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Pursuing that elusive work/life balance

work life balance

So, your business is booming and you are working every hour God sends? In our last business loans UK blog we looked at some of the changes that could potentially help small businesses. Many of these are legislative and are out of our hands. But one thing that we can take control of is the way we work!

We have come up with Top Ten Tips to help you regain control of your work/life balance!

  1. Happy Hour
  2. Let’s bring the fun back into work! So often we are too busy to exchange pleasantries with colleagues - yet the old proverb “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” remains true to this day! Build in an agreed time to your working day for a bit of socialisation! It will give everyone something to look forward to and will avoid ongoing distractions during the working day.
  3. Email
  4. Similarly why not build in specific slots during day to deal with email and social media? If they are on all the time they can become a constant distraction, and they also bring in the “tyranny of the immediate” rule - niggling away at you until you have replied. But that can then sidetrack you into a whole different set of priorities from what you had planned. So make a deal with yourself to allocate certain slots during the day to deal with email and social networking and keep them closed for the rest of the day!
  5. Phone calls
  6. We’ve all wasted hours playing telephone tag! If you do need to speak to someone direct, book a time with them in advance when you can have that conversation. Block out the time and ensure you are prepped and ready to make or take the call. This is much more effective than either wasting time trying to get hold of someone, or having them call you and you don’t have all the necessary information to hand. Either way, you just need to do the whole thing all over again so be smart about phone calls!
  7. Conference calls
  8. Whilst on the subject of phone calls, they are often an effective substitute for face to face meetings. Unless a face to face is absolutely essential, a conference or video conference call can work just as well. It also saves time all round, and also travelling costs. A much better option if it suits the circumstances.
  9. File as you go
  10. Be careful not to fall behind with organising documents and files both on computer and paper. During a busy day it can be tempting not to name and file computer documents properly, or to leave mail or paper documents in a pile to sort out later. Later will never be less busy than now!! So get into the habit of filing things properly as soon as you can
  11. Keep accounts up to date
  12. Just as with your paperwork, giving attention to your accounts for just a few minutes a day can save tears of frustration later! Have a place where you always keep receipts rather than having to fish them out of pockets, purses, cars - or waste bins! Note down every item of income and expenditure rather than relying on memory. Don’t mix personal and business expenditure. Not doing this can lead to financial chaos and you regularly being out of pocket.
  13. Delegate
  14. Yes you’re a control freak - you run a business after all! But for your business to grow you need to start giving it away. This can initially be painful; no-one else will do things exactly the way you do them. But you never know, they may in fact do them even better! Or could do - given time and patience. You will never know until you try. For your business to grow the way you dream it will you simply cannot do everything and will have to start delegating. The sooner you start, the faster you grow!
  15. Ask someone to show you
  16. Swallow your pride. Most small business owners are fiercely independent and can end up wasting valuable time searching for information or trying to figure out how to do something. But you simply do not have that time to spare! Why waste an hour trying to, say, format a spreadsheet when you probably know someone who can show you in 2 minutes? Learn to reach out and seek the help of others. It will save you hours!!
  17. Trade your skills
  18. What do you hate doing at work? Rather than put it off until it gets out of control why not ask someone to do it for you and you, in return, do something for them? If, as in the above example, your computer skills are not the best, then find a colleague - perhaps another small business owner - to help you with that and you do something for their business in return.
  19. Contract out
  20. When you get to the point where you can’t do everything then consider clubbing together with another small business owner and subcontracting it out. Between you could you pay a professional to do your accounts or your marketing or manage your payroll? To succeed in business you do need to find ways of “dumping fuel” so that you can focus on the main business priorities - the things that really only you can push through. Everything else is dispensable!

At Fair Business Loans we love helping small businesses move forward! Not only in terms of our specialism of small and new business loans but also by giving sound business advice.

Why not look out for our next Let’s Do Business Together event, to come and meet us in person and network with other small businesses? Meanwhile, do get in touch with us if there is any way that we can help you to grow your business!

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