I remember when I first got the bug to start my own online business. It was a great idea, but with working full time it came down to having to eke out time from my family and leisure time in order to get things rolling.
This is how a lot of people get started with their own business; unless they are lucky enough to have enough savings or investment from the get go.
That sort of overwhelming lifestyle is OK for a while, but it quickly burns people out. Even when full time work is a not-so-distant memory, it’s difficult for self-employed people to find a balance between what they need to do to grow their business and what’s needed to remain sane and keep your loved ones happy.
There are things you can do though that can ease the scales back into balance. Here are my 10 tips to enjoy a successful work-life balance as an online entrepreneur.
#1 Have a Designated Work Space
Most people when they first get going (and even a long time after) work from home. This has many benefits, but it can quickly become apparent that the blurring of work and home can affect productivity.
As such it’s advisable to have your own space. Ideally this would be a separate room with a door you can close to keep out distractions but even a desk in a corner is a good start.
For some, even this isn’t enough and a return to an office (of your own!) is the way forward.
#2 Get Dressed
Unless you deal with clients via video link, it’s so easy to slouch about the home office in pajamas.
Don’t do it!
The act of getting dressed in the morning, is a signifier that can help you realize that you’re not just going to sit around and watch cat videos all day – it’s not your day off after all.
You don’t need to put a suit on of course, but even just sticking jeans and a top on is often enough to trick your brain into thinking that you’re actually going to a work environment.
#3 Leave the House
Working from home and living from home can become a prison for online entrepreneurs. Most of us don’t have to meet customers face to face, almost as many don’t even have customers in the strictest sense.
This is why it’s important to get off your butt and get outside. Not only will this ease your computer fried brain, but it’s a great reminder that life exists outside of your computer screen.
#4 Schedule Your Time
Successful entrepreneurs are great at scheduling and blocking out time for their business AND their life.
Make sure that your set aside time each day for your business, your household tasks, for yourself and for family time.
Having the times set, helps you plan things around them, and helps you actually stick to those arrangements.
This really is a great way to make sure that you carve as much time as possible to interact with your loved ones, friends and for you to take some down time.
It’s so common to see new entrepreneurs holding all the cards in their business, trying to do everything by themselves.
Smart entrepreneurs know this is just not going to happen, because of either a lack of time, skills or just because they know they will burn out if they try it.
Trying to do everything will eat up all your available time and seriously impact any sort of life you may want.
In the early days it’s often hard to avoid this, but you should try to have a plan in effect from day one, that outlines what you need to offload to outsourcers and when you can financially afford to do it.
#6 Put Yourself Before Your Business
This brings us back to making sure that you put yourself before your business. By association this will put your family and friends in front of your business as well.
If you suffer because of being over worked, stressed and ill, then your family and business both suffer too. If you are top of your game, happy and healthy then both family and business benefit!
#7 Set Boundaries and Turn Off
It’s very easy to work all day and into the evening. Instead of being on the computer all that time, set some boundaries for when business time ends.
Make sure that everyone that you are involved with in your business – freelancers, outsourcers, customers and clients – all know that come your designated time, you are no longer working.
You might think that the world will end or that you will lose a customer because of this, but the truth be told is that big successful businesses send their staff home at the end of the work day and those businesses don’t collapse.
You too should set your working hours and stick to them.
The other thing that you absolutely must do after setting boundaries is to turn off your phone, shut down your computer and leave all work related things for the next day.
If you don’t you will slowly start to break down your boundaries by answering an email here, replying to a comment there and so on.
#8 Look for Support
It doesn’t matter if you are single or have a family, you need support. Working for yourself is stressful, especially if your income varies wildly each month.
Look to your family and friends for support and advice, or at least an outlet to vent a little.
It’s amazing what a chat with your mom can achieve even if she doesn’t understand CPA marketing!
#9 Say No
Saying no is hard. It takes willpower and honestly, practice. The more you say no, the easier it gets. When someone wants something from you, the first word on your lips should be no.
Of course, it’s not always possible, and there are situations when the task will still need to get done (i.e. washing up), but at that moment, the word no is the way forward.
Feel free to follow it up with an “I will do it later” if it truly needs doing, and then blocking out time in your schedule to get it done.
#10 Stop Multi-tasking
I think monotask is best for humans, just because we have feelings pic.twitter.com/uLzwSZNS7O
— Locomalito (@Locomalito) March 11, 2015
Multi-tasking was once the greatest way to get things done. However, it’s now been proven that it’s actually the worst thing to do.
Multi-tasking can affect your work´-life balance by stressing you out as it causes a feeling of never getting anything done, which makes you spend longer and longer working to get things done with little progress.
Instead focus on a single task at a time. Once that task is done, you can (with a feeling of satisfaction) move onto the next task.
The Bottom Line
Find the right balance between work and everything else is a very personal thing, each one of us needs more of one than the other.
Still, everyone needs that balance and with a little planning, a lot of perseverance and the willingness to change bad habits, it’s actually not that hard to free up more time to enjoy for yourself or with family.