Being a business owner can give you a certain level of flexibility that many employees don’t have, offering you the option to set your own hours. Whilst this may suggest that business owners have a better work-life balance, the majority of self-employed men and women often end up working much longer hours. In fact, many business owners regularly work more than fifty hours per week.
This can lead to an unhealthy work-life balance in which most of your time is spent focused on your business rather than enjoying the fruits of your labour. It could cause relationships with family and friends to break down and you may find that your remaining time is spent catching up on life admin rather than enjoying free time.
If you think this situation sounds familiar, it could be time to start making some changes to the way you run your business in order to restore balance. Here are just several ways in which you can make sure that your business isn’t taking over your life.
Stop trying to handle it all alone
Many business owners make the mistake of taking on too many responsibilities. This often results in a ridiculous workload that can end up taking over one’s life. By delegating some of these responsibilities, you could free up time for yourself.
One way to delegate these task is to hire employees. Many business owners start by hiring a personal assistant to take care of most of the admin so that they can focus on the core matters at hand. Hiring full time staff can be expensive and you need to be certain that you have enough hours of work to give them.
Outsourcing is another option which can be cheaper and equally effective. You can outsource pretty much any task – someone online is certain to be willing to do it. Commonly outsourced tasks include goods transport as found at www.jayde.com.au/ and accounting as found at sites like www.ashfield-accountancy.co.uk/. You could also outsource legal advice, cleaning, marketing and recruitment.
Learn to say no
Overworked business owners tend to bring it on themselves by never turning down new business opportunities. Whilst more business means more money, you don’t want to be taking on so much work that you struggle to get it all done each week.
Know your workload limit and be prepared to turn away business if you’ve reached that limit. Of course, certain opportunities may be too good to miss – make sure to always weigh up the pros and cons before agreeing to take on such work.
Keep strict set contact hours
It’s worth also setting contact hours so that you’re not always reachable. This will prevent clients and employees phoning you and emailing you when you’re trying to enjoy your free time.
Set up an out of office reply on your emails to warn people emailing you that you won’t be replying to messages during certain hours. Similarly, leave an answer phone message that tell people when you’re reachable. You can also detail information on these contact hours on your website and social media bio. This will allow you to switch off during designated leisure time so that you’re not constantly having to switch to business mode.
Invest in a separate work phone
Having one point of contact for business and personal use can make it very hard to separate your business time from your leisure time. Having separate phones – a personal phone and a business phone – can help you to keep both spheres apart. When not at work, you can turn off your business phone and rely on your personal phone. This removes the temptation to catch up on work emails in your free time.
There are business mobile plans that you can look into at sites like www.buymobiles.net. If you have a landline that you currently use for personal and business use, you may also want to set up a separate business landline – this could be a cloud-based number.
Allow yourself holidays
It’s important that you give yourself long breaks from work too. Such breaks can help us to recharge our batteries and gain perspective. During these breaks you shouldn’t attend to any business-related tasks (unless it’s an absolute emergency).
If you need to take a holiday make sure that your business is still able to function in your absence or that you’ve notified your clients well in advance. Hiring an assistant manager to stand in whilst you’re away could be useful, although may not be economical if you’re a smaller business.