5 tips for a better work-life balance as a business owner

Maintaining a positive work-life balance as a business owner can be difficult at the best of times. Dividing yourself between work on the one hand, and family and leisure on the other isn’t easy, and the ‘perfect’ work-life balance will look different for everyone.

This year will have been especially tough as the coronavirus pandemic left many struggling to make ends meet. The uncertainty of lockdown, wrestling with agonising decisions to layoff or furlough staff, and still providing yourself with an income, could all have taken their toll.

There are, though, steps you can take to improve your work-life balance.

1. Unplug for an hour

Technology has made it easy for all of us to speak to clients on the move, wherever they are in the world, and whatever time of day. That can also make it harder to switch off.

YouGov research found in 2018 that 60% of employees check their work emails while on holiday. Your work will likely have infringed upon every evening, weekend, and family holiday at some point.

Your business needs you and there will be times when being uncontactable is out of the question. Start by setting yourself an hour a day when you sign-out of your email account, turn off all electronic devices, and silence notifications.

Pick the hour in the day that you know is quietest for your business. Unplugging isn’t about punishing yourself, it’s about relaxing, and you’ll find it easier to relax if you know you’re unlikely to miss anything urgent.

Spend time with your family, read a book, take a bath. Do whatever you can to relax for that hour.

2. Work flexibly… but to a schedule

The coronavirus pandemic might have meant working from home. For some of your employees, this might have been for the first time.

Regular remote working is expected to increase once the pandemic ends but flexible working – compressed hours, later start times to avoid busy commutes – could be on the rise too. As a business owner, you might be able to set your own working hours but be sure your flexible hours conform to a schedule, and that you stick to that schedule.

Giving yourself a standard, or ‘normal’ working day means giving yourself clear cut-offs between home and work. Schedule a lunch break and a definite end time, even if your notifications remain on.

3. Set non-work targets

You’ll have a carefully constructed and regularly monitored business plan. But have you set yourself goals outside of work?

If you have a work schedule, that means you can have a schedule for your leisure time too. It will give you the definite cut-offs between your home and business roles that are so important for maintaining a work-life balance. It also means you’ll be able to commit to pursuits outside of work, knowing that you’ve set time aside for them.

Hobbies, leisure, and family time will suffer if your work-balance is askew, so set yourself goals. Train for a triathlon, tick off places to visit with your children, or indulge in a passion you stopped making time for when your business took off.

Redirect some of the drive and focus you apply to your business into your downtime and work towards achievable lifestyle goals. Just remember they are meant to be about relieving stress, not causing it.

4. Know the signs of burn-out

Your work-life balance is fundamentally linked to your physical and mental wellbeing. A negative balance can lead to, among other things:

  • Poor sleep
  • Lack of focus
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Personal relationships suffering

Knowing the signs gives you the best chance of making changes before the effects become severe.

Recent research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) showed that just 35% of the 6,000 UK workers surveyed said work had a positive impact on their mental health.

By building routines into your day, with time set aside for non-work activities and lifestyle targets to strive for, you’ll have the best chance of managing the balance between looking after your business and enjoying time away from the office.

5. Speak to us

Receiving financial advice can improve your finances and give you one thing less to worry about. Financial advice can also improve your emotional wellbeing.

It puts you in control, builds confidence in your future, and can give you peace of mind that you and your loved ones are looked after. Get in touch and we can help you understand what’s important to you, deciding on your goals, and putting a plan in place to get you there.

Get in touch

You want your business to be successful and looking after your mental wellbeing is one way to help with that. Financial advice could help, so speak to us.

Talking through your goals can help you focus on the things that matter, both inside and outside of work.

Please get in touch if you have any questions about your long-term financial plans and how your business fits into them.


About the Author

Dom is a qualified and experienced Chartered Financial Planner (CII) and Chartered Wealth Manager CFP (CISI) and a Registered Life Planner (Kinder Institute) with over 30 years experience. His work primarily focuses on retirement income planning, helping clients to maintain financial dignity and independence in retirement. Read more from Dominic...
This article is distributed for educational purposes and should not be considered investment advice or an offer of any product for sale. This article contains the opinions of the author but not necessarily the Firm and does not represent a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. Information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed. Past performance is not indicative of future results and no representation is made that the stated results will be replicated.
Dear Dom, Thank you for a very helpful meeting this afternoon. I always find seeing you a valuable reflective space, not least because you are such an excellent listener and so self-evidently a safe pair of hands. CL & MF (Oxford)

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