“The currency of work-life balance is a single word — it’s time. As cliché as it sounds, there is no destination. It’s always an effort. You’re always trying to balance it. No one ever walks a straight and narrow path. You just try to cross it as many times as you can.”
Daniel Stoten, Localsearch Executive Chairman (Balance the Grind)
Family. Business. Health. Friends. Self-development.
There are so many things to balance in life.
However, the happenings in 2020 caused a giant shift in what people prioritised in their life and how they found balance. We were forced to spend more time at home, which for some, meant more time with family and friends, while for others meant not being able to spend time with family and friends at all.
Suddenly, we were jumping on video calls with loved ones we hadn’t seen forever, working side to side on laptops with roommates, family or partners and taking every chance we could to go for walks outdoors. We learned what was truly important to us.
Now, in 2022, we have well and truly ‘returned to new normal’. We’re returning to society as it was pre-pandemic, but we’re yearning for the things we discovered were truly important to us in 2020.
The below tips for finding balance as a small business owner are aimed at helping you find that sweet spot in your life and feel fulfilled from all angles. They will even help the everyday worker or busy person so these tips are good for all.
Be sure to share this article on social media as even if it does not help you specifically, there will be someone in your life who it will.
Tips for Finding Balance as a Small Business Owner
1. Utilise technology to find flexibility.
In an interview with Balance the Grind, Localsearch Chairman Daniel Stoten revealed how he tapped into technology to build relationships with his team throughout the country, while still having time to spend on his hobbies and passions.
“We have digital marketing specialists throughout Australia I keep in regular contact with. This used to mean a more substantial amount of travel, but now means phone and video calls, so it allows me to work from wherever I need to be at the time,” Mr. Stoten said.
“The flexibility has for certain allowed me to spend more time on my other passions in my life. That being my family, rugby and supporting upcomers at my old school, surfing, skiing and my newer hobby of farming.”
Switching in-person meetings to online (that can effectively do so) can help you be present while being at home, travelling or even taking a walk. Online meetings being the new norm also opens up being able to collaborate with other businesses regardless of where they are too.
While working online doesn’t work for everyone (looking at you trades, retail, etc.), for most business owners, there may be some tasks you can do from home, on holiday or out and about, such as doing administration.
2. Block out time in your calendar for the unexpected.
Sickness. Last minute required meetings. Family emergencies. Staff crisis. There are so many things in and outside your business that can pop up and create even more stress if you’re already running on a tight schedule. But there is no way to avoid it when these things (the above examples and more) happen.
Ensuring your schedule is not 100% booked every day or week will not only help you feel less stressed and have a more balanced work-life balance but also allow for the unexpected. And if the unexpected doesn’t happen, you then have time to spend with friends and family or on another task.
Ideally, you want to allow 20% to 25% of your week to be flexible or open for emergencies or the unexpected.
If you’re saying, “But I can’t let up on my schedule,” then it may be time to look at where you can delegate or what is giving the most value for your time versus what is just being busy for the purpose of being busy.
3. Know the balance may not always be even.
We’ve all had those weeks where we feel like we have lived at work or doing work. It happens and it’s going to keep happening.
Sometimes work will take up more of your time and energy, and sometimes it will be your outside-of-work commitments that take up more of your resources. It’s life.
In his interview with Balance the Grind, Localsearch Chairman, Daniel Stoten spoke on this topic and how the biggest decision in his career was knowing when and what to sacrifice.
“There’s always too much good time and too much work at times. It’s difficult and it is a balance,” said Mr Stoten.
“But the key is understanding time. There is an infinite amount of time. That shifts as you get older and you have less of it. It means the currency of things, like money and ego, and currency around ego and resources. At times, you have time to spend those things in order to have time to yourself and take stock.”
“Sometimes it means sacrificing things. For me, that was the biggest decision.”
4. Stop believing you must go all in or nothing.
“Go hard or go home,” we’ve all heard it. But sometimes, even just arriving is an achievement at times.
When your schedule is busy or you feel like your attention is pulled further in one direction than you’d like, it can be easy to get into the mindset of not doing something at all if you can’t give it everything you’ve got. But everything you’ve got changes with our life demands.
It’s like going to the gym. A meeting may run over and that hour you blocked out for the gym turns into half an hour or 20 minutes. It’s easy to say you’ll just go home instead or move onto the next task. But that half an hour or 20 minutes in the gym or simply taking a walk gives you time to unwind and spend on yourself.
Now, it may not be the gym. It may be learning a new skill and only getting 5 minutes a day to work on your progress. Or maybe you only get through a page of a book. Perhaps you promised yourself you’d call your mum, dad, grandparents or whoever it is this week but you only catch yourself with a few minutes space — call them and say hi. It makes a difference.
When Balance the Grind asked Daniel about habits that changed his life, he admitted when he finally gave up the belief he had to go all out when meditating, he finally saw its benefits.
“I now meditate and am far better at it, which I realise isn’t as big a deal as I thought it was,” he said.
“I think I was overreaching. I thought I had to be on top of a mountain, shaved head in a gown — and it’s not. And it’s been positive. Meditation has been good.”
5. Focus on how over what.
Daniel Stoten says this best in his interview with Balance the Grind, so we’re just going to put exactly what he said.
“Distinguish yourself in the way you run a business and the way you work with clients. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel — don’t overreach with your idea. You don’t necessarily have to think something someone else hasn’t thought about with your product.
The ‘what’ part isn’t important. The point of difference is the ‘how’ part.
You could go into an industry with such a low threshold of entry — say, a furniture removalist — but if you could do it in a manner — you got people in in good time, presented well, got back to people in good time and followed up — you would find success, I would think, much quicker.”
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