Being a small business owner is no walk in the park. As glamourous as many make it out to be, it’s tough. The common misconception is that you can work whenever you want, and you get to pick your hours while sipping on margaritas. Some of this may be true, but self-employed working hours are not your average nine to five. Business owners work long days and late nights trying to make their small business the success that they set out for. But many business owners fall into the trap of working themselves to the bone and burning the candle at both ends – which is not sustainable – and before long, many find themselves facing burnout.
Flexible working hours are one of the reasons why self-employed workers are happier than traditional workers, but there is a fine line that entrepreneurs must walk, having to look after their mental health and the success of their business. Too many extended lunches could result in the business being neglected.
Being self-employed and owning your own small business is one of the most fulfilling experiences that can’t be found in any other place of employment. With that being said, you have to stay motivated and focus on the goal – making a return on investment. If you follow our advice from the next couple of points in this blog, you will be able to find and manage the balance between business success and your health and wellbeing.
Set a daily routine
Make sure you set a routine and stick to it. Spend some time each week to set out a schedule for what your following week should look like, day by day. This should include the number of hours spent at your desk per day, when you take your lunch break, time spent with family and friends and the tasks to be completed to reach your weekly goals. Not only is this a great way to keep you on track, but it subconsciously lets you know that there will be an end to your day. Having a proper routine can also eliminate high levels of stress, implement a proper sleep schedule and reduced levels of anxiety due to proper planning.
Now that you have a proper routine it’s important to set some boundaries. Give yourself a set time to turn off, close your laptop and leave your workspace. By setting boundaries you allow yourself some downtime for things that are important outside of your work hours.
Avoid scheduling meetings after hours and block out your calendar. Try to prevent working overtime too. Is that task really that important? Will the world implode if you don’t respond to this email within the next 10 minutes? Ask yourself what the reasonable consequences will be, and then decide the level of importance of completing the task outside of your self-imposed working hours.
Setting boundaries and knowing when to turn off is important, but so is setting boundaries within your work hours too. You wouldn’t head down to the pub to have a couple of pints with the lads at 3pm on a Tuesday if you worked for someone else, so why do it when you are self-employed and hoping to growing a business? The laundry and dishes managed to get done when you were a traditional worker, so I’m sure these chores can manage after hours too.
Doing these kinds of activities during your scheduled work time has a snowball effect on how productive you will be, and it will only make the workload carry over to the next day. Avoid these kinds of distractions during the day so that you can feel a sense of accomplishment once your workday is complete.
Have an organised workspace
Be sure that you have a dedicated, decluttered, organised workspace that can be differentiated between work and play. Having a disorderly workspace can make your brain feel like there is more work to be done and can trigger stress and anxiety.
Don’t be shy to change things up a bit from time to time, breathing new life into your work oasis. Having a fresh space can help ignite new ideas and increase your level of motivation. You know what they say – change is as good as a holiday!
For more home office organisation tips read this blog.
Being self-employed is a hard job that many aren’t brave enough to sign up for. So, give yourself some credit for doing it in the first place. However, don’t try to be a hero if you’re struggling. If you are looking for your small business to succeed, you need to be aware that you simply cannot do everything yourself after a while.
Being able to delegate tasks to employees will not only alleviate some of the pressure but will also help scale and grow your business.
Outsourcing is an affordable way to be able to get some important daily tasks done and you can hire someone for a couple of hours a day without having to recruit or sign a fixed contract. Not only will all your tasks be completed quicker, but having outsourced employees also opens you up to the opportunity for new ideas, opinions and inspiration.
Set a good working environment and practice self-care
Make sure you set the mood for your working day to ensure a healthy working environment through the day. Playing some calm music can help improve your concentration and level of productivity. As soon as you have set the tone, you will find those once overwhelming tasks completed in no time.
Limit your social media screen time and the amount of news you are consuming. Being constantly stimulated by a stream of information can add unnecessary pressure to your workday and can leave you feeling anxious, overwhelmed and exhausted. Give yourself half an hour to check-in before and after your day begins and ends to avoid checking constantly and getting distracted. We promise the news will always be there.
Schedule time to get up and move your body! Whether it’s stretching, changing posture or going for a walk around the block. We’re not talking about running the London marathon, but even 15 minutes of exercise allows your body and mind to refresh and re-energise. Exercise produces endorphins which in turn make you feel happier, reduces anxiety, lowers blood pressure and improves sleep quality.
And there you have it! All our tips for managing the balance with your self-employed working hours. The choices you make have a direct effect on your health and ultimately, the success of your business. The healthier, happier and more motivated you are, the more chance you have of sustaining the pressures of self-employment. Remember, being your own boss means that no one else is in control over your health and success but you.
Lastly, don’t forget to celebrate the victories. That paid invoice, the accepted quote, the positive Google review – that’s all on you!