I was recently at a networking event with other business owners and the topic of work/life balance came up. We were all discussing how important it is to achieve that elusive mix of good business practices and strong personal health and wellbeing. One person in particular said they had never felt like their work-life balance was really working, even though they had made significant changes to their routine over time. We then discussed some examples of how we could achieve more balance in our own lives and businesses.
The first thing to understand is why a work-life balance is important.
If you're running a private practice, it's important to understand that a work-life balance is not just about getting more time for yourself. It's about being a better parent, partner and friend. It can help you be more productive at work too!
Why is this? The short answer is: if your mind and body are tired from too much stress and lack of sleep, they can't perform well enough at their jobs or in their personal relationships, they feel frustrated and stressed out - which leads right back around to feeling like all the responsibilities are overwhelming them again. This cycle repeats itself until either something breaks (like someone quits) or someone figures out how to break the cycle with some kind of change (like taking care of themselves).
Next, focus on what it will mean for your business.
Now that you've decided to make a change in your life, it's important to think about where you will find balance. First and foremost, ask yourself why this is important for you. Is it because of your family and friends? Your health? Your business? The answers may be different for each person, but once you settle on why work-life balance is important for YOU personally, then it's easier to plan how best to achieve it.
Next focus on what achieving work-life balance will mean for your business. If there are ways that maintaining an even keel would help with patients or even just being able to take care of them better, then those reasons should definitely be considered when making choices about how much time needs to be spent on any given thing at any giving moment during the day or week.
Set realistic expectations.
Set realistic expectations for yourself and your family. You're not going to get everything done in a day, and you shouldn't expect yourself to do so. Try to set reasonable goals that match your workload, and don't be afraid to ask for help - it's ok! It's also ok to take a break once in a while.
Don't try to do everything at once. It's easy in the beginning stages of starting up your practice (or any new business) that you want everything done right now, but this isn't always possible or even good for the quality of your work. Instead of trying to hit all the milestones at once, pick one thing that needs attention and focus on it until it's completed before moving onton another task or project. This will lead towards better results over time as well as less stress which will allow us all more time away from our work lives when we need it most.
Put the right systems and processes in place.
Put the right systems and processes in place. If you want to achieve a work-life balance; you'll need to make sure that your business isn't getting in the way of your personal life. Whether it's using templates for common documents or using technologies like online calenders and task management apps, putting systems and processes into place will help manage your work week more efficiently.
Use technology to streamline tasks that are routine or monotonous (e.g. creating invoices).
Schedule appointments ahead of time so that they're not lost in a flurry of last-minute requests on Friday afternoon when everyone is trying to get out early for the weekend (and before anyone has time to think about their availability). This also helps to ensyre there's not too much pressure put on one particular day of the week by giving employees more control over their schedules from week to week instead of shoehorning everything into an already crowded Monday through Friday schedule with no flexibility whatsoever!
Get rid of the mundane tasks.
It's important to identify the tasks that you don't need to do yourself and therefore should outsource. The main ones include:
- Administrative tasks, such as filing correspondance; data entry and updating your CRM system; and organising meetings, events, etc. This includes sending out invoices and other administrative tasks that can be eaily outsourced to a virtual assistance (VA). If you have an in-house receptionist or if you use online services, this will take some time out of your day.
- Marketing activites like blogging and social media management can also be outsourced with the help of services like Hootsuite. These tools make it easy for non-marketing professionals to manage their own social media accounts effectively - and at a fraction of the cost!
Hire expert help.
Hiring expert help is a great first step in achieving a work-life balance as an entrepreneur, because it helps you focus on your business and not the grunt work. You could hire:
- A bookkeeper to keep track of your finances and pay bills for you
- A virtual assistance to help with administrative tasks
- A solicitor or accountant who will take care of legal or tax issues related to your company
Outsource where possible.
You can outsource everything you don't enjoy doing. That's right, I mean everything. As a general rule of thumb, if it's not a task that brings you joy or helps your business grow in some way, then it doesn't need to be done by you directly.
- Create social media content? Hire someone else to do that for you.
- Write blog posts and emails? Outsource it!
- Making appointments? Have an assistant do this instead of yourself (even if they aren't full-time).
Use technology to work smarter.
To work smarter, use technology to automate mundane tasks, help you work from anywhere and manage your time more effectively. You might also want to consider using technology to help you stay organised and be more efficient.
Enjoying a more even work-life balance going forward.
To achieve a work-life balance, it's importanmt to set the right boundaries. You should also put systems and processes in place to make sure that your practice runs smoothly. In addition, you should get rid of mundane tasks that take up too much of your time so you can focus on what matters: delivering great results for your patients.
If there are tasks that come up regularly - like financial reporting or accounting - it may be worth hiring someone to do them on your behalf so they don't eat into your valuable time with patients. If this isn't an option, then consider these tasks entirely so they're not cluttering up your days or taking away from any sleep!
If technology could help us run our practices better without having as much impact on personal lives, would we want it? Absolutely! As part of achieving a good work-life balance, we much embrace new technologies into our daily lives where possible; these will allow us to work smarter AND faster so we have more free time outside working hours.
As you can see, there are a number of things you can do to achieve a better balance between work and life. By setting realistic expectations, outsourcing the mundane tasks, hiring expert help and using technology to work smarter, you'll find that your business becomes more efficient and less stressful.