Work-Life balance: Do you have it?
I started writing this blog on a beautiful beach in the Isle of Wight. My son and husband are swimming in the sea and I’m surrounded by sand castles, Thomas mini trains on adventures and a curious looking shell that seems to move every time I look away.
I love holidays and making memories with my family, but I am a bit of a workaholic. I love being a Virtual Assistant (VA). I only work with people I like (which makes my job 10 times easier), I love the flexibility of my job and I really do enjoy the work I do. From admin to social media, from newsletters to research projects; I love it all! I get to do a job I have always dreamed of, that works around my son.
But striking a balance between work and home is essential – for you as much as anyone else! Us small business owners and entrepreneurs work bloody hard! It’s important to remember why and establish a healthy work life balance.
For me, I started Eastop-Scopes Virtual Assistants to be able to do a job that I know I am good at, but without compromising on my availability as a mum. I didn’t want to be an unreliable worker and the corporate world doesn’t like carers leave, kid’s sports days or school holidays. Being self employed gives me the flexibility I need to strike a balance between my home life and work; without resenting either.
But how do you achieve a healthy work-life balance?
For me, there are 4 key factors to helping me maintain a healthy work-life balance. It’s all about time management, building a support team and learning to let go; whilst always remembering why.
No work-life balance can be achieved without planning and putting boundaries in place. Your time is precious and so it needs to be managed. Diarise your working time, networking time, business development time, etc. You should also save time for non-work, self care and family! Don’t forget to put back up plans and strategies into place for when you are feeling unmotivated, unwell or for when procrastination rears it’s ugly head!
Building a support team
No one can do it all alone. Fact.
Whether you outsource tasks like accounting or admin; whether you network locally or nationally; or whether you have a personal support network of friends/family; you need a support team.
I’m really lucky. I have a supportive husband, great local business network, fab clients and an amazing team of associates; and that’s just to name a few! I also outsource my accounts and other elements of my business; giving me a strong support team to help me and my business grow. By outsourcing I am better able to focus on my workload and achieve that healthy work-life balance.
Learning to let go
Outsourcing is a tricky thing. It takes a lot of trust and a huge leap of faith. Start small with little pieces of work or projects, and then as your trust builds so can the amount you outsource. Set generous deadlines in case you are let down or not happy with the work completed so that you have enough time to rectify mistakes without putting pressure on yourself. As you learn that these are not needed you can make deadlines timelier.
Seek recommendations for those you are outsourcing to, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Most importantly, go at your own pace and trust your gut. Those you outsource to will become vital members of your support team, so it is important that you like them, trust them and believe in what they do wholeheartedly.
Learning to let go is not just about outsourcing though. As small business owners we often give ourselves unrealistic expectations and can find it hard to demonstrate our worth. The art of saying no is one I am still learning, but it is really important when striking a balance between your work and home life. There is a huge pressure when running your own business, and so learning to let go of unrealistic expectations, clients that don’t match your ethos or societal obligations is essential. Don’t be afraid of letting go; be it through delegating, adjusting your expectations or by developing personally or professionally so that you are more comfortable establishing yourself in your role.
In moments when self-employment is tough, or when home life is rocky, remembering why can really help. Remembering why you started your business, and what you love about it, can help maintain a healthy work-life balance. It helps to keep you on track, reinforces your boundaries and keeps you motivated.
My why is currently splashing about in the sea, and whenever my work-life balance becomes out of sync all I have to do is remember why.
I’d love to hear how you strike a healthy work-life balance. If there’s anything in this blog you would like to talk about us with, or if you’d like to start your outsourcing journey, contact us today.