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Some quests never seem to end — the search for the Holy Grail, the thirst for the Fountain of Youth, and the elusive promise of achieving a work-life balance. Finding that balance is daunting to every professional, but when you’re a small-business owner it can be even more difficult.
When the success or failure of the business rests on your shoulders, it’s easy to overdo it. In fact, a 2013 survey found that 49 percent of small business owners work 50 or more hours each week, and 97 percent reported working on weekends.
Finding quality time for family, friends, and self-care isn’t easy, but it can be done. Avoid burnout and improve overall life satisfaction by making a few small changes that reap big rewards.
One of the biggest challenges for small-business owners is giving themselves permission to set work aside. Downtime should be scheduled just like the rest of your daily tasks. Let colleagues know when you won’t be available, and stick to it.
Whether you’re into yoga, hiking, or enjoying a nice glass of wine, make these activities standard and sacred. Don’t check email, text, or answer the phone during this time. If you really mean business, turn the phone off and leave it in another room. The same rules should apply for vacations and family dinners.
Just because you own the business doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself. Identify tasks that could be performed by someone else and hire some help. Once you bring someone on board, let that person own the tasks that fall under their job description.
Give them room to breathe and resist the urge to micromanage. After you see how well they handle the initial tasks you’ve assigned them, trust them with more. When you’re not the only one working, it’s a lot easier to pull yourself away from the office.
Stop Multitasking and Practice Mindfulness
Believe it or not, multitasking actually makes you less productive and more stressed out. If you’re feeling stressed out during a meeting or at a family dinner, it can be a sign you’re not fully present. Practice focusing on one thing at a time — both at the office and at home. It can be as simple as closing out your email when you answer the phone or establishing a “no phones” rule at the dinner table.
Being present in the current moment is a talent, and one of the keys to finding balance. Meditation can help you practice mindfulness and clear the clutter from your brain.
There are a number of apps on the market to help you press the pause button and learn to let go. Once you embrace the discipline of mindfulness, it will be easier for you to leave work at work and tune in to the rest of your life.
Being the boss is a blessing and a curse, but by applying these simple strategies you can more fully enjoy your time in the office — and your time away.