Striking a perfect work-life-balance has been a constant battle for business owners new and old, for generations. Today, as we adjust to the new normal of working from home, the true essence of ‘work-life-balance’ is lost somewhere between 24/7 on all days, but perhaps it is imperative that we make a conscious effort in creating our own barriers before we work ourselves to the bone and burnout.
While we try to find the equilibrium between our personal and professional life, the key is to find a rhythm that blends both sides. Here are a few ways that I have improvised my daily routine which has helped me bring some method to the madness.
The importance of a schedule and prioritising
We schedule a time for business meetings, don’t we? So why not take the same approach and prioritise our personal well-being. Schedule calendar reminders for catching up with your family, meeting a friend over coffee, organise a monthly date night with your spouse/partner, or schedule time for some therapeutic me-time activities such as running, gardening, or meditation. It is important that we give time to things we value the most for sustainable business growth. This is how we can maintain our sanity.
Outsource when and where necessary
As small business owners, we tend to take up all the work that needs attention for obvious reasons to cut costs anywhere possible. When I started, I was the designer, the administrator, the accountant, the content developer, the marketing officer, the hustler in all possible ways. Some of the most challenging aspect as new business owners is hiring new employees, focus on growing revenue and profit, provide healthcare facilities, and managing cash flow.
According to Deloitte’s outsourcing survey, 59% of businesses surveyed preferred to outsource to cut costs, while 57% said that it helped them enable focus on core business, and 31% outsourced to enhance service quality. I have experienced that outsourcing can help us address all the challenges, as we could do away with the need for hiring employees and providing employee healthcare benefits yet continue to focus on the core business. I have come to realise that I don’t need to be an expert at all things. An increasing number of business owners prefer to outsource for some essential and non-essential business functions to streamline workflow, increase efficiency, and most commonly seek for support in areas like accounting, IT services, and digital marketing responsibilities.
And, this is not just applicable at work. At home, when I find myself in a situation where I don’t enjoy cooking or have no time for laundry, I delegate the household chores. I remember as kids, my mother who operates a private school was extremely busy every day, yet she managed to raise three kids with her amazing management skills. She had an allowance system for all the siblings for completing simple household chores like cleaning the glass windows, grocery shopping, maintaining the garden, and a few others.
Take small breaks
A study of the small businesses conducted by YouGov in 2018 highlights that 54 percent of small business owners spend six to seven days a week on their business, with more than 28 percent working seven days a week. It is true that we find it extremely difficult to switch off or unplug as we tend to multi-task, however, as business owners, we must understand that we can only succeed if we stay healthy – mentally, physically, and emotionally. We need to pause, reflect, and do a self-assessment on our personal and professional growth. Ensure that we are very much present to what we are doing and spend some time in self-care, take regular breaks, or a vacation with family or friends to unwind and unplug. In today’s new normal, taking small breaks and taking time away from work, could be as simple as taking a 30-minute walk after lunch or a quick run ensuring that we have a productive day.
Learn from Gen -Y
The concept of work-life balance has been redefined in the past few years by the Gen-Z and the millennials. In the past decades, working for longer hours meant higher productivity, being ambitious, leading to promotions and pay rise. However, today, it is perceived as a dangerous, unhealthy, and inefficient way to work. The demand for flexibility and the ability to work remotely is more than it was ever before. This is why transitioning to the new normal way of working from home was not that difficult for this generation who have already found a way through it.
According to research conducted by The Hays Group, the benefits of getting the work-life balance right has a real impact on a company’s efficiency and its ability to maintain staff. According to the Get Response survey, 90% of business owners work during weekends, 69 % respond to their emails, and texts outside business hours and 16% haven’t taken a vacation for over 4 years, but when asked if they would like to return to the corporate work, yet 61% say they’ll never go back to the 9-5 because they now have a better work-life balance.
As business owners we get caught in between the never-ending cycle like growing our business, ticking off the to-do list, getting new leads, and the juggle between personal and work life. We can never find a perfect balance that could be applied to all business owners, however, it is imperative that we bring harmony in our way in order to perform to the best of our abilities.