Work-life balance is difficult to maintain for most entrepreneurs (and non-entrepreneurs) under normal circumstances. When the holidays roll around, they seem to make that balance all the more unruly.
We’ve got 12 ways to help you manage both spheres of your life without losing your sanity.
#1: Get Some Sleep.
We start our list with the thing we all wish we were doing right now – sleeping. Lack of sleep affects your decision making skills, your focus, your mood and your general ability to invest in your life – whether that’s your work-life or your home-life.
Everyone’s sleep schedules are different and not everyone requires the same amount of sleep. Learn to understand your own internal clock and make sure you get the right amount of sleep for your body so that you can approach life fully recharged.
#2: Cut Out Unnecessary Tasks.
Entrepreneurs are busy people – really busy people. Unfortunately, a lot of us are really busy doing the wrong things.
Yes, this is where we tell you to create a to-do list and cut out the things that don’t matter.
You’re probably taking on a lot of tasks that you could delegate to other people. There are also a lot of tasks that probably don’t need to be done at all.
Spend a week writing down everything that you do. Review each day and figure out where you are wasting your time. Then delegate and cull accordingly.
#3: Work from Home Occasionally.
We know not every job allows this, or is even conducive to remote working, but if you can then take advantage of the perk once in a while. Don’t get confused about the concept – working from home is work. However, you get the convenience of working in your pjs (if that’s your thing) or taking breaks to do laundry or, more importantly, spend time with your family. Working from home also allows you to work at your own pace, so you can work 9-5 or 12-8 or whatever other combination of hours you can think of. Another great advantage to this perk, is that people who work from home tend to be more productive than those who go into an office!
#4: Have Some Fun.
You probably feel like you’re too busy to take breaks, but stepping away from your work should be an important part of your workflow.
We always bring our work related exhaustion and burnout home with us. Taking breaks helps to recharge your batteries and sharpen your mind.
Have some fun during your breaks. Don’t just go outside and think about how frustrated you are with work and don’t vent to coworkers or others about your day. That’s not a break. Go for a walk. Chat about anything but work with a co-worker or friend. Play a brain game online – or better yet, do an offline sudoku puzzle or crossword.
Whatever you do with your break, make sure it’s not work related!
#5: Get Organized.
Some might say that a messy desk is a sign of creativity, but if you can’t find what you need to complete a task, then you’ll be bringing that work home with you, or at the very least, you’ll be thinking about it while you’re at home.
There are a lot of ways to organize your workflow. Find the one that works for you and stick to it. It might be hard at first, but you’ll eventually build a solid habit that will keep you more productive.
Likewise, organize your homelife. You don’t want to be thinking about home when you’re at the office. Find ways to streamline your errands and household tasks so that you don’t feel like you have another 8 hour day ahead of you when you walk in the door at 7pm.
#6: Set Some Boundaries.
Work is also going to bleed into the personal sphere and vice-versa. There will always be times where you need to take a personal call or do work after hours. Still, you should try to maintain boundaries between work time and personal time.
You could also call this “creating a schedule and sticking to it.”
It’s also important to think about how much you talk about home at work and work at home. For your own sanity, you need to create some division. Having drinks with coworkers is a great bonding experience, but if your coworkers are your only friends then you’re going to experience some major burnout.
#7: Prioritize Your Relationships.
Let’s focus on homelife for a second. We’ve already established that there are some things you need to cut out of your life, but there may be some people that you need to cut out too. Okay, maybe “cut out” is too harsh, but think about the people with whom you spend most of your time. Are they the people that are the most important to you?
Do you have old friends you never see? Take some time to schedule outings with them.
Also consider whether or not the time you spend with your loved ones is quality time. Quickly scarfing down dinner with your family doesn’t quite count as “quality time.” Invest in your relationships. It will make you happier all around.
#8: Take a Vacation.
Short breaks are great, but there’s a reason why we’re given vacation days. Spending a few days (or weeks!) away from the office is really important. You may feel too busy to take some a vacation, but studies show that taking a vacation makes you more productive when you return.
It’s important to get away from the daily grind and spend time with your family away from your everyday experiences.
#9: Take Some Me Time.
Don’t run yourself raggedly doing things for other people, whether at work or at home. Take time for yourself. Indulge in your hobbies, exercise, etc… Do things that make you happy. You’ll bring that happiness into your work and home life.
#10: Give Up Trying to be Perfect.
Let’s face it, we can’t be everything to everyone, so don’t even bother. The secret to having it all is to understand that you can’t actually have it all. It’s a breath of fresh air to realize that you can’t possibly do everything or do it the way that everyone else does it.
Focus on what matters to you and your priorities. Of course you need to meet your work goals, but overall, trying to live up to other people’s expectations is exhausting and a waste of time.
#11: Know Your Strengths.
Similar to #10, knowing your strengths is about letting go of unnecessary stress. Don’t spend hours building an app if you aren’t really cut out to be a developer. Focus on what you’re good at doing. It will mean less stress during the day and, consequently, less stress when you get home. You’ll spend less time worrying about how you’re going to perform a task and more time getting things done.
#12: Do What You Love.
If going to work fills you with dread, then it might be time to try something new. Maybe it’s the perfect time for you to start your own business. Unhappiness at work leads to unhappiness at home. Why waste your time being unhappy? It might seem like a risk to jump into entrepreneurship, but if you’re already unhappy you have nothing to lose and only happiness to gain.