Maintaining a balance between work and personal life is a growing challenge for most business owners and often their employees. Advances in technology, the Internet, email, texting and smartphones keep people constantly connected to the office, making it easy for your work life and personal life to merge.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), entrepreneurs tend to be laser-focused on revenue and their bottom line. This focus can lend itself to neglecting certain aspects of their personal lives. Likewise, small businesses with employees might often have a management team that demands 150 percent dedication and commitment from their employees. While these employees are probably hard workers, passionate and dedicated, they need to be able to maintain a work-life balance.
Pitfalls of being out of balance
Having an improper balance between work and life, with work being more heavily weighted, can lead to issues in a number of areas for employers and employees.
Being able to think clearly and work productively might become a problem if you are tired. This could lead to costly mistakes and hurt the company's professional reputation.
Stress is known to affect the immune system and worsen symptoms of existing medical conditions. This can lead to lost productivity and an increase in healthcare costs for a company.
Lost time with family and friends
When you're working too much, you may be missing out on important milestones and family events. This could harm your relationships with loved ones and leave you feeling left out. It is hard to nurture friendships when you're always working.
Tips for maintaining a more balanced approach
Following are some tips to help you maintain a healthier balance between your personal life and work life:
Track your time
There are tools you can invest in to track your time. These days, you can track everything from the duration and frequency of meetings, to the time it takes to attract and convert sales leads. You can quickly understand the length of time each particular task takes through time-tracking software. This will allow you to estimate the length of time each task will take, allowing you to get control and manage your schedule.
Manage your time for the long term
Construct a timeline of your tasks. You can use an Excel spreadsheet to do this or other software programs or apps. Enter dates and tasks, and break each task into components. Make sure to add family commitments like birthday parties, holidays and so forth to remind yourself that you cannot work during these personal event times.
Work on things that really matter
Too often small business owners spend too much time being busy instead of being productive. This is because they are working on things that are not a priority. Instead, focus on the things that will move your business forward and help you achieve your overall goals. Take the time to scrutinize your daily schedule to max out each hour so that your focus is on the most important tasks. This could require a high degree of structure and planning.
For you to live a healthy, long and happy life and have a productive career, you have to know how to pace yourself. There will be times when you will need to expend all of your energy on work and other times when it will be beneficial to take a break, whether it is for a vacation or personal family time. It is crucial to have self-awareness. This will help you enjoy your journey as well as the destination.
Remember, people work to live. They don't live to work. At least this is the way it's supposed to be. Although it might be overwhelming trying to maintain a proper work/life balance, putting an emphasis in this area is well worth it. A better balance will result in greater contentment in all areas of your life.
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