7 Steps to Finding Work and Life Balance While Building Your Dream

None can live without toil, and a craft that provides your needs is a blessing indeed. But if you toil without rest, fatigue and weariness will overtake you, and you will denied the joy that comes from labour's end… Buddhist Maxim

It is estimated that nearly three in every ten employees will experience a mental health problem in any one year.  And the problem doesn’t get any easier just because you are your own boss and doing something you love….

Small business owners regularly cancel social plans, a quarter take less than 10 days’ annual leave and 25% have fallen ill due to stress and overwork

For employees trying to start a business while working, the problem is even greater, so it’s important to watch out for signs of feeling overwhelmed and develop coping mechanisms early.

1 Get on top of your schedule

Find hi-tech or low-tech systems that work for managing your daily, weekly and monthly meetings, holidays, to-do lists and reminders

  • Use shared calendars like Google so everyone working in the business can see what’s going on, fixed or adhesive whiteboards, annual wall planners, old-fashioned diary, mobile phone or email reminders
  • Spend at least 15 minutes planning what you are going to do that day and the next day

3 Get Organised

Are there routine activities you do all of the time which you could simplify to save time

  • Create pre-printed stationery – address labels, emails and signatures, standard letters, marketing templates, envelopes etc

5 Create a Filing System

Find hi-tech or low-tech systems that allow you to store contacts, receipts, documents and other paperwork.  This will make it easier to find ‘stuff’ when you need it, or for someone else to find the information without always having to ask you.

  • Use shared folders like Dropbox or Google Drive with files and folders organised by subject and date.  Others are available but work out which ones work best for you and your team.  For these to be effective you and others will need to be able to seamlessly access them, including from mobile devices.

2 Delegate

Do what you do best and outsource the rest, said Peter Drucker.  At the start you will probably be doing everything yourself, but very quickly you need to work out what you can give to someone else to do – either an existing employee, a new recruit or a virtual assistant.  Some of the biggest time bandits are:

  • social media – twitter, facebook, instagram etc…26% of small businesses spend an hour or more on social media a day and check emails 36 times an hour
  • admin and paperwork
  • website maintenance and updates

4 Effective Meetings

Meetings are important for building relationships, especially at the start of your new venture, but they can take up an awful lot of time:

  • prioritise your time wisely – is that meeting important, is it urgent?
  • hold meetings via phone, skype, google hangout or other means rather than face to face where possible

6 Selective Networking

When you first start building up your business you will need to do a lot of networking.  In fact, you could quite easily spend all of your free time networking if not too careful.  You need to very quickly work out which of the networking events works for you

  • Do you like the atmosphere and the people?
  • Is it relevant, informative and are you learning?
  • Can you see how going to this network will help you create a better business?

One of my favourite networking events is Startup Grind, but being all the way in London, it just isn’t practical for me to get to every event.  The beauty of it is that they video all of the events and make them freely available online. Ok, so I’m not getting the benefit of meeting new people – and it is a very cool crowd I must add – but I am still getting the nuggets of wisdom from the speakers.

7 Exercise, Eat & Sleep Well

Many business owners often skip meals and have ditched all efforts of trying to get to the gym.

  • 24 hour gyms, like Pure, Anytime Fitness (I love virtual Body Combat) and great exercise apps like the 7 minute workout and Yoga Studio (my personal favourite for years) have made this much easier because you can fit it in around your schedule.
  • Create an evening wind down routine to get a good night’s sleep.  Keep a notepad and pencil by your bed to capture all of the stuff in your head that’s keeping you awake
  • Work out how to get fruit and raw veg (salad) into your daily diet and you’ll find that you have more energy and can sleep better.  If your commute takes you past a juice bar (lucky you!) then I’d recommend you incorporate some sort of green juice into every day.  I’m a big fan of Juicemaster.com which has revolutionised my overall health and wellbeing.