Practical Ways to Achieve Work Life Balance

22 April 2015

There are certain traits that are common to small and medium sized enterprise (SME) owners and operators. They are dedicated to their businesses, and often have impatience with simply following rules and doing things as they’ve always been done.

Because of this, they are constantly trying to find better ways to do things, and improve, and tend to spend long hours in pursuit of this goal.

But dedication and long hours can take their toll, and must be managed.

Stressful SMEs

High stress levels among SME owners are well documented, and can have serious consequences. Elevated stress levels can lead to everything from minor headaches to high blood pressure and serious heart problems.

And apart from the consequences to your health, a stressful environment is not one where work is done efficiently. Stress can kill motivation and act as an creativity inhibitor.

Practical Tips

It’s all very well to read advice that says “strive for a work/life balance” but practical ways to achieve this are much more useful, so see what works for you from this list.

Figure out your productivity window: each business owner and employee works differently. Some have their most productive hours early in the day, while others benefit from late night strokes of inspiration.

Manage your workload to get your work tasks done at your most productive times and you will not only have more effective days, but you will have more time off to get that work/life balance in order.

Schedule your day effectively: the post-lunch lull is a real phenomenon, brought on by the energy from lunch not being used fully while you work. That’s why the hours between 1pm and 3pm are the best for repetitive administrative work and meetings.

Similarly, first thing in the morning and last thing in the afternoon are times best avoided for meetings, as both family and business pick-ups and drop-offs occur at these times and can cause staff undue stress if they feel like they are running late.

Don’t be a hero: not taking leave and burning the midnight oil can be seen as a badge of honour for some, but don’t fall into this trap. Weekends and holidays exist for a reason, and are best taken to maintain your productivity and sanity!

Technology means that work is now much easier to take home with us too, but unless its urgent, don’t set the precedent of responding to emails late at night, and maintain some separation between work and the rest of your life.

Work/life balance is discussed often, but put into practice much less. Achieving this balance will not only be good for you personally, but your business should prosper as well with the immeasurable benefits of a manager and staff who are motivated, well-rested and passionate.