Work-life balance is an often discussed yet quite elusive concept, especially amongst Canadian small business people. While many claim to have achieved a desirable equilibrium, others altogether reject the notion, while many of us are continuously striving, and failing to reach the perfect balance of work and life. To those non-believers or those who have pushed work-life balance down the priority list, there are some pretty undeniable benefits to getting it back on your radar. Striking a balance between your small business and your personal life is not only good for your health and overall well-being, it can positively affect your bottom line.
The feeling of being torn between work and home can cause excessive stress which can lead to a variety of health issues including high blood pressure and heart problems. And self-induced stress will also be felt in the workplace. Not only does it cause a toxic work environment for employees but high stress also stifles creativity and motivation. In a recent HR Reporter study, 42% employees would quit a job because of a toxic work environment while 31% would leave a job because of a lack of work-life balance. Higher turnover is time wasted hiring and training new employees when a retention strategy would have been more cost effective. Keeping employees happy increases productivity and creates an overall feeling of contentment at the workplace.
Stress and a heavy workload not only affects the workplace but your personal life will suffer as well. Not only will you miss important dates and milestones with your family and friends, but they can start to resent you and your long work hours, especially during the holiday season.
But it’s not too late to strike a balance between your work and personal life. With these seven tips, you will be on your way to creating a better you, so you can run a better business.
Commit to Personal Engagements
No more saying “maybe” or “I’ll try to make it”. Make a plan to go to dinner with your partner, drinks with friends, or movies with the kids - and stick to the plan. Mark it in your calendar and schedule work around your engagement (not your engagements around work). You, your friends and family will thanks you for it.
Prioritize Personal Time
Too many times, people are overheard saying “I just don’t have the time to…” If going to the gym, taking a walk, or reading a book was a priority to you, you would find the time. It’s time to place you on your to do list.
Personalized Work Space
Working long days in a space that you are comfortable in and sparks your creativity can make the work day go by much faster. Adding personal mementos and decor not only helps motivate you but also gives you a greater sense of control of your work.
Schedule Sensibly and Stick to It
Create a schedule that has end times for specific tasks. If you schedule 15 minutes to catch up on your emails, spend only 15 catching up on emails, and move on to your next task. Also be smart about your schedule. Schedule your tasks and meetings at the right time of day. Don’t schedule a staff meeting at 6pm on a Friday, when your employees are itching to get out of the office to enjoy their weekends.
Learn to Delegate or Outsource Tasks
I know it may be hard to admit, but you can’t do everything. Learn to ask for help and give some of your everyday tasks to someone else to complete. We know this is easier said than done. It can sometimes seem like finding help and providing the information and training needed to get it done can take more time and energy than simply doing it yourself - but if you take the time and invest in delegating in the short-run, the long-term rewards could be worth it.
Take a vacation!
Several studies have concluded that taking a vacation helps you feel recharged, less tired and less emotionally burned out. Vacations are linked to decreased risks of heart attack and depression and even promote brain health. Studies have also linked vacations to productivity at work - especially those weeks leading up to the holiday. You’ll return from your time away feeling more engaged and enthusiastic about your work, having benefited from rest and new perspectives.
Maintain Boundaries and Learn to Switch off ‘Work Mode”
A good way to get more accomplished while working is to restrict personal time to breaks and lunch time. When you have a time limit on a task, don’t stray from it to make a personal phone call. Not only will you get your task done faster, but then you can put your full attention to your phone call when you are not worrying about your task. The same goes for when you are home or out with family and friends. Put your smart phone away and focus your attention on what you are doing. Your family and friends will feel the difference - and so will you.