Tips to strike a balance that works for your life and business
One of the main reasons I decided to set up Octopus Revenue in 2014 was to spend time with my growing family and achieve a healthy work-life balance.
Having spent over 20 years working in the hospitality sector with major hotel chains and independent groups around the UK, I was keen to carry on working in the industry that I know and love while realising maximum outcomes for my clients, and having the flexibility to prioritise my personal life.
And it’s working. Five years on, Octopus Revenue is thriving and, importantly, so is my family.
Here are my top tips for achieving and maintaining a healthy work life balance.
Play to your strengths. Focus on your strengths and outsource the rest. If you’re not great at accounts or marketing, for example, outsource it instead of wasting your time.
Set your work hours. As society changes, the workplace evolves with it. Having the flexibility to work from home, doesn’t mean that I need to stick to a regimented 9 to 5 routine. In fact, some of my most productive hours are between the hours of 8pm and 11pm, so build your working day to suit. Scheduling also manages client expectations, as most of my clients who know me, understand that I’m generally unavailable between the hours of 3pm to 6pm as I’m out either on the school run, or in the park with my kids.
Manage your time. Set out your daily and weekly tasks in advance. I like to create a ‘to-do’ list every Sunday evening, which contains a list for every day for the week ahead. Prioritise tasks for each day and earmark what needs to be carried out in the morning, for example client calls, and what tasks can be completed that evening, such as report writing, or simply planning for the next day ahead.
Do something that you love. Make time for things that you love, aside from work, and give it the time it deserves. Whether it’s reading, cooking, a spot of gardening, or a trip to the gym. Committing to an activity that you love will energise and refresh you and allow you to nurture the creative thoughts that are so essential to all business owners.
Manage self-doubt. When fear or self-doubt or anxiety creeps in, and it will, work on your mental health and self-confidence. Take any setbacks in your stride and learn from them. Alternatively, spend time with a trusted friend or colleague, who will support you and listen to you.
Step out. Working for yourself gets lonely so schedule networking events, phone calls and coffee time with other business owners to discuss ideas and offer each other support. Remember, there are lots of other people out there running businesses and learning the same lessons every day, so don’t be shy to ask for help.
Make your workspace work. Working for yourself can mean long hours and not much relaxation time, so investing in decent equipment is worthwhile. Make sure you have a comfy chair, an ergonomic keyboard, a good computer and screen, and a space that helps you focus.
Take that holiday. Make time for holidays and breaks with your family or friends. Book them in at least every three months, even if it’s a staycation or a long weekend, and remember to let your clients or customers know as far in advance as possible.
Don’t get me wrong, anyone who runs their own business will understand the challenges of maintaining a healthy work-life balance as, ultimately, the responsibility lies with you to make your business a success. This, of course, comes with many sacrifices made along the way. Just be sure to make the right sacrifices, after all, you can’t have your cake and eat it all the time.