Achieving a work/life balance

Being an entrepreneur is time-consuming - but how can you avoid it taking over your life?

Many people dream of escaping regular 9 to 5 employment to become their own boss. However, the reality of running your own company can be extremely demanding, especially in terms of time.

Many business owners find it increasingly difficult to shut the door on the office and can’t tease apart their personal life from their working one.

The heavy workload causes many entreprenuers to lose sight of family commitments and neglect their social lives.

Entrepreneurs should be prepared to work long and sometimes erratic hours, and maintaining a tolerable, let alone healthy work/life balance, can be taxing – but it’s not impossible.

Having a good balance between your professional life and private life will increase your motivation, job satisfaction, and productivity. Effective planning will help to make the most of each working day and enable you to have time for friends and family.

You should set compelling targets for every aspect of both your work and personal life ranging from the size of your database to holidays and personal wealth. Having these aims in place will ensure that every hour of your time becomes focused.

Take advantage of your situation

Running your own business does take time. However, as master of your own destiny you have the distinct advantage of being able to use your time more effectively by tailoring it to your own needs.

Try blocking out every hour of your time so that it is specifically tailored towards achieving a goal, whether this is activity related to your current business, or on achieving tasks to expand your business or a personal goal, such as being a great parent.

By sticking to this plan your working hours will be better spent and this will help you to shut the door on the office by minimising the overlap between your working life and your personal one.

Time management is the simplest of solutions to the modern day problem of work/life balance. It has a real impact on sales and growth. It costs nothing to implement and is dependant on one thing; yourself.

Good time management can create the personal freedom to let you enjoy your business venture. By effectively organising your time and working proactively to achieve your goals, day by day your business will be more successful and you will have more time to enjoy it.

However, not everyone works well with a strictly formulaic method of time management. Business owners need to find the best method of time management that works for them. Some people are good at multi-tasking, while others like the time-blocking method.

Yet, choosing the right method of time management is not just a matter of personal preference. It is vitally important that the way you manage your time is compatible with the type of business you are in and whether or not you are dependent on other people.

For example if you work alone as a web designer it may be possible to start work at midday and work through till 10pm. However if you’re in an industry where you have to be in contact with clients who work in a traditional office, then you will have to be available 9 to 5, regardless of commitments outside of work and personal preference.

By understanding the demands your business will make on your time, before you start, you can find out whether running this business will fit in with your expectations of being your own boss.

It’s also tempting to work reactively, because the natural reflex is the courteous one. When someone emails or calls, we reply immediately, without considering whether this is a productive action.

Set aside an hour each day to reply to messages and emails. It may be hard to ignore a ringing phone but it’s not always good for business to answer it.

The last word

The big idea for a business, its central premise, is actually a very small part of whether a business is successful. It’s all about orchestrating it properly. A small idea can be very successful as long as you work hard at making it work.

Effectively structuring your time to achieve business goals can make your business succeed and also allow you the free time to have a life outside of work.

Being a successful business owner shouldn’t just be about making money, it should also be about having the free time to enjoy the money you make.

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