Small business owners are known to have busy schedules, many different responsibilities, and a steady flow of important decisions to make. Despite the fact that we may want to get it all done, all the time, the simple truth is that there are only so many hours in a day and so many things you can do at once. Many times, our personal life suffers and we find ourselves becoming a slave to the business, which often results in burnout.
Running a small business takes guts. It also takes a lot of hard work. Whether you are at the helm of a high-tech start-up or leading a generations-old family business, you’re likely wearing a lot of hats and putting in more than your share of twelve-hour days.
Here are some tips to help you achieve this tricky feat.
1. Start off small.
Of course, it can be challenging for small-business owners to cut back on time at work. Many may feel there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done—and limiting work between 9 to 5 can seem almost impossible. Try setting realistic goals for yourself. Create daily priority lists of tasks you need to complete, and stop checking emails at a certain time at night.
Also Read: 7 proven ways to stay productive at work.
2. Consider a shorter workday.
There was a time when the eight-hour workday was considered a victory—but that was 200 years ago when ten-hour workdays were the norm. While long hours may have been effective for factory work, working to exhaustion is not productive when it comes to creative thinking. Experience demonstrates that shorter days can increase productivity. When Tower, a small business that makes stand-up paddleboards, switched to a five-hour workday, it not only maintained productivity, but it was also named the fastest-growing private company in San Diego. Its nine-person team creating $9 million in revenue in 2016.
3. Learn to delegate.
Many small-business owners pride themselves on being a jack of all trades and often wear many hats in the office. Because of this, they can’t find time to break away from work for an hour, let alone a week-long vacation. To find work-life balance, you should delegate some of your workloads to other people. Hire talent that can take on your day-to-day responsibilities. Your focus should be on big-picture ideas for the business. Along with training employees to take on more responsibility, consider outsourcing some work. This can help alleviate the workload for your staff employees so they can focus on key tasks for the company.
4. Lead by example.
Work-life balance starts from the top, so be sure to set an example and create a culture of work-life balance. Encourage your staff to take vacation time and to only work during “regular” business hours. When possible, try to avoid having major deadlines on Monday morning. This can help prevent staff from working on the weekends. Also, consider providing flexible hours or options to work remotely. This may help promote positive work-life balance and lead to higher productivity in the office.
Also Read: 10 must-read books for startup founders, business owners and entrepreneurs.
5. Automate as much as possible.
To be the most effective during the hours when you are at work, let technology do the work for you. You wouldn’t type a memo on an old-fashioned typewriter, would you? Then why are you still manually sending invoices to clients to get paid? When you can do this online and save yourself a lot of stress and time. Automation tools are everywhere, and they’re easy to use, so why not let them do some of your work for you?