Let's face it—for a lot of small business owners, your work is your life. You've likely made personal sacrifices along the way to build your company: 56 percent of small business owners feel like they can never step away from their business, and 51 percent say they don't have time to focus on themselves.1
Your work doesn't have to take up all your time. Follow these tips to help streamline your time, and strike a balance between your work life and your personal life.
1. Set boundaries
Stick to set work hours. Let others know when you are available—whether it's a vendor, an employee or your friends and family. Use a dedicated office space that is just for your work, especially if you run your business out of your home.
2. Commit to your time out of the office
Forty-nine percent of small business owners sacrifice personal time, and another 33 percent sacrifice time with friends or family.2 Try your best to honor any social commitments that you make. Schedule a vacation, and be sure to take it.
3. Manage your time effectively
Working long hours comes with the territory. Efficiency and effective time management are key if you want to avoid spending all of your time at the office. Assign priority levels to your projects. Track how you spend your time each day and see where you can condense or eliminate certain tasks.
4. Automate wherever you can
Automation can be your ally for effective time management. Taking a "set it and forget it" approach to bill payments, payroll and more can keep you focused on the items that need your valuable time and attention.
5. Delegate or outsource tasks
You can't do everything! If you have employees, think about which tasks make more sense for their roles, so you can clear some things off of your own plate. Outsourcing is another solution, especially if you are a sole proprietor. Could a third party handle bookkeeping, social media, data entry or customer service? Maybe you can outsource some personal tasks, such as yard work, or use a delivery service app for chores like grocery shopping.
6. Keep up on your physical health
Long work hours can take a toll on your health. Make sure you make time for some exercise, avoid relying on takeout or junk food snacks for a quick energy boost and get enough sleep.
7. Learn when to say no
It's ok to say 'no' once in a while. It's worth keeping your balance in check. You might need to turn down a work event if you don't have the capacity to take it on, or a social commitment if you've just had a long day.
You may be fulfilling your life's work with your small business, but that doesn't have to mean your business takes over your life. It's possible to be a hardworking, dedicated small business owner and still set some time aside for yourself.
1 "The Sacrifices and Rewards of Owning a Small Business," May 5, 2015, Constant Contact
2 "Main Street Pulse Report" August 23, 2016, OnDeck
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