Can you achieve work-life balance as a business owner? Or are stress and burnout ingrained in the entrepreneurial lifestyle and the price you must pay to own your own business?
There’s no definite answer to these questions. In fact, there’s no ideal way to define work-life balance because it works differently for everyone. But what’s clear is that working nonstop isn’t good for your health, mind, or business.
In this article, we’ll discuss ways you can develop healthy routines and achieve peak productivity without sacrificing your relationships, health, or hobbies. Read on for a few ideas for work-life balance as a small business owner.
Why work-life balance matters for business owners
Running a business or startup is stressful, even when you’re successful. Long working hours, team management, and building a product often drain your energy and leave you with little motivation to enjoy life outside work.
But we’re humans, and we need time to relax. Otherwise, these pressures can add up and ultimately impact our personal and professional lives. It’s hard to overstate the importance of work-life balance.
A Harvard study found that entrepreneurs obsessively passionate about their work often neglect family, friends, and their personal well-being. And this constant guilt builds mental stress and impacts their business performance in the long run.
So, while being passionate about growing your business is an excellent trait, it’s important to carve out time for personal engagements outside your work. This is crucial for your well-being, as there are many benefits to work-life balance.
For example, it reduces stress and improves your mental and physical health. A recent study by the World Health Organization found a direct relationship between long working hours and heart disease. The study concluded that working more than 55 hours a week puts you at serious risk of stroke and various cardiac issues.
6 tips for maintaining work-life balance
Being your own boss means you can be flexible with your time and design a balanced life for yourself and your family. Here are a few key ways to improve your work-life balance.
Tip #1: Develop a healthy morning routine
Mornings are usually the best time of the day to focus, reflect, and plan. Instead of going straight to work from your bed, develop a healthy morning routine that fuels your personal life and sets you up for a productive day.
For example, you can hit the gym every morning, have breakfast with your partner, and spend quality time with your loved ones before leaving for work. Most importantly, early mornings are the perfect time to unplug from technology, put your smartphone aside, and spend time doing things you love, like reading or gardening. Psychologists believe a healthy morning routine can reboot your brain, make you happier, and help you be more productive at work.
Tip #2: Draw boundaries between your work and life
Smartphones, remote work, and 24/7 internet connectivity make it challenging for entrepreneurs to set clear boundaries between work and life. Even at home, emails, Slack messages, and app notifications can keep your mind occupied with work.
But for your mental health and relationships, you must have a switch-off time every day, after which you simply say no to any business tasks.
You can do that by following fixed working hours whether it’s nine to five or something else. This way, you can adjust your working hours without compromising your productivity. Once you call it a day, spend quality time with your friends and family.
Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, said something interesting about maintaining a healthy work-life balance in an interview with Financial Review.
When you’re around your friends and family, make sure you’re not just there physically but also mentally so that you enjoy those moments and spend quality time together.
Tip #3: Delegate work to your team
As a small business or startup owner, you can easily fall into the trap of doing everything yourself to save costs or ensure quality. But if you want to grow your business, free up time for more strategic tasks, and have time outside work, you must learn to delegate work.
Team members will make mistakes, but they are a better solution than doing everything yourself. It will pay off, in the long run, to patiently train and build a confident team, even if it’s just one person, that enables you to grow your business.
If you prefer a lean business model and don’t want to grow a full-time team, consider outsourcing repetitive or routine tasks to reliable freelancers so that you can focus on more important work.
Tip #4: Use automation to free up time
Automation and AI are your best friends as an entrepreneur. If you know how to build automated systems and use the power of artificial intelligence to streamline your processes, you can save hundreds of hours without adding any additional overhead.
For example, you can fully automate your customer service through chatbots, email automation, and an integrated CRM and marketing automation system like Act! Similarly, you can automate lead generation, nurturing, and conversion through automated email sequences.
If you do these tasks manually, you’ll need to invest thousands of dollars in hiring, training, and retaining employees. But automation improves your bottom line by doing it perfectly at a fraction of the cost.
Tip #5: Take regular breaks from work
No matter how passionate you are about growing your business, you need regular breaks from work to re-energize, refocus, and stay motivated.
Take small breaks in your daily routine, like taking a walk, listening to a podcast, or having a quick chat with a coworker, customer, or vendor. And make a point of building in longer breaks every few months, like a family vacation or recreational activities with your team.
Several scientific studies show that mini breaks and time away from work actually improve your focus, reduce stress, and increase efficiency.
Tip #6: Don’t let email and social media distract you
Email and social media distractions are among the biggest reasons why entrepreneurs and business owners work long hours and struggle with work-life balance.
In many cases, you can easily complete your tasks for the workday if you stay away from aimless social media scrolling during work and refrain from answering any emails that aren’t urgent or not directly related to your core tasks.
Easier said than done, isn’t it? That’s why many entrepreneurs save them for the second half of the day when their energy level drops and they’ve spent the most productive part of their day completing the most crucial work.
Is work-life balance for entrepreneurs a myth?
Entrepreneurship and work-life balance don’t always go together, but it’s still possible to find a balance. With focused work, delegation, and the smart use of automation, you can build sustainable processes that keep your business running even when you’re not around.
This is where Act! can help. Use its integrated CRM, landing pages, and email automation tools to streamline your customer support, lead generation, nurturing, and sales so you can spend more doing things you enjoy. Give it a try today with a 14-day free trial.