Owning your own business can deliver the ultimate in freedom and creativity. You can pivot immediately in response to market demand and your own creative interests. You can hire a team that reflects a business culture that’s respectful, inspired, and collaborative. Your hand-picked employees may feel like family and in some cases your small business is indeed comprised of close family as well as trusted friends. Though there’s nothing that compares to the self-actualization possible with a small business, self-care for small business owners is critical to long-term success. How to balance work and life becomes crucial when there is no official quitting time and any salary increases are strictly due to your own hard work and planning. Below are some practical tips for avoiding small business burnout while still keeping your head and heart in the game.
To balance work and life, go with the flow (circadian flow, that is). Circadian rhythm is your body’s master clock and is largely related to how organisms (including us) respond to light and darkness. All organisms have one. The circadian rhythm of a blooming flower regulates when petals open and close. The circadian rhythm of squirrels dictates their active phases at dawn and dusk.
Your circadian rhythm affects physical and mental activity. It’s our body’s way of prioritizing and optimizing activities during a 24-hour period, including optimal times for sleep and rest, alertness and mental tasks, and physical activities. When you’re a small business owner you’re most likely executing tasks involving:
So many different responsibilities can feel like having 10 jobs in one, so compartmentalizing can be key to slowing down and avoiding small business burnout. Be aware of the most productive times of day (or night) for you in each of your mission critical business areas. Maximize efficiency and optimize your downtime by executing tasks during the time of day when you’re most ready for that work. You can’t control when an employee needs your emotional support or when a financial crisis needs to be addressed, but for daily tasks you can plan, like balancing the books, conducting interviews, or putting together proposals, take a moment to consider your internal clock. Proponents predict you’ll sleep better at night and feel more satisfied during the day.
As a small business owner you’re in a unique position to partner with your team to maximize retention and job fulfillment. Assume your team is a lot like you—looking to balance work and life, enjoy their family and friends, and feel engaged and energized by their work. Encourage employees to slow down in order to stay hungry.
Decide what works for your business as far as in-person vs remote work, when to schedule meetings, and how your team likes to bond and be rewarded. A healthy and collaborative team dynamic affects everyone at all levels. Say “yes” to what you can and say “no” to bad attitudes and toxic team members. A few areas to explore:
Encourage fulfillment among you and your team with gifts that encourage them to say slow down and focus on quality of life within the workplace. We like these:
Outdoor Wellness Set with Hand Sanitizer: They’ll know you’re serious about wanting them to get out and smell the roses when you give them this kit, complete with sunscreen and insect repellant.
Color Therapy® Adult Coloring Book – 24 Pages: You might not hand this out at with their new hire paperwork but on the other hand, a great way to add credibility to your “make time to slow down” message.
Metallic Fanny Pack: Encourage them to take a hike now and then with a fanny pack that’s high on fashion and function.
Full Color 11 oz. Gia Stainless Steel Wine Glass with Lid: Let them know you’re serious about your team quitting early before the big holiday, with this wine tumbler made for elegant sipping outside.
Success is on your side when you balance work and life and encourage your team to do the same. Keep in mind that balance is personal. A 12-hour day may be your happy place, or a daily six-hour, full throttle “get in get out” may be your speed. There is no one size that fits all when it comes to avoiding burnout. Stay aware and mindful of your needs and those of your team. Whether it’s an hourly break for meditation or a meeting-free Friday company-wide once a month, seeking balance and making time to slow down makes the journey even more fun than the destination.
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