How to check in on your work life balance
Small business owners already have a difficult and time-consuming job running their business. If their business is open five days a week, they usually need the weekend to catch up on paperwork, pay bills and manage any tasks they didn’t get to during the week.
For those with a seven-day-a-week business, there’s even less time off – in fact often work life balance does not exist (although I think it is elusive for everyone). They often feel the need to be onsite any time the business is open, to deal with unanticipated issues, help the staff out, and ensure all tasks are completed.
Being onsite seven days a week isn’t healthy or productive. It can cause burnout and result in errors being made. It affects the business owner’s personal life and quality of life, not to mention their overall well-being.
Here are three tips for checking in on your work life balance when you operate a seven-day-a-week business.
1. Hire a trusted manager
The next best thing to having you onsite all the time is to have a manager with authority similar to yours who can be onsite when you aren’t. It means you can have a day off. Yes, a day off. Train that person to deal with any issues you anticipate and make sure they know and understand the business inside and out. Give them the authority to make decisions in your absence. It might take a little time to build up the trust with that manager, but when you have it, they will be invaluable to you. Kind of like cloning yourself without going into the genetic debate.
2. Delegation is your new best friend.
As a small business owner, you will have regular duties that need to be done but could be better done by an expert. Doing them yourself takes up a ton of your time and forces you to be on the “tools” more. Look at your tasks and determine which ones are eating up your valuable time. Could you hire a bookkeeper? An accountant? A marketer. A copywriter. a Website guru?
Hiring any of those people should free you up to deal with other tasks in your business, more important tasks that you are more skilled to do.
These outside service providers cost money, but they are worth the expense when you consider the time and energy you will save by not taking on those tedious tasks. Especially when you factor in the extra personal time may have.
3. Start slowly
The worst thing you can do is wait until you feel you’re about to have a nervous breakdown before you think about taking days off. That increases the chances that you will need a day off at exactly the wrong time—during the busy season or when there’s a work-related crisis emerging.
To get yourself comfortable with taking days off and get staff used to you being away, start slowly. Maybe take an afternoon off during the weekday that’s typically the slowest. Wednesday afternoon is a good start. Head home/close the laptop at 2pm. See if there were any life threatening emergencies. Do that for a few weeks then try bringing it back to 1pm when you are comfortable. Often leaving early, or taking a day off is mostly a mental battle with yourself. You may not always have a five-day-a-week job, but at least you will be okay taking days off for yourself.
Work life balance doesn’t just magically happen. You need time away from your business to maintain your sanity and stop yourself from burning out. Having trusted staff and expert service providers in place will help you take a break from your business and get yourself some personal time.