As a Sidepreneur, I admit that I often struggle with balance. Every day on my 1-hour commute from work, I spend my time thinking about what clients, I need to contact, what deliveries are due, what I could cook for dinner for the family with the groceries that I currently have in the kitchen, bills that need to be paid, the research for my next peer-reviewed journal paper, the status of my Facebook ads and the list just goes on and on. While many people wait until the New Years to assess their life and make necessary adjustments, I am a big believer in constantly assessing and reassessing my schedule, as well as my quality of life. I believe that the beginning of each month is a great time for business owners to make changes in their lifestyle. It is always a great time to assess the processes of the previous month and make adjustments.
The first step in finding balance is to assess how you want to live in comparison to how you are currently managing your time. Ask yourself these questions… Is there anything in your life that feels out of balance? What processes or activities are you doing that is working for you? Think out these questions before you write down your answer. Take your time, don’t rush it. Assess how you are spending your time and all of your responsibilities. As you review your life, you should identify rather or not there are any tasks that are detracting from your quality of life. Next, list those tasks that must be completed, but that you hate to do yourself. Lastly, list the tasks that you enjoy doing, as well as, the activities that you want to start including in your regular life. For example, perhaps you are doing the bookkeeping in your business, but you utterly hate doing it and you feel quite overwhelm…maybe that is something that you should find alternatives that will keep you from having to do it. On the other hand, instead of using your time to do bookkeeping, maybe you would like to include more pro bono work in your business. Make sure you review all of your likes and dislikes, then include them in your life assessment list.
Once you have an understanding of what works for you and what doesn’t work for you, you can begin the process of making life changes by implementing solutions. The following are a few potential solutions that you can implement that I often utilize whenever I feel that my life is slightly off balance.
- Hire an assistant or outsource tasks – When one owns a business, there is some “work” that only you can do and some work that you can assign to others. This work could be completed by an assistant to manage the tasks you want to eliminate from your list. This assistant could be virtual, part-time or even part-time; there are many ways in how you can employ someone. You could even outsource the tasks on your list to independent contractors on fiverr.com, freelance.com or other small businesses.
- Manage Your schedule – Business owners often have fully booked schedules that rarely provide any room for fun which is a necessity for one to have a balanced life. In order to include activities related to things outside of business, you need to write yourself into your schedule. Instead of putting yourself last on your task list, start scheduling some “me time”. For instance, I recognized that it was important for me to start exercising again, but I kept putting it at the end of my list. Now that I am truly prioritizing myself into my tasks, I am now exercising at the beginning of the day. It feels so good to accomplish a task for my most important client…me. By fitting your personal life into your schedule, you will avoid resenting your business.
Finally, as you assess the balance in your life and business on a regular basis you will find that you will have more freedom and enjoyment in what you do.