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Fixing the work side of work life balance

Work-life balance can seem like a myth when you are in the grip of building or running your own business.

You may have started your own venture with idea of working a four-day week. Unfortunately, you’re more likely to end up wishing you could somehow pull off an eight day week, if only it would help you stay on top of your to-do list.

As a business owner drowning in work, you need to take these steps to find balance in your working life and avoid burnout.

Get off the tools to achieve work-life balance

Is your business completely reliant on you? You might be the barista at the coffee machine, the guy building the pergola or the person quoting and winning all the jobs.

If you’re the one doing the bulk of the work and generating most of the operation’s income, the bad news is you will never find work-life balance.

“Getting off the tools” is advice I give all clients who come to me feeling overwhelmed. It was advice I applied to myself after a few years of being in business. The surprising thing was that it was after handing over responsibility to other people that my business experienced its fastest ever growth period.

As the main person responsible for generating income, is a hard leap to make, because as soon as you stop working you start losing money. But once you have made the transition, taking a step back allows you to focus on growth and strategy while your business continues to turn a profit.

Getting off the tools also allows you to reclaim some of your life.

Define the roles in your business

When you’re a small business owner, often it is just you and one or two other people trying to get everything done. This can cause a lot of stress and lead to long hours.

One of the things I did early on to extract myself from the endless tasks was to write down all the jobs that I was doing. I had an office manager at the time and I wrote down all her responsibilities as well, only to discover we both had too many job titles.

To balance this out, I started writing specific job descriptions. I realised that I could completely fill the jobs of three other people and give them the tasks that the office manager and I didn’t want to do.

This left me with the jobs I liked doing or that I believed I needed to be responsible for.

This is a strategy that I apply regularly in my business. I continually remove myself from the day to day operation and delegate tasks as a way of finding better balance in my working day.

Surround yourself with good people

Even when it comes to the tasks you like doing, it is possible to take a step back. This is part of being the business owner.

Find people who can do the work as well or even better than you and your business will flourish and grow. They will bring new ideas and energy—after all, they want to feel the satisfaction of a job well done, a sense of achievement and ownership over the job.

Another point to remember is that you don’t have to be paying the highest salaries to find good people. There are plenty of non-monetary ways to motivate your employees and make them feel appreciated for the work they are doing.

Find good staff and get creative about rewarding them and you will have better staff retention. Your business will flow in the right direction and you will benefit from having more time in your day.


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Mark Jason
LINK Australia, Managing Director