When you’re a business of one, when does the work day end, and personal life begin?
It’s such a blurry line.
Lately the two have been ebbing and flowing. I often write first-person blog posts for clients about things that happen in my personal life.
Last week after a good 20-minute rambling about my career, a friend looked at me and asked one incredibly difficult question.
“Angie, How do you turn it all off at night?”
He went on to find out how I strike a balance between my personal life and all the responsibilities that pile up for small business owners.
My quick answer was, “I don’t check my email after I leave my desk.”
But, that’s not always true. I’m always wondering if that last-minute source has emailed yet or if a client has an answer to a question I sent over earlier in the day. Why? Because my mind is still spinning.
I’m always thinking of article topics and ideas. Who should I send my next proposal to? Would this weekend’s events make a good story for any of my current clients? Oh, I better take my camera in case I might need pictures of X,Y, or Z for an upcoming story!
There goes that balance again. Since my writing is often personal and very focused on my lifestyle, it’s no surprise it’s hard to simply “turn it off” at night.
So, how do I find balance? Well, I’m still looking for the perfect breakdown of time, but I have found a few ways to make sure I don’t spend all my waking hours at my desk or behind the laptop. I purposely make time for me as an individual; as a family member and wife; and for myself as an entrepreneur.
Balancing Home and Work Life
I am hopelessly addicted to Google Calendar. I absolutely love that it reminds me of everything from social engagements to project deadlines. Without it, I’d be lost. Or, go back to using a paper calendar filled with eraser marks and colorful highlighted text.
Time for Me
Each day I schedule something that’s just for me. Whether it improves my physical health or mental clarity, it’s my “me” time. On Thursdays it’s a yoga class. On Monday I fit an aquatic exercise class into my day. Sometimes it’s something as simple as taking a nap without regrets.
Time for You
Even though my smartphone beeps with notifications from my professional social media accounts hourly, I ignore them to be fully in the moment when I’m doing something special with family and friends. Evenings are spent taking walks with the hubby and our two dogs, or doing yard work together — without checking messages every few minutes.
Time for Work
Even though I’m my own boss, I keep a schedule. Without it I wouldn’t get as much done or be as successful. This is the other side of the teeter-totter. Balancing home and work life requires me to be very strict, diligent and focused. When it’s time to work, I’m working. I don’t accept personal phone calls or check my personal email while I’m writing.
So, how do you balance home and work life? I’d love to hear your work-life balance tips and ideas in the comments below. Thank you!