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11 Effective Strategies for Maintaining Work-Life Balance in Small Business Management

7 Mins read

Maintaining work-life balance is a crucial challenge for entrepreneurs, so we’ve gathered insights from Founders and CEOs on effective strategies they employ. From scheduling personal time diligently to blending work and life with micro-scheduling, explore the eleven diverse approaches these business leaders recommend for harmonizing your professional and personal life.

Schedule Personal Time Diligently

Being a digital nomad makes it much more difficult to get away from your work because there isn’t always a set schedule for your small business. This is why I find it beneficial to schedule personal time the same way I would schedule meetings. When you add personal time to your calendar, it forces you to make time for things like self-care, rest, and relaxation.

It makes it easier to allocate time for yourself and not just work through the week without taking the time to be mindful about how you’re spending your time. I like to mix in different personal-care activities like spa appointments, time spent with family and friends, and mini-date nights with myself. This scheduled time doesn’t have to be costly or super time-consuming but should incorporate things you enjoy doing that help you maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Danielle Hu, Founder, The Wanderlover

Maximize Early Morning Productivity

It’s not always a perfect solution, but with two young children, I aim to get as much work done as I can early in the morning before anyone else wakes up. 

That way, when the kids get home from school at night, we can actually spend time together rather than have me glued to my screens trying to play catch-up on work. 

I can be fully present with my children at night and work efficiently in the morning when I’m more focused and creatively inclined anyway.

Steve DiMatteo, Owner, Cleveland Vintage Shirts

Adapt Notification Settings for Presence

As a business owner in today’s digital world, it’s easy to fall into the trap of being always available—just a notification away from communicating with your team or clients. Yet, the inability to disconnect and switch off from work is detrimental to maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

When I spend time with my family, socialize on the weekend, or wind down after a busy day, I want to be fully present in the moment—not distracted and drawn back into work by the ping of an email landing in my inbox. That’s why I’m vigilant in adapting my phone’s notification settings to ensure that I’m not interrupted during “out-of-office” hours.

By preventing work-related apps from sending notifications between certain times, I set myself up to remain present and distraction-free. I can focus and enjoy my personal time, knowing I am committed to attending to business-related matters as soon as I start work again.

Paul Carlson, Managing Partner, Law Firm Velocity

Delegate Tasks to Family and Friends

We all know the benefit of delegating tasks and hiring outside help when it comes to our job, but this is also helpful in your personal life. When you’re operating a small business, you wear many hats, and at times you’re juggling way more than you can handle, but you do it anyway. When you delegate, you give out some of those hats to those you trust and know can help you and understand the situation you’re in.

So when it comes to our personal life, a little help here can go a long way. I think it’s just as important to get your friends and family on board and to ensure you are letting them know when you need help. By outsourcing certain tasks or responsibilities, you can free up valuable time to spend with loved ones, pursue hobbies, or simply relax and recharge. Delegating tasks to others who are better equipped or more experienced can also lead to better results and faster completion times. It allows you to leverage other people’s strengths and expertise. It’s okay to admit you can’t do it all, and to ask for assistance or hire help when necessary.

Clearly communicate your expectations, preferences, and deadlines when delegating tasks to family members, friends, or hired help. Provide clear instructions and be open to answering questions or providing guidance as needed. Be sure to assign tasks to family members or friends who are willing and able to help, and to not force it, as this could interfere with their own work-life balance. This could include sharing household chores, cooking meals together, or taking turns with childcare responsibilities if needed.

And lastly, trust the people you delegate tasks to and empower them to take ownership of their responsibilities. Avoid micromanaging and give them the freedom to complete tasks in their own way, as long as the end result meets your agreed-upon expectations.

Emma Sansom, Managing Director, Flamingo Marketing Strategies

Set Clear Boundaries and Priorities

As a small-business owner, one effective way I maintain work-life balance is by setting clear boundaries and priorities. This means defining specific working hours and sticking to them, as well as prioritizing tasks and delegating responsibilities to my team. For example, we have strict working hours of which our customers are aware, and we choose not to work on weekends even though we have an online business that could be open 24/7.

Another important aspect of maintaining work-life balance is learning how to say no. As a business owner, it can be tempting to take on every opportunity that comes your way, but this can quickly lead to burnout and neglecting personal and family time. By saying no to certain commitments or projects, I am able to prioritize my own well-being and maintain a healthy balance between work and personal life.

Amira Irfan, Founder and CEO, A Self Guru

Take Breaks Without Hesitation

One effective strategy I practice is taking a break without second-guessing it. It sounds simple, but many entrepreneurs struggle with this. We often convince ourselves that every minute must be dedicated to work to be productive. However, neglecting personal time can lead to burnout and decreased productivity in the long run.

I’ve learned that focusing on “life” isn’t just about relaxation. You need it to recharge and gain fresh perspectives that can positively impact your business. So, when it’s time to step away, whether it’s for a walk in the park or quality time with loved ones, I do it without hesitation, knowing it ultimately contributes to my success.

Johannes Larsson, Founder and CEO, Financer.com

Dedicate Time for Unplugged Presence

Setting aside dedicated time to turn off from work is so important. If I am with family or friends, I make sure to focus on the present instead of checking my phone and email constantly.

Corey Schwitz, CEO and Founder, Skydog Ops

Reflect and Adjust Life Rhythms

Finding that sweet spot between work and life feels like piecing together a puzzle of priorities, carefully fitting each piece into the bigger picture of our lives. To keep things in check, it’s important to pause and reflect on whether our daily rhythm aligns with what truly matters to us. This introspection helps us spot the areas that aren’t quite clicking and make tweaks to bring everything into sync with our core values. 

Just like adjusting the volume on your favorite song to hit the right vibe, we need to fine-tune our schedules and boundaries to make sure work and personal life flow smoothly together. It’s all about finding that groove that keeps us feeling fulfilled and balanced. So, let’s roll up our sleeves and craft our lives with intention, making little adjustments along the way to keep things harmonious and satisfying.

Viola Eva, Founder, Flow SEO

Establish Firm Work-Recreation Boundaries

With a small business, especially if working from home, it is not uncommon to be always connected. 

Setting clear and firm boundaries between work and recreation or family time keeps burnout at bay. This could include having a regular schedule, turning off audible and visual alerts, and letting your clients, customers, and employees know when you can and cannot be reached. 

It can also include creating a separate space for work, even if it’s just a corner of the living room, with adequate storage and free of clutter.

Gavon Burkdull, CEO and Co-Founder, Zestain

Adhere to Rigorous Time Management

One effective way I’ve found to maintain work-life balance while juggling responsibilities as CEO of Weekender Management and running a law firm is through rigorous time management. I allocate specific blocks of time for work tasks and strictly adhere to them, designating the early mornings for deep, uninterrupted work. By doing so, I ensure that my work doesn’t bleed into family time or personal activities. For instance, I’ve disciplined myself to begin work at 7 AM and wrap up by 5 PM, allowing me to dedicate evenings to personal development and family.

Another key strategy is leveraging automation and outsourcing. In managing short-term rental properties and legal cases, I’ve turned to technology and external help to streamline operations. Tools like property management software automate guest communication and booking processes, while hiring a virtual assistant for administrative tasks has significantly reduced my workload. This not only increases efficiency but also frees up my time so I can engage in personal activities, teach at the University of Arkansas, or simply unwind.

Lastly, setting clear boundaries and expectations with clients and colleagues has been crucial. I’ve communicated my availability, ensuring I’m not constantly on call outside work hours, barring emergencies. This transparent communication helps in managing expectations and reduces stress, making it easier for me to switch off from work mode and enjoy quality time. Moreover, I regularly reassess my commitments to avoid overcommitting, which is essential for balancing my diverse roles and maintaining my overall well-being.

Garrett Ham, CEO, Weekender Management

Blend Work and Life with Micro-Scheduling

One effective method I’ve found for maintaining work-life balance while managing a small business is by implementing the concept of “micro-scheduling.” Rather than strictly dividing my time into work hours and personal hours, I blend them seamlessly by breaking down my day into smaller, more manageable blocks. 

For instance, I allocate specific time slots throughout the day for focused work tasks, interspersed with brief breaks for personal activities or relaxation. These breaks could be as short as 10 minutes to half an hour, allowing me to engage in activities like meditation, a quick workout, or simply stepping outside for fresh air. 

Moreover, I incorporate activities that align with both work and personal goals. For example, if I need to brainstorm ideas for a client project, I might schedule a short walk during which I can brainstorm while enjoying nature or just set the meeting in a nearby park. Alternatively, I might allocate time for personal development activities, such as reading industry-related articles or listening to podcasts during breaks. 

By adopting this approach, I avoid burnout while ensuring productivity and fulfillment in both professional and personal spheres. This method not only allows me to maintain a healthy work-life balance but also builds creativity and innovation by providing opportunities for relaxation and inspiration throughout the day.

Chaitsi Ahuja, Founder and CEO, Brown Living

Brett Farmiloe is the founder of Featured, a Q&A platform that connects brands with expert insights.

Work Life balance stock image by Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

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