8 ways for small business owners to have a break and stay sane

The term ‘work-life balance’ is often thrown around the office but, in reality, many of us don’t feel we have much of it. Small business owners and entrepreneurs in particular will think it’s a bit of a fantasy.

Focusing on your personal life, however, can actually benefit the growth of your business because you’ll be at your most productive when you do get down to business. You probably get some of your best ideas when you’re not at your desk. Plus, working too much can damage your physical and mental health, and can make your team unproductive and a bit apathetic.

As an entrepreneur, you’re actually in a better position than most to set the tone for a healthy work-life balance. You have the power to create a company culture that encourages personal growth and general happiness. In the words of Snap, you’ve “got the power”.

Look after your body and mind

Our mental and physical health can often be overlooked in favour of pressing deadlines. Looking after yourself shouldn’t be a chore, make sure you eat regularly and try not to make it Burger King every time.

Moving in any way can be great, so find a form of exercise you know you can tolerate a couple of times a week. Don’t restrict yourself to the gym, consider walking while listening to an audiobook, yoga, or even something adventurous like rock climbing if that’s your kind of thing. And if your mind’s too busy to sleep sometimes, download a mindfulness app and experiment with 10-minute guided meditations.

Take small chunks of time off

You’re not going to be able to jet off to the Caribbean every time you feel a few knots of tension in your shoulders, but you don’t have to leave the country to take time out.

You can take a few days off work and stay at home - it’s called a weekend! You may choose to spend this with your loved ones, binge on Netflix, or even just have a good lie-in. You can’t work all the time, and our brains are actually working hard while we’re sleeping too – filtering information so that we wake up with a nice clear head.

Get up from your desk

A change of scenery can be as good as a rest. Make sure you regularly leave your desk to put mental and physical space between you and your work. When you’ve been working hard and that laptop screen’s looking awfully bright, it’s good to get some space.

Talk to colleagues about something non-work related (no need to feel guilty, we all do it) or even just have coffee down the road from the office. It’s simple, but it can work wonders.

Be unavailable for a bit

It’s not that you don’t need to be available to your clients and colleagues 24/7, you actually can’t be. When Forbes asked a few entrepreneurs how they stay sane, they all had different ways to put time aside, including stopping at 5pm no matter what, and blocking out the calendar for family time just like they do for work meetings.

Manage client and customer expectations by telling them when you are having time off and how long before they can expect a response, as well as offering them an alternative contact. They won’t be agitated if they’re kept waiting, because they know why they’re waiting, and you won’t feel the pressure.

Learn something different

Learning new skills can boost your brain power and improve your memory. Try different hobbies outside of work to keep things interesting, whether it’s photography, a new language, or a musical instrument. The more separate from work it is, the better - you’ll find you return to work with a fresh outlook.

Reward your successes

Be clear about prioritising your goals and deciding what you want to achieve within a time period. When you’ve had success, take the time to reward yourself rather than charging full steam ahead. Stepping back to see what you’ve achieved helps you keep a bit of perspective.

Do the work you’re best at, and delegate the other stuff

As the owner of your company, you have the privilege of being able to choose your own remit. Everyone has to do things they don’t necessarily want to do, but you can also choose to focus on what you’re best at.

If someone else can do something better, or they have more time, don’t be afraid to delegate. You might even be able to find an online tool that will take dull stuff off your hands, like invoicing and task management.

Take a break from your gadgets

You’re probably lost without your smartphone and vast array of apps, but being able to work from anywhere is a bit of a curse. If you find yourself obsessively checking emails when you don’t need to, put your phone on silent, snooze notifications and enjoy a break. You deserve it, you work hard.

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