When was the last time you took a good look at your health and wellbeing? For many business owners, one of the most challenging wellness issues is finding a work-life balance. When you juggle all the particulars of a business, working 24/7 can easily become your default.
Company founders tend to devote a large part of their waking time to the business, which can often mean that their overall wellbeing takes a hit.
However, overworking can be counterproductive long-term. Scheduling breaks into your workday not only has the ability to help increase your overall productivity, but your happiness, too – as can implementing a designated “stop time” in your calendar to signal that it’s time to shut down for the day.
7 Work-Life Balance Tips from SBOs
I asked business owners for their tips for maintaining a healthy work-life balance that lets them enjoy every day to the fullest.
1. Blend Work and Leisure
Blending is all about giving attention to what's important right now and managing your commitments so that everything you want to do gets done – these small-business owners have done just that.
"My entrepreneur friends and I call “blending” the answer to work-life balance. For example, I'll blend afternoon drinks with friends while we discuss a business project.” —Tamara Loehr, wellness entrepreneur
"I run my life with very little separation between home and work. This has allowed me to be present for just about everything I think is important in both spheres. Instead of focusing on balance, I focus on what is most important overall and on a given day and make decisions based on that." —Nicole D. Galli, founder and managing partner, Law Offices of N.D. Galli LLC
2. Embrace Non-Critical Delegation
Hiring people who you can rely on can make delegation easier – increasing flexibility for the business owner.
"Surround yourself with people who have similar motivations, then delegate important tasks to the ones you trust. Finding people that carry similar personal and professional motivations makes every aspect of life more efficient and integrated." —Munjal Shah, CEO, Health IQ
"I learned to delegate tasks that I was not good at, or that I didn't have the time to handle, so I could spend my time growing the business. The same principles apply to home life. You may find it beneficial to hire someone to clean your home so you can have more quality time with your family." —Kim Hawkins, owner, EventsWholesale
3. When Possible, Disconnect Completely
Finding a work-life balance is all about setting priorities and boundaries and being mindful of where you're spending your time. Knowing when to put down your phone can have a huge impact on your out-of-work life.
Find a hobby that you love and schedule time for that.
—Dominic DeStefano, co-founder, City Strings & Piano
"Work-life balance is a practice that is extremely important to me. I always dedicate my mornings and evenings to spending time with my family away from any work. Doing this gives me a clear mind, which enables me to give my staff the care and attention that they deserve." —Ashley Paré, founder and dentist, Shoreline Smiles
4. Schedule In Your Balance
If you struggle to keep your work life and personal life balanced, consider actively scheduling in time for each on your calendar – and sticking to this schedule.
"I use different colors on my calendar to represent the various events and responsibilities I have, and I go over it weekly to ensure that it looks balanced.” —Paul English, CTO and founder, Lola.com
"I schedule personal time for exercise, time with family, and downtime. This has made a huge difference for me. Workouts go in like meetings and are rarely rescheduled or moved." —Oren Zaslansky, CEO, Flock Freight
5. Prioritize Your Self-Care
Professional and personal success and work-life balance go hand-in-hand with self-care. Knowing when to take time for yourself can make a difference to your overall wellbeing and help boost all areas of your life.
"Find a hobby that you love and schedule time for that. My partner and I love tennis and schedule classes at around 6 p.m., so we must leave the office to get to class. It's a great way to celebrate the end of the workday." —Dominic DeStefano, co-founder, City Strings & Piano
6. Incorporate Meditation and Exercise
Create the space needed in your schedule to move your body, whether that be 10 minutes of meditation, a workout, or even a walk outside. Doing so can help your mindset for the day and likely leave you feeling far more productive as a result.
"Religiously hitting the gym every day is a priority for me. That time alone gives me the opportunity to wrap my head around the priorities ahead of me each day, 600 calories lighter." —Lori Cheek, founder and CEO, Cheekd
7. Stick to Set Work Hours
You don't necessarily have to work 9 to 5 every day; where possible, be flexible. If you’re stricter on the times you work, you’re less likely to end up working overtime and feeling burned out.
"Setting firm business hours for myself was key to work-life balance. I want to be responsive for my clients, and if it's a true emergency, they know how to reach me. They also know that if they send an email at 9 p.m. my time, I'm not answering until the following morning after I drop my kids off at day care. I also set my phone to do not disturb at 8 p.m. each evening." —Ruthie Bowles, owner, Defy the Status Quo
A version of this article was originally published on September 6, 2019.