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Tips for a strong work-life balance

Achieving a strong work-life balance can be a challenge for all kinds of people. But for small business owners, and women in particular, that problem can be magnified. Oftentimes, small business owners are the sole operators of the business with just a few employees, meaning more responsibility falls on their shoulders.  

A 2017 survey by Bank of America found that 61% of women small business owners work more than 40 hours per week, with nearly half of those working 51-70 hours per week. The majority of respondents (60%) also listed “maintaining a work-life balance” as its top priority.

It’s clear work-life balance is an important issue for women. But how can you get there? Here are four tips to achieve a quality work-life balance.

Set schedule boundaries

Setting a boundary around the hours of the day is especially important if you have a family. Block out time for your children, block out time for weekend lunches, block out time for movie dates with your significant other. Everything. This will help maximize your time, keep priorities straight and avoid distractions when working.   

Working long hours can actually hurt in the long run — general exhaustion and burnout are all too common in business. Creating an effective and comprehensive schedule will keep you from being overwhelmed with daily tasks and give you time to spend on things beyond work. And making a schedule is easy to do. All you need is a free computer program and a willingness to do it.

Delegate, streamline processes

If too much work is your problem, try to find ways to reduce the workload through delegation or streamlining.

Identify tasks that you can delegate to other employees. Or, if you’ve reached a certain point in your business revenue, you can hire an employee to take control of some tasks. Another possibility is outsourcing. Many small business owners outsource their bookkeeping and accounting, for example.

It’s also important to reevaluate your work and perhaps find better ways to achieve it. For example, implementing an internal communication or project management system to streamline processes and deadlines. 

Stop comparing

While it is important to track industry trends and progress, it’s not healthy to constantly compare yourself with other business owners. Everyone operates differently, and how someone does one thing may not work for you. If the business owner down the street seemingly never takes a day off, don’t feel guilty if you want a break. That will only hurt your productivity in the long run.

Set your own goals and build a road map to get there. This will help limit stress and keep your focus.

Take time for yourself

Without some relaxation or “me” time, you might go crazy. And that’s not helpful to your business. Use your schedule to block out some time for yourself. Have some fun — see a movie, go out with some friends or drink a glass of wine and read a book.

Even in a busy schedule, taking some time away from it all can benefit you and your business.