How do you achieve work-life balance when running a business?

17 August 2021 by National Bank
Image of family in front of computer in the kitchen

Today, entrepreneurs increasingly want to strike a balance between work and family life. Attitudes have shifted, and there is more of a focus on making things right. How can you create a healthy work-life balance when you own a business? Here are our solutions.

To achieve work-life balance, get support and learn to delegate

No business leader or parent can do it all alone. Learn to ask for help and reach out to the best available resources around you.

In the early stages of a business, it is normal to take on a little more, since your business may not yet be profitable. Make sure your business plan includes hiring others as needed and as soon as revenues allow, to take some of the load off your plate.

The same goes for your family. Feel free to call on grandparents, neighbours and friends for assistance. It takes a village to raise a child, as the saying goes. Reaching out for support can enrich your relationships and ease some of the pressure in your schedule.

1. Focus on what drives you 

One of the barriers to work-life balance is work overload, often caused by being spread too thin. You’re in charge, but be sure you’re clear on why you started a business in the first place.

If you’re the creative type, leave the logistics to someone else. If finances are more your thing, delegate customer service. What excites you is most likely where you excel. 

By spending most of your time on areas of your business where you truly add value, you’ll save time and avoid constantly trying to solve problems that irritate you.

2. Call on the experts

Sure you could save money by doing most of the work yourself, such as accounting, recruitment and legal tasks. But that can eat up your workday without you really adding any value.

Take full advantage of the experts in every area. Not only will the job be done well by people who enjoy it more than you do, but you won’t spend your days toiling just to save a few pennies. 

3. Take advantage of available programs and grants

Check with your local development centres for programs and grants you may be eligible for that could ease your workload, for instance, by hiring an employee through a grant. This assistance can be vital to making your business succeed and keeping your family life enjoyable.

Rethink your goals 

Finding the right balance also means learning to clear your head outside of work hours. Your project may be very ambitious, but if achieving your goals takes a toll on your morale, it won’t really get you anywhere.

It’s important to accept that achieving success can take time. You may want to stretch out your timelines to lighten the workload. If you strive to reach milestones too quickly, it will cut into other parts of your day and your family life could suffer.

Learn the art of being flexible with work-life balance

One of the main reason entrepreneurs start a business is the desire for more freedom. Make the most of the benefits of being your own boss.

Who said you have to stick to a Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 schedule? Nothing prevents you from stopping at 3:30 to pick up the kids from school and spend quality time with them, then resuming work and closing files a little later in the evening, if need be. You can also take advantage of the opportunity to work remotely from anywhere, perhaps even extending your weekend at the cottage by one day. Just be sure to avoid the mistake of working all the time.

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Let go of perfection

Yet another way to relieve your mental load, from both work and family life, is to relinquish the idea of perfection. Accept that the house won’t always be tidy. Understand that things may sit in your inbox. Choose your battles to alleviate the pressure to perform. 

Learn how to manage work-life balance expectations

As a business owner, it is natural to want to keep an eye out for emergencies, but it is also imperative to learn to separate your professional and personal lives. You may receive urgent requests from clients on a Friday afternoon, but that does not mean you have to accommodate them all the time. 

You’ll need to manage not only your clients’ expectations but those of your partners as well, by showing them that work-life balance is important to you. For instance, you can post your business hours on your website or use an automated email response.

Plan, plan, plan

Planning can be key to good work-life balance. Even if your schedule is overloaded, taking a moment early in the week to schedule meetings, tasks and family projects will help you see the big picture and have a sense of control.

Be sure to leave yourself some breathing room. Taking care of your physical and mental health is also very important, whether through sports, meditation or getting involved in your community.

Entrepreneurship, a lifestyle defined by you

In short, becoming an entrepreneur is a lifestyle choice that can ultimately lead to your ideal version of work-life balance. You simply have to separate your responsibilities from your goals and know what really matters to you in life. Chasing a profit will not make you happier if it makes you miss your children’s first smiles or their little league games. If you need help getting organized and taking the pressure off, speak with our corporate specialists.

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