Maintaining a work-life balance is something that people ask me about all of the time. How do you manage your time? How do you avoid overwhelm when it comes to balancing work and home life? I wish I could tell you it was a “simple process.” Instead, it’s really an ever-evolving process, which is fine as long as you embrace that and are always mindful of adjusting.
Here are a few Must-Dos to have any chance of creating a work-life balance that will grow with you as your business grows.
Set office hours.
What do mine look like? I wake by 6am and spend time getting my daughter ready for the day. Nanny arrives by 7:30am. I usually grab breakfast and do a few chores around the house like vacuuming and starting laundry. By 8am, I am in the office.
- My office hours are M-Th 8am-2pm. Fridays 8am-12pm.
- Last year, I took Thursdays completely off from any client-facing work.
I include this information in my welcome packet and onboarding documents. My clients know when they can reach me and how long to expect for my responses.
I close down for the weekend — and you should too. If you choose to work on the weekends — that is entirely up to you, but I recommend that you do not advertise that to clients. Set email responses to send on Monday morning. Post project updates in your PM tool on Monday morning (vs mid-day on a Saturday). You want to set boundaries that your clients can respect. There’s no point in setting boundaries that you break — that sends a less-than-confident message.
Current VAs or OBMs cannot stress this enough. Take time off. Just because you are your own boss doesn’t mean that you don’t get vacation time — in fact it means you get MORE of it and if you’re not building that into your quarterly and annual planning, then you need to start doing that right now.
Take vacations with your family…even if that means you are doing a stay-cation in your own backyard. Unplug to avoid burnout.
Create systems in your business.
Creating systems in your business will allow you to identify ways to automate processes and prepare to delegate tasks to other team members as you grow. No business can reach its full potential without automation and delegation. Yes, you will eventually need a team. Does this mean a full-time employee? Oh heck no! This might mean a virtual assistant or a social media manager for a few hours a week to start…eventually, that will grow as you continue to grow. And, if you build the systems now, in the early stages, you will be that much more efficient when you are ready to grow your team.
Use your calendar.
I must heartily express: use your calendar with respect. Block time for lunch. Block time for self-care. Block time for dental appointments. Don’t say “yes” to every single request from a client on their terms. You have to respect yourself first. Time to step into that CEO role. Does an appointment request truly fit with your schedule? You should absolutely be flexible to a degree, but if you are continually making accommodations for everyone else, you will burn out — trust me. Do not make this mistake. Use your darn calendar, Karen!
Right now, if you haven’t started your business already, you’re probably brimming with ideas. Luckily, I was once there too. So, I know you can do it, you totally can jump-start that biz!