Picture this: a small business owner attempting to juggle multiple hats, spinning plates, and maybe even doing a little tightrope walking on the side. That's me, and if you're a fellow small business owner, it's likely you too have experienced the exhilarating (and occasionally daunting) circus act of balancing work and life.
So, let me take you behind the scenes of this grand juggling act and share a personal story of finding that elusive equilibrium. The struggle is real, my friends, but so are the victories.
Photo: The first time I met one of my latest nephews, half way across the country, making a work trip include a personal element.
Finding my rhythm
In the early days of my consulting venture, my work-life balance resembled a seesaw stuck at an angle. Client meetings, project deadlines, and endless to-do lists created a chaotic dance that left little room for personal life. It took a moment of clarity, a missed family gathering, to realize the need for change. And even now, its a constant battle and struggle to separate the two.
I'm not the only one, and you might be like this too. Many business owners are. Maybe, the experiences of a local coffee shop owner, a master juggler in their own right. Between inventory management, customer service, and marketing, finding time for family seemed like a distant dream. Yet, they discovered a rhythm – a schedule that allowed for both business success and cherished personal moments.
Time management is the secret sauce to mastering the small business juggle. From setting realistic goals to prioritizing tasks, every small adjustment contributes to a more harmonious juggling act. In the face of challenges, be it unexpected client demands or personal commitments, it's crucial to have a few tricks up your sleeve.
Let's dive into the toolbox of time management tips and tricks. From the Pomodoro Technique to task batching, I've tried them all. But I've also learned that it's not about adopting every strategy out there; it's about finding what works for you.
One of the most significant revelations in my journey was the importance of boundaries. Set clear work hours, designate a workspace, and communicate these boundaries to clients and team members. This not only enhances productivity but also contributes to a healthier work-life balance.
Up till 2022, I was still working 10-16 hour days, almost 7 days a week. What I learnt was, if you hold a candle too long, it eventually gets too short and burns you.
While I still put in the hours, and I work when I need to, in order to get things done - but I know have set hours. 8am-4pm - with as many weekends off as I can.
I work when most of my clients work, not while they're sleeping. And thats a fair compromise.
Use tech as a side-kick
In our tech-driven world, there's a plethora of tools and apps designed to make our lives easier. From project management tools to scheduling apps, find your digital sidekick. I'll share my favorites, but I'm equally eager to hear about yours.
Monday.com - offers a comprehensive set of project management features to help businesses plan, track and execute their projects. Some of the key features include: Project planning: You can use monday.com to create project plans, set deadlines, assign tasks and resources, and track progress.
Time Hero - Easily plan and manage tasks, projects, and workflow automatically around your busy schedule powered by AI.
Missive - Missive is a fast and beautiful team communication app, especially designed for managing all of your business communications in one place.
Your turn in the spotlight
What about you? How do you maintain balance in the small business juggle? Think of tips you'd give yourself. Figure out your struggles, and notice your victories.
Remember, the small business juggle is a work in progress, and the beauty lies in the attempt to find balance amid the chaos. Here's to mastering the art of the small business tightrope walk – one step at a time.
Stay balanced, stay brilliant.