Achieving that work-life balance is not impossible. It just takes commitment and small changes.
For any professional, more so for women, juggling work and home, or the professional and the personal, is a tightrope act. As an entrepreneur, it becomes even more difficult because you are invested in your business or your start-up. And you want to spend every waking hour taking your business forward. But then, you discover that your home life is going for a toss. You’ve neglected your partner; you barely get to see your kids; your house is a mess; you have no time for yourself…
It’s important for everyone including busy entrepreneurs, to balance their home life and work life. Trying to do it all can be tough! It may seem impossible but we give you some tips to juggle it dexterously!
Set boundaries: If you work from home, the boundaries between work and your personal space begin to blur. It’s up to you to demarcate the two. Set aside a space within your home for work. It could be a room, if you have the space. Or a corner table. Decide what your working hours are going to be. And try and stick to them. If you live alone, you could stretch those hours a bit more. But if you are single parent, say, then ensure that your work time is allocated in such a way that you can work productively when your kids are at school. Once they are home, dedicate time to them. You could carve in some extra work time when they go to sleep. If you live with your family, maybe your partner could help you out with the kids. Decide on your timings and adhere to them unless there is an emergency. But make sure to spend quality time with your spouse and kids. And also carve out some precious me-time.
Organize your time: If you have an office space, then try and operate like a salaried professional. Go to work at a set time and return home at a set time. Don’t spend all day and night in the office. You can always come home, spend time with the family and then get back to work in the night. However, remember, you need your zzz-s too. So don’t burn the midnight oil and end up sabotaging your health.
Take on as much as you can: As a freelancer or home entrepreneur, you have more flexibility. You can take on as much work as your time permits. Don’t overcommit. If you are unable to deliver on deadline, it dents your professional reputation. But the advantage you have over entrepreneurs who run businesses out of offices with employees is that your time is your own. You can decide how much work you want to do and when.
Make small changes: Entrepreneurs with businesses to run can get overwhelmed in the nitty-gritties of getting their business up and running. They have financial issues to think about, clients – existing and prospective, employees, rent, legal issues and so much more. Twenty-four hours in a day may seem to be too less for them. They have sacrificed cushy jobs and plunged their life savings into the business. For them, the juggling act can be difficult, even impossible. They cannot stick to a nine-to-five routine. There’s just too much work and ultimately the success of the business lies in their hands. If you fall into this category and if you have a family and feel you are missing out on quality time with them, don’t fret. You could ensure that your weekends are free to spend time with them. Or you could make time every night to tuck your kids into bed and read them a bedtime story. Or go on a weekend getaway once every month. Or have a date night with your partner or spouse every week where you get to talk and spend time together. Or even ensure that you have dinner with the family every day. (You could get back to work after that). It’s about making small changes to fit in time with your loved ones.
Manage your technology: When you are at home with your family or out with friends enjoying a relaxed evening, keep your phone away or turn off the notifications. Tell yourself that this is a time to relax not work. Your work emails can surely wait for a couple of hours unless it’s something urgent.
Learn to delegate: This applies whether you are a home entrepreneur or whether you run a business from an office. Remember, you are not superhuman! If you work from home, have adequate household help so that you are freed up from doing chores that eat into your work time and family time. If you work from an office, have reliable employees who you can delegate important tasks to. Remember, you cannot be a one-man (or woman) army!
Prioritize: Tackle what is important. If something is eating into your personal time and can be done the next day, then leave it for tomorrow. It works both ways. At home, if there is an issue which doesn’t need your attention immediately and can be left for the weekend, then let it be. Once you prioritize and take up important tasks first, you will find ways to juggle your home and work life.
Take a break: Yes, once in a way, every entrepreneur needs a break. It will help you refocus, it will recharge your batteries. It also helps you relax. Your idea of a break could be a weekend getaway, or a weekend spent at home binging on Netflix. Or time spent with your family. Or even a weekend curled up in a comfy sofa reading books. Or playing with your pets. Or a trekking holiday. Or an hour a day listening to music. Well…it boils down to whatever works for you.
When you are deluged with work, when your entrepreneurial skills are being constantly tested, achieving a work-life balance can seem like an insurmountable mountain. But it’s not. Get organized. Prioritize. Make small changes. And you will discover that juggling work and home isn’t that difficult after all.