The hardest lesson I leaned after setting up my Brisbane bookkeeping business was on how your work could easily take so much life out of you. When you’re an entrepreneur, the fine line dividing work and personal life can so easily fade. The business becomes your life. Your every thought, action, plan, and available time are focused towards running the company. The other aspect of your life, the fun activities, family, friends, and personal relationships start to become insignificant.
Maintaining a work-life balance has become harder with the onset of technological advancements designed to keep us connected. But that doesn’t mean that we have to give up on getting a life! Here are time-tested secrets to achieving work-life balance for entrepreneurs;
Define your Goals
Having defined goals will help you devise smarter action plans towards achieving them. Divide the ultimate goal into smaller and time-bound goals you can easily achieve. Instead of writing down “Establish the company worldwide,” write “Open my second branch by the end of the year.” Make a series of smaller goals that will lead you to the big one. Your next goal can be, “have five branches in the next three years.’ Do not lose sight of your ultimate goal, which is to establish your business worldwide. But, work on your smaller goals.
Compartmentalizing big goals into smaller, easier to achieve objectives will help you manage your work-life balance. Focusing on the big goals can be overwhelming and can easily drive you working round the clock. Having smaller goals and achieving then will continually boost your determination and give you the positive feeling of achievement.
Learn the art of Delegation
As much as you want to, you cannot do the job of five people at the same time. The feat might be plausible during the first few formative months or years of the company, but it will not work for the long haul. Your body can only do as much before bowing down to burn-out.
Build a good support team made up of people who share the same ideals, work ethics, and goals as you. Create a team that will complement each you and each of the members. Surround yourself with experts and dedicated workers whom you will be able to trust with company processes. Delegate tasks to people who can better handle the job. Here is a more detailed guide to the art of delegation.
Use that off Button
Technology has given us the edge of being connected and in-touch from anywhere, all the time. Being connected is a lot like being in the office or your work place. You can read emails sent by clients, access your accounting reports from your Brisbane bookkeeper, and on-hand for quick consultation from your employees. It doesn’t matter if you’re on vacation or attending your daughter’s recital, if you have a mobile device on-hand, you’re technically at work.
It won’t kill your business if you turn off that button and un-plug during your off-time. Your employees will know and respect your boundaries. Your clients will recognize your work ethics and will respect you for it.
Set the Limits and Follow it
Working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean working more. You can be as productive by working smart. Once you know the specific goal you’re working for, create a master plan on achieving it. Integrate your team into the plan, and your off-time. See time as the most valuable commodity. Set your work hours, work hard to accomplish all tasks within the set time, and leave everything else for tomorrow.
Most entrepreneurs embrace the principle of accomplishing as much as possible, as soon as possible. This leads to long hours and dealing with everything that comes in. That last email to reply, last phone call to make, or last report to look into will lead to another, and another. Your business is an on-going entity. If it won’t cost you the company, leave the tasks for tomorrow, or delegate.
Reward Yourself with Things that Matter Most
What do you love most? Travelling? Spending time with your family? Indulging in a hobby such as gardening, baking, or dancing? Use your favorite things as a great motivator. Work hard is you must, but make sure to set aside time for the things that matter most.
The reward system is the best work-life balance tool. Acknowledge your pleasures in life and work your way to enjoying them. If you need to work eighteen hours for four days in order to enjoy a three-day mountain hike in the weekend, do it. If you need to start working at five o’clock in the morning in order to be home when your kids return from school, do it. Hard work can only be compensated with life’s great joys.
When I started working as a Brisbane bookkeeper, I tried to work on everything, at once. It was good for my career, but I lost in life. As I managed to strike that balance, my personal life is awesomely great, and my career just took off! It’s a win-win for me. And I don’t see why it won’t work for you too.