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What is work-life balance?

Achieving a functional work life balance is a huge challenge for small business owners. This page explores some of the strategies that can be employed to achieve a healthy, long term work life balance that benefits both yourself and your business. 

It takes a lot of energy and focus to run a successful small business. Sometimes, your business commitments can spill over into your personal life, eating up your self-care times and leading to feelings of burnout. This is where balance comes in. Work-life balance simply means striking a healthy balance between your work life and personal life.

The time you spend working on your business should be balanced with downtime spent with family and friends, keeping fit and healthy, travelling, and participating in other fulfilling activities.

Whilst work-life balance is a question of time management, breaking your life down to hours of work and leisure isn’t all that practical or sustainable. A more effective approach is to focus on ‘achievements’ and ‘enjoyment’. The perfect work-life balance means never sacrificing one for the other.

Be a realist, not a perfectionist when it comes to your schedule

Don’t strive for a perfect schedule, strive for a realistic one. Some days you may need to focus more on your business and work, whilst on other days you may have more energy to pursue your hobbies or spend time with your loved ones. Try to remember that work-life balance is a long-term achievement, and so you may not necessarily achieve it each day.

It’s important to try and remain flexible and take the time out to address your goals and priorities. Some days your children or family may need your full attention, and other days you may need to dedicate all your energy to staff issues, or you may even need to travel for work. Try to remain open to redirecting and assessing your needs on any given day; this is the key to finding balance.

Don’t be afraid to unplug

Cutting ties with the outside world and disconnecting from all things electronic allows us to recover from daily stress and creates space for other thoughts and ideas to emerge. Taking that time to unwind and reconnect with your family and friends or engage in fulfilling hobbies is critical to achieving balance and will help you feel more energised when you do have to focus on your business.

So put down your phone, shut your laptop, take a breath, and enjoy some time out. Go for a walk, play with the kids, cook up a feast or pick up that book you’ve been meaning to start for months. Self-care looks different for everybody, just find an activity that allows you to live mindfully in the moment.

Prioritise your health

Your physical, emotional and mental health should always be a top priority. You can’t help anyone if you yourself are unwell. If you struggle with anxiety or depression and think therapy would benefit you, fit those sessions into your schedule, even if that means leaving work early or rescheduling that appointment with your accountant. Putting your health first doesn’t require extreme or radical activities, it can be as simple as consistent daily exercise or meditation, so ‘just do it’!

Set boundaries

Setting boundaries with your business is crucial to maintaining a sense of life balance (and sanity). Don’t let colleagues or staff disrupt you at all hours of the day. Unless your business is on fire, you shouldn’t have to take a call from an employee at 11pm. Any problems that arise during your workday will still be there to fix in the morning, so there is no point in losing sleep. Make sure your staff and colleagues know that, unless it is an emergency, you don’t want them calling you at all hours of the night.

Take a holiday

We all know the saying ‘a change is as good as a holiday’ but sometimes a change just doesn’t cut it and an actual holiday is in order. Plan some time away from your business and consider scheduling the break at a time when your business may slow down a little. Make sure you put a trusted employee in charge whilst you whisk yourself away to a COVID safe location in Australia or try a 'staycation' right here in Melbourne. There is nothing quite like taking time out to recharge. You will come back refreshed, well rested and ready to tackle your next business challenge.