The Work-Life Balance: Being Self-Employed Without Being Self-Sacrificing

When you start a business, it’s easy to let it take over your life. All you have to do is wear multiple hats and let the business swamp you with tasks. Here’s how successful business owners avoid this trap.

Set A “Closing Time”

When you work for yourself, you may not think of yourself as a real business. This is especially true if you keep a home office. Unless it’s a retail business, you might be tempted to do “one more thing” or finish “one last order” before you quit for the day. You need to get out of this mindset.

Closing time is a time that you honor.

At a certain time of the day, you quit. It’s as simple as that. Most professionals realize their best work is done in the morning. And, anything after lunch is “secondary” work that’s not all that productive. By the end of the day, you’re tired. Keep working into the evening, and you risk burnout — a common phenomenon among business owners.

Set a closing time, and treat it like a real business, because it is.

DWI lawyers Kraft & Associates does this, even though they are a traditional partner firm. And, it works wonders.

Don’t Answer Your Phone When You’re Closed

Another thing business owners sometimes do is answer their business phone during “off” hours. When you’re closed, you’re closed. With a home-based business, this is especially problematic. It can ring hours after you are officially done for the day. But, if you worked at an office and left at 5, then you wouldn’t hear the phone ring. You’d have to wait until the next day to get your messages.

Keep The Business Contained

A home-based business has a way of taking over a person’s life, blurring the line between “business” and “home.” Create a policy of no business papers or materials outside of your designated office space. This will help contain your work area. If you’re going to work, go to your office.

And, if you can’t or don’t want to work, then take a break or close up shop for the evening.

No Talk Zones

Keeping the paperwork confined to the office won’t keep you from talking shop, but you can institute rules that limit business talk. Consider making the whole house, and the car, “off limits.”

At a very minimum, you should not discuss business in the bedroom, dining room, or kitchen. You’ll be amazed how much less stressful your life is when you do this.

Get Out Of The Office

You need to get out of the office (home) once in awhile if you work from home. Take some time during the day for a walk, an outing, or go to the gym. If you’re working on the computer all day, this is important. Get some sun, and fresh air, a few times a day.

Not only will it be good for the spirit, it will probably help you stay productive. Studies consistently show that people who are well-rested, and not stressed out, perform better at work.

Steven Maples has always worked for himself, mostly freelancing for web/graphic design gigs. When business is slower he likes to take some time and write business and design focused articles which appear around the web.

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