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How to achieve a great work-life balance

The ability to switch off and wind down is especially important for entrepreneurs and small business owners

It can be easy to forget how to take time out from a stressful job and remember the importance of a healthy balance between work and home in today’s fast-paced world; however, managing to carve out some ‘me-time’ is not only important for your health but can also mean the difference between emotional meltdown and happiness.

The pressure to create and run an effective enterprise can keep self-employed workers in a constant state of stress, fuelled by the motivation to succeed; however, this impacts family life and health.

According to a poll by Xero, almost ten million work days were lost as a result of work-related anxiety, stress and depression in 2014/15. It also illustrated that up to 76% of small business owners have had to sacrifice holiday time to fulfil the requirements of their enterprise.

The good news is that once a healthy balance between work and life is reached, there are some simple methods you can use to maintain it. The following tips have been pulled together from industry experts to help you achieve and maintain a healthy attitude to work.

Become unavailable

The presence of smartphones means that most SME owners never fully switch off from work and are always available; however, most businesses are not expected to offer a 24/7 presence to customers. Set up an out of office message for weekends and resist the temptation to keep checking emails, which can wait without damaging your customer loyalty or brand.

Consider a virtual PA

More and more small businesses are turning to virtual personal assistants to provide additional support. This lets you take a holiday safe in the knowledge that your business is still being managed. From responding to emails right through to maintaining your service provision, virtual PAs are an ideal way to keep your business going while you take time out.

Prioritise your workload

No matter how busy your day to day work, it is possible to free up more time by effective prioritisation. People naturally undertake the most appealing tasks first each day, then gradually work up to the most taxing. By tackling workloads more effectively and having a clearly-ordered list of priorities, it is possible to lose non-essential tasks without impacting business.

Wind down every day

Rather than maintaining consistent levels of work that impinge on family or leisure time, set a clear time to step back from work every day and commit to it. Implement a ‘wind-down’ habit that clearly marks the transition from work to home and sets up a positive routine.

This could be watching a programme, doing yoga or taking a walk. Whatever habit you choose, make sure you maintain the routine and train yourself out of the unhealthy attitude of being permanently on-call to your business and customers.

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