With anything in life, there comes a time when you need to find balance, whether it’s business and home, home and hobbies, business and hobbies, whatever. It’s not an easy thing to accomplish by any means, but there are some things to make it more manageable.
When you’re running your own business, it feels like you have all the time in the world, right? Especially when your business is being run from your home, but that’s where you would be wrong. If you don’t put things in place with a great system and processes, you’re gonna be more miserable than you were before you started this awesome thing. Let’s take a look at how to manage these crazy things without going completely insane.
When Starting Out
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When starting out, some say not to start until you know it’s the right time. In my opinion, that’s a hard rule to follow because you never know when that perfect time will be for one and it always seems life is ready to throw something your way when you plan to get started with something. A new baby, an emergency trip to the hospital, you name it, it could happen. So it’s really up to you to decide when and how much you can handle in order to start this business of your dreams. Let’s look at some things that can help you keep things in a manageable and capable state of mind.
First, define what harmony within your home, business, and life will look like as you journey this path of entrepreneurship. Everyone tells you to have a plan. Even if it’s a small sketched schedule of blocked areas, have something showing how you want your life to look like as you journey along to keep the balance. It doesn’t have to be big or long, just something stating what your days and weeks will look like. Remember, you are trying to keep the harmony between the things you find important in your life. Set boundaries, structure business contacts, keep business, business and home, home unless your support system lives within your home, but we’ll talk about that below.
What is it that you want to focus on within each area of your life and during what tentative times will these occur? Will you be working in the morning hours and keeping family time in the afternoon/evening. If you’re like most, your focus will be divided between each at different times during the day. If you have children, you may want to get them up and ready for school, before working for a few hours, then having the evening hours to have dinner together, play a game or watch TV. Be sure that when you are within the time frame for each area, that you are focused on what you want to accomplish within that area of your life. Keep the focus on your goals within each area and you’ll keep one from taking over the other.
One thing you want to be sure to have is a support system. One of the most important is your spouse. You may be thinking that, that’s a terrible idea and they may criticize you at times for how you handle things, but it’s only because they have a different mind than you. They look at things differently and sometimes you have to admit, their suggestions really are the way you should have gone. Now, it’s not impossible to accomplish the balance between home and business if your spouse is not on board, but it may become harder to do so.
You and your spouse are one entity, when you got married, you became one, so compromising and discussions are a necessary part of marriage life, but with your business they are also there as support. You may find you couldn’t even get this far without them. So take the good with the bad and talk things out when they get out of hand. You should never feel you need to tackle your dreams alone even though they are yours and not theirs. I know I wouldn’t be where I am without my husband and he’s made some really good suggestions as to certain aspects of my business.
Family Friends and More
Others you’ll want on your team are those that have been through this same or similar journey before. Those that have gone through the ups and downs of the business are an invaluable part of your support team. Other business owners and entrepreneurs are a great asset when it comes to support and most are willing to give you their thoughts on specific topics.
Then there are those that are there for more moral support. These are friends and family that will listen to your problems, try to provide an outsiders perspective and help where they can. You can’t find a more fundamental group than that. Trust me, you’re going to need them.
Maintaining the Balance
How can you maintain the balance once you’ve gotten everything in place? Everything is in place and you need to keep things going as they are, right? Let’s take a look at what we can do to keep things rolling smoothly.
Image by Andreas Riedelmeier from Pixabay
Now that you’ve started your business, let’s get one thing straight. You don’t have to go in with guns blazing. Not all business are going to take off like a tornado traveling over the plains. It takes time and if you have other commitments, you may not have the time you hoped you’d have to invest right now. That’s the great thing about businesses, you have all the time in the world to keep it going. Take that time to do it right. Don’t rush it.
Another way to maintain the balance, and this is a fun one… set up your workspace like the office you always wanted. You may be limited depending on the building, but if you’re working out of your home, you can organize this anyway you wish. Put your own touches on it and you’ll always want to be in that space, but we have other priorities so we’re not going to spend all or time in this gorgeous set up we just put together, right?
Make sure it’s a space that is separate from the rest of the home, a place where you can shut the door, close the curtain, whatever to ‘physically’ shut down work hours for the day and focus on your personal life and family.
Now that you have your office the way you’ve always dreamed, it’s time to put some systems in place to keep us on track. One is setting work hours. Yeah, you don’t want to feel like you are back at a ‘regular’ job, but many find that it’s necessary and even helpful to set specific work hours so you’re not constantly trying to finish one more thing. Setting hours may actually help you stay focused more knowing you have an end time to your business day for getting things complete.
While we’re at it, why don’t we create a morning routine. This can be as simple or elaborate as you feel it needs to be. The goal here is to start off on the right foot. If you need to meditate to get your mind right, schedule it in. Need to get the kids up and ready, exercise, sit quietly on the porch with a cup of tea, put it in your morning routine to fuel your morning.
Tips and Strategies for Business
- Create Rules for Yourself – If you feel the need too, create a physical list of rules to look at to stay on track and keep the balance. Hey, we all need that little extra push sometimes.
- Be Consistent – As with anything in life, practice makes perfect and routines are wonderful, but if you slip in your consistency it will be harder to get back to where you were. Trust me.
- Don’t Let Your Calendar Hassle You – Keep all of your appointments in one central calendar to balance and organize your life. If you have more than one of anything, email, calendar, etc. find a way to view them all in one place.
- Dress for Success? – Some would love to wake up and do business in their pajamas while others feel it helps them stay focused when they dress as if they were going into an actual office. Trick your mind to get things done. Who knew?
- Look for Weak Spots – Are things getting a little off kilter one way or another? Make the effort to return the harmony you once had. If your kids are complaining you’re not tucking them in at night or spending time with them, it’s time to adjust. It goes the same for the other way, if you find you’re lacking in your business, find the time to continue on your projects. Bring it back into harmony and keep adjusting until you find the right balance.
- When you’re stepping away from work, be sure to mentally and physically step away. Close the door/curtain/whatever, make the area off limits if possible.
Tips and Strategies for Home
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- Schedule Time for Yourself – Don’t forget to take some time for yourself. Whether that’s taking a luxurious bath, lunch with friends, exercise, or even a nap. Whatever you feel you need, make sure you make time to keep yourself healthy and sane.
- Keep Tech from Your Morning Routine – If you wake up with a fresh mind, try leaving your tech out of your morning routine. Many of us leave our phones next to our beds and the first thing we do when we wake is look at it. *Hand Raise* You see all the notifications and begin going through everything we should do when we are at the ‘office’ or later after we’ve fully woken. Keep your focus and keep the tech from your morning.
- Write Down Your Ideas – You never know when inspiration will hit. Write it down quickly if you’re not at the office and get back to what’s important. Don’t let it keep you from your current activity. Let it go until you can get to it later.
Tips and Strategies for Both
- Create a Daily Checklist ~ Write down 3 – 5 important tasks you’d like to accomplish each day, listing them from the most important (or hardest) to least important (or easiest) and then tackle them in that order.
- Give 100% – When you’re working on a task, be sure to give it your complete focus. Something I have trouble with. I bet you have multiple windows open like I do right now. Haha, I just closed them all so I can focus on this post!
- Stay Distraction Free – This may seem like a difficult thing to do and as you read above, I definitely have a problem with it, but there are things out there to help with that.
- They now have apps and web extensions to keep you off certain sites during specific times.
- If your office is at home, act as if it’s not. Home items are left as if you’re not there. No answering calls, answering the door for the postman, or housework during work hours.
- Try giving each task an amount of time to complete and don’t interrupt that time unless it’s a scheduled break or emergency.
- Bring on Additional Recources
- Now that your business is on it’s way it may be time to bring in more help ~ a sitter, a personal assistant, you can always ask for help from friends and family if you feel they would be willing to help keep the balance.
- Hire and train others ~ one of the biggest fears we have as entrepreneurs is hiring others to help in our business. I mean, who can do it better than us, right? Here’s a way to look at this – If you can’t teach someone to do what you do, then you’re not building nor running a scalable business. In the end, you’ll be working this hard for the rest of your life because no one’s ‘good enough’. Keep that in mind as you move along your journey.
- Work on Your Time Management Skills – Everything you do requires your time. Find ways to batch, schedule, or work on similar things as you go along.
- Master Efficiency – Everything wants your attention, it’s up to you to set up the right tools for you to get the job done – schedules, calendars, timers, alarms, etc.
Don’t Forget About You
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I know we’ve hit on this a little already, but you don’t want to forget to take care of yourself. Take the time you need to relax and rejuvenate even if it’s only a few moments. Here are some other things you can to do take some time for yourself.
- Rise Early – If you find you have no time for yourself, try getting up a bit earlier, you can focus on your yourself and get an early start to your day.
- Allow Yourself Breaks – Schedule in breaks to focus on yourself. Your brain needs a break as much as your body does. Make sure to give it a rest as you do with everything else. Play some soothing music, burn some candles, whatever you feel will calm and relax you as well as your mind.
- Time with Family and Friends – Humans are social creatures, schedule in times where you can spend time being just that… social. Schedule a lunch date, a dinner date with your spouse, or picnic with friends. Keep those connections strong and you won’t feel like you’re stuck in a box all day staring at a computer. 😉
- Cut the waste from Your Life – Rid the things that are taking up too much time or are bad for you. Another area I struggle, I love my dark chocolate, but if you want to be healthy you got to at least cut down on it. Other things could be your commute, processes, etc. Find ways to either cut them or make them more manageable and balanced.
Many things strive for our attention at any given time during the day, but it’s our responsibility to create a balance between those things we love to do. Hopefully, I’ve helped you find that balance a bit easier to handle as you follow your dreams, indulge in your hobbies, and make time for family, friends and yourself.
Strive to keep your support strong, as well as your body and mind in balance. Everything else will fall into place.