Balancing the demands of running a business with the responsibilities in your personal life can be challenging – but it is not impossible. Here’s how you can improve your work-life balance.
Becoming an entrepreneur is no easy feat. It requires commitment and effort. It requires passion and grit. It requires sacrifices and taking risks. It requires you to get everything done, all the time, when the simple reality is you only have so many hours in a day and so many things you can do at once.
While the sacrifices may be worthwhile when the business succeeds, often, our personal lives suffer and we find ourselves becoming slaves to the business, which may result in burnout1. To remain successful for the long haul, you need to find a balance between your business/work and your personal/family life1.
Maintaining work-life balance helps reduce stress and helps prevent burnout in the workplace2. Chronic stress is one of the most common health issues in the workplace, which can lead to physical complications such as hypertension, digestive troubles, chronic aches and pains, and heart problems2. Chronic stress can also negatively impact mental health contributing to a higher risk of depression, anxiety and insomnia2. Eventually, too much stress over a long period of time will lead to burnout2.
What is work-life balance?
The struggle of balancing business/work life and personal/family life is a familiar battle many entrepreneurs and small business owners face3. Work-life balance is the idea that your life outside of work is just as important as your working life, and that the time you spend working should be balanced by time spent doing other things such as spending time with family and friends, keeping fit, pursuing your hobbies and more4.
However, many entrepreneurs would probably tell you that their business and personal lives are so interconnected that it can be challenging to find a happy balance.
And some would add that work has its positive aspects like providing the satisfaction of achieving goals, creating things and allowing them to use their intellect to solve challenges and problems4.
The positive aspects of work are one of the great things about running your own business – you get to do things that give you satisfaction and fulfillment4. So, you may be prone to spending too much time on the work side of the seesaw and letting your business/work life interfere with your personal/family life4.
You need to be aware of this and be mindful that you are not putting your business and work first at the expense of your family and friends, as well as your personal well-being4.
Finding the balance
Complete work-life balance is an unrealistic goal, but there are steps you can take to improve that balance5. Here are some suggestions.
Establish your priorities
Make a list of everything that’s going on in your life and rank the tasks and responsibilities, in order, from most to least important5. This will include your business, your friends and family, hobbies – everything5.
Be 100% honest with yourself when ranking your priorities5. Ranking your priorities in order from highest to lowest makes it much easier to ensure that you are allocating time to the most important things in your business, as well as your personal life5.
Learn to say "no"
Some people have a hard time saying “no”5. But trying to please everyone can be time consuming and take away your time from work5. Don’t be afraid to decline last-minute meetings or send an unscheduled call to voicemail5.
Don’t do things out of guilt. Instead, focus your time on your top priorities5.
While that may feel difficult at first, you will soon feel comfortable saying “no,” especially when you notice how it improves your productivity and has a direct impact on your work-life balance5.
The “perfect” scenario does not exist
As a business owner, you may find it difficult to achieve the perfect work-life balance5. But, if you go in knowing this, you will find it much easier to focus on making adjustments to improve your work-life balance, not perfect it5. Unexpected problems will crop up, and you may have to cancel plans to attend a social event at the last minute5. It happens5. Expect it and roll with it5.
Unplug from work when it’s personal/family time
Two hours of quality family time on a weeknight that are completely distraction-free are better than an entire Sunday afternoon that includes checking your e-mails every 15 minutes and doing other work-related tasks5.
When you are away from work, either engaging in an activity you enjoy or spending time with your family, try to completely unplug from work5. While it’s not always possible to do – and that potential impossibility is something you sign up for when you become an entrepreneur – take full advantage of it when it is5.
Remember that the quality of time and not necessarily the amount, will play a bigger role than you expect in improving your work-life balance5.
Hire, train, and empower other people
One of the main reasons so many business owners struggle with work-life balance is because they refuse to give up control6. They fear passing the reigns to someone else, worried the other person won’t be able to do what they do6.
This is flawed thinking, and here’s the reason: if you can’t teach someone else to do what you do, then you aren’t running a scalable business6. And if you aren’t running a scalable business, then you need to come to terms with the fact that however hard you’re working right now, is how hard you’ll be working for the rest of your life6. Smart entrepreneurs, on the other hand, constantly look for opportunities to hire, train, and empower those around them to be successful on their own6.
Why? Because this is how you ultimately reclaim more time for yourself.
Learn to be efficient
As an entrepreneur, you’re going to be faced with the challenge of juggling a million different things at any one time6. Some of these will be business related6. Some, family6. Some, personal6. Every day, you're going to wake up with a long list of people you need to call back or send an email to or have a meeting with, and it's going to be your responsibility to manage your time effectively6.
The best way to do this is to utilize technology, and set clear boundaries for yourself6. Use your calendar6. Block off time to meet with employees, and allocate time for you to work in silence6. Use alarms and timers to remind you when things are happening – from important events to phone calls6. The more you can get yourself in a position where you and everyone else knows what you’re working on, when, and why, the easier it will be for you to improve your own personal efficiency6.
Family always comes first
Balancing business and family can be challenging, especially when only one of these pays the bills7. But family comes first, or nothing else matters7. By putting the happiness of your family first, you will find it benefits you in every other part of your life7.
Creating a plan that builds work-life balance will help you reduce stress, ultimately becoming a happier and more successful business owner.
- It gives you clarity - Stay on top of your business and personal finances with invaluable insight.
- It saves you time - Connect to the services and support you need to get more done, in less time.
- It helps you get ahead - Access funding, guidance and new opportunities to proper your business.
At HSBC, we understand that finding time to balance business and personal life can be challenging.
That’s why we have introduced HSBC Fusion – a financial solution designed for entrepreneurs and small business owners whose personal and professional lives are increasingly interconnected.
By integrating your business and personal banking, HSBC Fusion provides you with more clarity into your finances, helping you save time and get ahead with easy access to funding, advice and opportunities.
Small businesses are not small versions of big businesses.
You have distinctive needs, and your personal life as a business owner is often blended with your business. To support your unique business and personal financial needs, HSBC Fusion provides you with the support of a dedicated Relationship Manager to attend to both your business and personal banking needs, as well as access to a highly trained Contact Centre team who can help you with both your personal and business needs. In addition, a single internet banking platform that provides you with views of your business and personal accounts simultaneously makes it easier for you to manage your finances and helps you save time.
HSBC Fusion also provides business owners with a business package, which includes digital banking tools such as HSBCnet online banking portal, essential business solutions related to lending, accounting and merchant payments, as well as employee benefits under HSBC’s Perks@Work salary accounts. You can benefit from better rates, access to value-added services and insights, new opportunities to grow, as well as exclusive privileges in the long-term.
To learn more about how HSBC Fusion can help you better manage your business and personal finances, speak to your Relationship Manager today or visit one of our HSBC or HSBC Amanah branches. For more information, visit hsbc.com.my/fusion2.