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How to develop a good work-life balance

Thought Leader

How to develop a good work-life balance

  1. Don’t apologise. It is really important to establish a clear line between home and work, for your physical and mental health and also for your productivity and creativity. So make it a priority. It’s fine not to be able to do breakfast meetings because you are taking the kids to school, so don’t feel you need to say sorry – just schedule meetings and visits for times that you can do instead.

  2. Work smarter not harder. It is tempting to think that the more hours you put in, the more successful you will be, but it doesn’t work like that. While growing a business needs commitment, you also need to think how to make it efficient. Delegate tasks wherever possible to other people in your business, or outside experts. There is no point in spending every weekend struggling to complete your tax return when you can pay an accountant to do it for you in a fraction of the time.

  3. Ditch the commute. Either move your home nearer to your business, or move your business nearer to your home. Time spent on a train is time you cannot afford to waste.

  4. Go virtual. Do you really need to attend that meeting in person or will a phone call be just as effective? Do you really have to attend that conference or can you watch the videos of the sessions online afterwards in your own time?

  5. Set aside specific times each week for family and friends, and stick to them. Saying you will catch up with them after you have finished working on your business is not good enough, because the demands of your business will always stretch out to consume every possible hour if you let it and the evenings and weekends you had in mind will get swallowed up. And take proper holidays, even if only for a few days. You don’t have to go far, just somewhere different with a nice view and fresh air. You will immediately feel more refreshed and it may provide inspiration for new ideas too.

  6. Set boundaries. Schedule in the things that make you happy and keep you healthy, whether that be doing a 5km run or playing tennis with a friend every week. Then make it clear to employees and customers that there will be certain set times when you will be uncontactable and unavailable – and stick to them.

  7. Try to focus on what you are actually doing at any given moment, rather than constantly thinking of all the other things that you could and should be doing. If you are always torn between different commitments you will drive yourself, and others, mad.

  8.  Manage expectations. Don’t always answer emails and phone calls the moment you receive them, because then people will always expect you to respond that quickly. Remember that technology is there to serve you, not the other way round. If need be, put an automatic message on your emails telling people when they will be checked. As a general rule, don’t try to be a perfectionist. In most cases ‘good enough’ will be fine. Be realistic too about what you can actually achieve in a given time period. Crossing three things off your To Do list each day is enough.