According to the 2013 Gallup report “The State of the American Workplace,” 70 percent of American workers are “not engaged” or “actively disengaged.”
With this in mind, it is important to maintain a healthy work-life balance allowing for more productivity at work, while setting aside time for self-development and stress relief outside of work.
Consider these five tips to help create boundaries between your work and personal life:
1. Define work hours. As a small business owner, scheduling and sticking to both your personal and work hours will help you maintain a better lifestyle. Rhiannon Hendrickson, owner of Denver-based Orapin Marketing and Public Relations, says there’ll always be instances when something happens outside of working hours, but business owners must set boundaries. “Set defined work hours, and let your clients or customers know that you are not available 24 hours a day,” Hendrickson says. “There are very few things that warrant an actual emergency.”
2. Stay organized. Dixie Gillaspie, an entrepreneur and consultant to small business owners based in St. Louis, says keeping organized will help you become more mindful and intentional with your time. “I’m a big believer in shared calendars ,and I keep a separate personal calendar from my work calendar,” Gillaspie says. “A lot of people only make appointments when they have a commitment to somebody else.” Carving out some time to meet a friend, for instance, should be a commitment for you.
3. Exercise. Shaking off a hard day at work and devoting some time to your physical health can do wonders in efforts to maintain a good work-life balance. “I try to work out at least five to six times a week,” Hendrickson says. “It’s the only time just for myself, and it gives me clarity.” Disciplining yourself by hiring a personal trainer can help you keep the commitment to work out, especially if you’ve already paid for sessions.
4. Get alone time. Whether it’s a simple walk in the park or a yoga session, using your alone time effectively can help you stand still and centered amid the chaos of running a small business. “A sitting meditation allows you to connect to something that’s not outcome based,” Gillaspie says. “You’re not there to compete. You’re not there to prove anything.”
5. Maintain close relationships. The one thing you don’t want to sacrifice is your relationships with loved ones while working around the clock. Communicating with your partner, friends or parents will help ease tensions and will encourage them to support you in your ventures. “I ask my clients to examine what roles they have given other people in their lives,” Gillaspie says. “If you assume that your partner won’t support you in taking the time that you need for your business, check your premise, because a lot of the time we’re making those presumptions.”
In a culture that teaches us to work nonstop and stay connected 24/7, it’s best to always keep the bigger picture in mind. “We get into this because we want the freedom to do whatever we want and then we don’t take advantage of it,” Hendrickson says. “Be committed to it, but don’t feel that you have to be everything to everyone.”