Learning to balance work and home life is an ongoing challenge, especially for new entrepreneurs and business owners. Having the passion to start and build a business makes it hard to take time off or step away from your desk. While this mindset can be valuable, a lack of work-life balance quickly leads to burnout. In this guest post, Jessica Thiefels, Founder and CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting, looks at how new entrepreneurs can balance work and life at home.
Guest Author: Jessica Thiefels, Founder and CEO, Jessica Thiefels Consulting
A recent BNI study found that entrepreneurs who reported high scores of obsessive passion were more likely to be burned out than those who scored high for “harmonious passion.” What’s more, those who scored for “obsessively passionate” said they were more emotionally drained and that working a full day—though it may feel necessary—required a lot of effort.
Finding work-life balance is key to remedying this constant state of anxiety and stress, while maintaining your sanity and the relationships that are important to you. Though it may not feel like it, work-life balance is within your control, and you have the power to make more time for your personal life. Even small steps can go a long way in finding the balance you need to build a thriving business and be happy while you do it.
Use these ideas to free up time in your schedule and prioritize the life that still exists outside your work.
Delegate In Your Personal Life
Learning to delegate in your personal life, like you do in your work, can be hard to do. Laundry and home improvement projects are just a reality of your life, right? Not necessarily. In today’s world, it’s becoming easier to delegate tasks in your personal life, freeing up more time to do the things you enjoy with the people you love.
There are many online or mobile services that can take everyday task off your to-do list. Here are a few examples:
- Outsource random tasks: A service like TaskRabbit instantly connects you with skilled taskers who can help with odd-jobs or errands. They can even stand in line for you at the DMV or hang pictures in your home.
- Use grocery delivery: Use a tool like InstaCart to connect with your local grocery store, order food online, and get it delivered the same day. The shopper will even message you when they start and send questions if there are issues.
- Outsource your laundry: You may have driven by your local wash and fold dozens of times without considering the benefits of using it. According to 8 Reasons to Use a Same-Day Cleaner, the benefits include: morning drop off and evening pick up, text or email notifications when it’s done and clothes that are already folded for you—eliminating yet another time-consuming personal task.
Learn To Say No
Remembering to say no can be difficult, especially if you’re starting a new business and trying to build partnerships and a steady client base. You may worry about missing an opportunity by saying no, but, as Warren Buffet says: “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost anything.”
Saying no can help you free up time for greater work-life balance, but that doesn’t mean you need to say no to every request that comes your way. Instead, use these ideas to decide whether to say “yes” or “no.”
- Create a set pricing structure and say no to any potential customers who won’t pay it. This ensures that you save time for clients who will pay what your work deserves, while freeing up space for current projects are more important.
- Create your own “Conditions of Satisfaction” for any task request that comes your way. If the task doesn’t meet those conditions, you say no instead of yes.
The key is actually honoring these guidelines so you can make more time work work-life balance, and spend less time on clients and tasks that don’t actually benefit you.
Ban Time-Sucking Tech
Technology should support your work, not make you less productive. Yet it’s easy to spend 10 minutes scrolling through Twitter when you could be finishing an email. Do this 10 times a day and you’ve wasted nearly two hours that you could spend enjoying yourself outside of work.
To avoid this time-suck, ban certain websites or devices during working hours. This can be as easy as putting your phone in another room or using an app that stops you from accessing apps at the times that you specify. There are also dozens of browser extensions that block out the distractions of working online so you can stay focused for the duration of your task.
Don’t forget to do the same when you’re able to spend time outside of your office. For example, institute a no-phone rule for dinner, when you’re out with friends, or enjoying a game night with your kids. Few emails or phone calls are more important than spending quality time with recuperating from a long day of work—and prioritizing work-life balance means truly separating the two as often as you can. Plus, answering emails or phone calls during off-work hours shows the people that you’re always available, but you don’t have to set this precedent.
Automate Daily Tasks
Automation makes it easier to find room for work-life balance. When you spend less time on tedious tasks, you have more time to focus on big-picture needs and end the day by dinner. While this may seem difficult to do, and time-consuming to set up in and of itself, The Oracles, a mastermind group for entrepreneurs, shares a few reasonable ways to make it happen:
- Create a sales and business cycle that you can use to do much of the lead-driving work you’d normally do. This might mean setting up a CRM and automated emails and using a scheduling tool so potential clients can schedule meetings without talking with you.
- Look for areas of repetition. For example, sorting your emails automatically so you spend less time doing it yourself or creating templates for emails that you send regularly—all you have to do is copy and paste.
- Build an efficient team around you, with a great in-house team, if possible, and if not, great contractors that you trust to get work done.
- Outsource anything that’s below your pay grade.
Bring It All Together
Finding balance between work and home isn’t going to happen over night. Building a business will inevitably take personal and professional sacrifices at times, but in the end won’t be rewarding if you’ve lost touch with all your friends and the things you love in the meantime. Use these ideas to take back some of your time and find room in your schedule for work-life balance.
The opinions of our guest bloggers are their own and not those of 1871. Jessica Thiefels is an entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting. She’s been writing for more than 10 years and has been featured in top publications like Forbes, Fast Company and Entrepreneur. She also writes for Business Insider, Virgin, Glassdoor and more. Follow her on Twitter @JThiefels and connect on LinkedIn.