In theory, running your own business should bode well for your work-life balance, as you call all the shots when it pertains to when you work and when you let your hair down. In practice, though, striking that work-life balance when you are new to running a business can be surprisingly arduous.
That’s why, if you are at the helm of a startup, you should heed the work-life lessons of people who have already been there and done that with a small-to-medium-sized business.
Prioritize the most important things you need to do
Some items on your schedule should probably be categorized as “urgent”, while you might be able to afford to hold off others – if only for as long as necessary in order to sort out the “urgent” stuff first. The trick is to discern what exactly that stuff is and then focus more of your attention on it.
To this end, you should plan out your day beforehand – making it easier for you to avoid, say, spending hours mailing something trivial.
Delegate smaller responsibilities to other people
Of course, those smaller, less “urgent” tasks still need doing at some point – so, why not hand them over to other, less senior members of your startup’s team? After all, these tasks would be ones where the stakes wouldn’t be quite as high even if those people inadvertently messed up.
With help from a telecoms service provider, you could have incoming calls diverted to other workers’ numbers while still allowing the callers to reach your firm through its usual number.
Give your workday a specific cut-off point
This tip comes from James Simpson of the independent video game studio GoldFire Studios. Simpson recalls to Small Business Trends: “I fell into the trap of working 16-hour days for a long time and would start procrastinating since I could ‘just get it done tonight.’”
However, he notes that, when he imposed a 7pm stopping time on his work routine, “I actually started getting more done in less time and my business flourished because of it.”
Set up a specific workspace
Working from home has its perks, but also its drawbacks: the usual boundaries between our work lives and home lives have become increasingly blurred. However, you can help yourself to mentally separate these lives by dedicating a specific part of your home strictly to work.
So, maybe now could be a good time for you to fit out that home office, laptop and all; just remember to situate it somewhere somewhat isolated and distraction-free, such as an attic.
Avoid taking on any work at weekends
You should completely ban yourself from working at weekends, no matter what circumstances arise. The EU-Startups website claims: “Cutting ties with the outside world allows us to recover from weekly stress and leaves space for other ideas to emerge.”
Those ideas don’t need to come from your laptop or even your phone. So, at weekends, in order to achieve work-life balance, be sure to switch off those devices as part of what you could call a “digital detox”.