with a client who was struggling to regain balance between her “business” and “life”. The first thing we tackled was the myth that your business is somehow separate from your life. This type of thinking set you up for failure, instead, think of your business is a subset or sometimes a key part of your life.
With most clients having this issue, the underlying goal isn’t to balance work and life but to establish clear boundaries around their business so it doesn’t take over their lives. When these boundaries aren’t in place, people tend to sacrifice and neglect other aspects of their life; typically sleep, relationships, nutrition or the latest series on Netflix.
So how do you move from completing BAS statements on a Saturday night to enjoying life again?
Whilst I’m not a wellness guru, here are some ideas clients have put in place that really worked:
- Organise – Plan your day and create a To Do list. Put EVERYTHING in your calendar, including school drop off and pickup, and personal commitments such as dentist or gym. Don’t forget to add travel time also. This will give you a clear idea of where you a spending your time and also where you can gain some efficiencies. For example, I try to schedule all client appointments whilst my son is at school or even host meetings via Skype or phone to minimise travel and free up your time in the evenings.
- Outsource– Once you’ve organised your days and weeks ahead, determine your effective hourly rate. Do this by simply taking how much income you generated in an average month and dividing it by the hours worked. Once you’ve determined your hourly rate, go back through your list of activities and decide what can be effectively outsourced so you can spend time doing things you consider more important. I’ve had an Executive Assistant for the last 2.5 years (If you’re looking for a great EA check out Vicki from silentkeyboard.com.au). She is a rockstar and handles the majority of my business operations, ensuring I can set boundaries between work and my personal time. Similarly, I recently brought on a bookkeeper, because I hate bookkeeping and it was eating into my time. I’ve taken a similar approach to my personal life such as hiring a home cleaner as this frees up time to work with clients and enjoy my family.
- Self Care – Do something you enjoy every day, whether it be taking the dog for a walk, meditating, or sitting in the sun drinking coffee (remember, put it in your calendar!). This gives you something to look forward to and reboots the brain as well as the body. For me, I start my day with a 5 am workout which helps get the day off right.
- Keep it Real – Don’t set your expectations too high. Ensure you can achieve what you set out to do. Divide any big projects into bite-size chunks so you don’t feel overwhelmed and end up procrastinating.
- Priorities – Always schedule a specific time in your calendar to actually do your work, ie. 10 am to 1 pm might be your “morning shift” before your break for lunch. If you work from home it’s easy to become distracted with household chores, online shopping or suddenly needing to assemble that flatpack bookshelf you bought 6 months ago. Treat your work as a calendar appointment and ensure you commit to doing it. Every day I prioritise one “mission critical” item as a key piece of work that must get done that day. I always start my day working on this item and then focus on other things like the time sink that is emails!
- Share the Love – Always ensure sure you make time for those that matter, whether it’s your partner, your child or even your cat. Family, and (four-legged) friends are essential to a well-rounded life experience. For me I don’t have meetings before 9:30 am as this ensures I can always take my son to school. You may decide to not do any work between 6 pm and 8 pm to ensure you have dinner with family, or even schedule movie nights with partners. Whatever works for all of you.
Hopefully, these tips can help you establish better boundaries with your business. If you want help tackling this in your business, please contact Rajiv from Bare Inc today.