24 Apr 2019
Working for yourself or owning your own company is great, but it does generally mean that you will have to work long hours – sometimes very long hours – and you can pretty much wave goodbye to 9-5 working. While this is great for your business, especially when it is expanding, you need to be aware that working too much isn’t good for you, especially in terms of your work life balance.
There is evidence that working longer hours can actually be counterproductive, with less productivity, more errors made and higher instances of sickness. Working long hours is also likely to affect your relationship with your partner and family. We’ve therefore pulled together most useful online advice to help you achieve a better work life balance.
Unless your business is in accountancy, it’s likely that keeping your financial records up to date is a drain on your energy and resources. There are many apps aimed at helping small business owners stay on top of their bookkeeping, so it’s worth doing a bit of research into the best one for you.
Again, there are apps that’ll help you track how much time you spend on each project which will help you plan ahead for how much time you’ll need to spend on tasks in the future.
There will always be tasks that could be outsourced to other businesses or freelancers. If someone else’s professional qualifications and expertise mean the job is done better and quicker, it’s worth considering, for example, bookkeeping, technology, content marketing, or straightforward and repetitive tasks that you could pay someone else to do on an ad hoc basis, e.g. mailings, packing, filing etc.
Don’t use work as an excuse for not going to the gym, a run, zumba or any form of exercise, even if you’re up against a deadline. When you exercise, you increase your blood supply which boosts alertness as well as giving you more energy. Regular exercise has a number of beneficial effects including cardiovascular health, improved immunity, and improved mental health.
If you are working on your own, not having anyone to chat to can be really hard and sometimes demotivating, so make sure you get to see and talk to other people during the day. Networking events are an excellent reason to get out and about, meaning you’re making useful work contacts at the same time. Moving your office to a coworking space will also give you lots of ‘colleagues’ to chat to during the day, with the added benefit that you’ll probably pick up some extra work as a result.
If you are stagnating in your habits and finding yourself working long, hard hours, invest in the services of a business coach who will be able to get a good overview of how you are working and guide you into better habits.
If you think that being the martyr means being the hero, think again. By doing absolutely everything yourself, you’ll be spending way too much time doing work you could ask someone else to do… or maybe it doesn’t need to be done in the first place.
Spending time travelling to meetings will mean you have less time to get on with doing your work, so try and get others to come to you for meetings as much as possible. If you have a desk or office in a coworking space, you’ll already be in professional surroundings. Alternatively, you could hire a meeting room in a serviced office space.
Some people find that asking for help is admitting failure, but swallowing your pride and getting others involved is more likely to help you get the job done quickly and with fewer mistakes.
At the end of the working day, walk away from your work. Shut the door when you’ve finished working and resist the temptation to even peek at your emails. It’s easier said than done when it’s your business, but treat it as though you are an employee and when you’ve left the ‘office’, leave your work behind in it.