Achieving a Good Work-life Balance

Is there such a thing for an owner of a business?   

We know that you are some of the hardest working people in the workforce.  You have to be: your money, homes and the financial well-being of your employees are all at stake.  If you don’t work hard, and work successfully, then nobody else is going to do it for you. 

The phrase ‘work/life balance’ is a modern phrase, coined by those who either have the luxury of being able to work less, or simply want to do less.  We know that most business owners simply don’t have the luxury (or possibly even the inclination) to work less.   However, despite loving what you do, you still need to find time for family, friends, hobbies and holidays. 

Perhaps it’s less about ‘balancing’, as this implies that work and home life should be in balance.  They’ll never be if you run a business.  However, what you CAN control are your work boundaries, and what you want to achieve.  Here’s three tips: 

1. Set communication boundaries . . . and keep them

With mobile phones, computers, smart watches and countless messaging apps, it’s tough to disconnect, but it’s necessary. Decide when and where you’ll be available and on what devices, and make your guidelines clear to both your staff AND your family.

Maybe you’ll decide that every day from 6pm-9pm is dedicated family time, but that you’ll do a quick review of email after the kids go to bed. You might also decide that certain people aren’t allowed to call you on your work phone, or that they should text rather than call you if they need to reach you after a certain time.

Of course emergencies happen, and you want both your employees and your family to be able to reach you if necessary, but make it clear to all parties what your boundaries are and stick to them.  

2. Keep your goals in mind

You have values and goals both for your business and your personal life, so when managing your time, ask yourself, “Is this activity getting me closer to my goals? Does what I’m doing right now match my values?”

If the answer is “No,” it’s time to step back and take a look at what needs to change. Finding a ‘balance’ is almost impossible, but if you focus on your goals, you’ll have a better chance of achieving them.

If you haven’t already, write down your short and long-term goals and put them in a place where you can see them regularly. This will help you stay focused and on track.

Your business and family needs will change over time and so will some of your goals, but having clear priorities will help you stay focused on what’s important in both.

3. Get help when and where you need it

Delegating and asking for help can be difficult. However, you can’t be an expert at everything and you don’t have time to be. The best business owners take a close look at where their strengths lie and then find great people to handle the areas they’re not as strong in – or where they could save time, frustration or money by letting go.

Whether it’s accounting, payroll, marketing, IT or customer service, those helpers can be employees or consultants, but the important thing is to find a trusted, talented person or team that can help you.

The same goes for tasks at home. Do you enjoy the time spent mowing your lawn or would it be better to hire a gardener so you have more time with your spouse, kids or friends? Take a look at where you spend time and money and make some choices.

Need help in outsourcing accounting or finance tasks to a trusted partner? Contact the experts at Accru today, with offices situated in every capital city, we have an office near you.

About the Author
Known for a direct approach that achieves results, James is often asked to assist outside of the direct responsibilities associated with partnership at Accru Harris Orchard. He is the South Australian representative to the Institute of Chartered Accountants Public Practice Advisory Committee and is on the South Australian Family Business Association (FBA) advisor group.
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