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Keeping your life and
your business on track
Work life
balance
for business
owners
Contents
03. Finding your work life balance	
04. What’s your type?
05.What to do when you’re too busy
07.What to do when you’re too quiet
08. Technology - friend or foe?
09. Getting your life balanced
10. 10 ways to improve work life balance
You’ll also be hearing from Charlie
Mullins, CEO of Pimlico Plumbers.
He left school at 15 with no
qualifications. Starting out with a
second-hand van and a bag of
tools, he has built Pimlico Plumbers
into the UK’s first branded plumbing
company with 200 staff, 160
vehicles and a £20m turnover.
Throughout this guide, Claire
Young, an entrepreneur and
government adviser for SME
growth, women in business
and youth employability,
shares her advice for getting
the right work life balance.
Claire gained attention as a
runner up in series four of ‘The
Apprentice’. She runs her own
business, an agency placing
speakers into education called
‘School Speakers’, and has
co-founded social enterprise
programme ‘Girls Out Loud’.
www.pimlicoplumbers.com
www.claireyoung.co.uk
Follow Charlie
Follow Claire
3
Do you spend more time talking to your
work-related contacts on Twitter than you
do with your real-life friends?
Do you spend holidays
searching for a Wi-Fi connection?
Do you always talk about
work at social functions?
Do you find you’re
irritable, have sleep problems
or are unable to switch off?
Does your family see
what you do as a
constant intrusion?
Do you find it hard to be parted from
your phone and laptop - even late in the
evenings and at weekends?
Do you sometimes
forget to eat lunch?
Have you given up sports and
hobbies you used to love?
Is your diary only full of
work commitments?
Do you sometimes
forget important
family anniversaries?
Finding yourwork life balance
Work life balance can be difficult to achieve when you run your own business,
especially if you’re a one-man band. The buck stops with you and it can be hard to
switch off. But working long hours can take its toll on your health as well as your
social life. Our research shows that 45% of business owners work 40-60 hours a
week and 16% work more than 60.
Is your life off-balance? - 10 ways to tell...
If you answer yes to most of these, you might need to rethink your work life balance.
1
3
2
4
5 6
7 8
9 10
4
What’s your type?
Work life balance means different things to different people. Would you prefer
flexibility or predictability? Do you need work to fit in around family commitments?
Use our chart and find out which type ofwork life balance suits you.
Do you try to
get ahead of
schedule?
Are you
happiest in
a changing
environment?
Do you like
to keep work
and home
separate?
Do you find
last-minute
deadlines
motivating?
Are family
commitments
the most
important
thing for you?
Family
focused
You love the fact
that you can fit
work in around your
family. Make the
most of it so you
can be there for the
important events.
Regular &
reliable
You like to have
everything under
control and know
what’s coming.
Planning helps to
keep you calm.
Flexible
You like to keep your
options open and
work at times that
suit you. Be sure to
keep track of how
much you’re working,
as it’s harder to tell
when you don’t keep
office hours.
Dynamic
You thrive in
a changing
environment and love
the excitement of
change. This creative
environment is
great, as long as your
customers get good
service.
Do you like
to plan your
work well in
advance?
YES
YES
YES
YES
YES
YESNO
NO
NO
NO
NO
NO
5
What to do when you’re too busy
There will be times in your business when you’ll be swamped. If you find that
deadlines are all coming together oryou’re constantly struggling under a pile of
work, then it’s time to re-evaluate.
Managing your workload
When you’re busy, it can feel like there’s not enough time in the day.
38% of small business owners think time is the most valuable asset
in a business and 25% think just one hour of extra time is worth
more than £300.
So, if you’re struggling to find enough time, here are some ideas:
Prioritise
Treating everything as top priority is impractical and exhausting.
Keep a note of all your tasks in one place, rank them in terms of
importance and assess realistically how long they will take. Make a
plan and set realistic deadlines so that you can work smarter, not
just harder.
Don’t take on too much
If you overbook yourself, you’ll find yourself constantly fire-fighting.
Not every opportunity that comes your way is good for you and your
business. It can be hard to turn down work but learn how to say no
if you’ll be struggling to keep up. Remember that delivering poor
work will affect your reputation.
“As an entrepreneur I believe that you have
three commodities: money, time and your
knowledge. Use your time wisely and for
every diary entry think about the reason
behind it. Be ruthless and learn to say
no if it is not important.”
What is your time worth?
You probably know what your hourly rate is, so look at applying it to
everything you do - managing the books, social media, chasing new
business… You may find that there are some jobs that aren’t adding
enough value to your business. If so, stop doing them or delegate
these tasks.
“Use a diary! As your business grows even
with the best will in the world you will not
remember everything.
Write it down.”
6
Delegate
Business owners often struggle with their workload because they
do everything themselves. It can be hard to pass on tasks to other
people but here’s some good reasons why you should:
•	 You’re not an expert in everything, so using a specialist saves
time and minimises the risk of mistakes
•	 It frees you up to do what you do best
•	 It can help to reduce burnout and lower stress
•	 Extra time allows you to invest in changes that can grow your
business
If you’re a one-man band or smaller business, finding people to
delegate to can be problematic. But there are resources that can
help. Just make sure you find people who are qualified and fit with
your business. And don’t micro-manage them, or you’ll miss out on
any time savings.
Outsource your admin
There’s lots of admin services available. Companies like FridayGirl
and Time Etc allow you to book admin support as and when you
need it.
Time to recruit?
If you’re looking to grow your business, sooner or later you’re
probably going to need to think about getting someone else on
board. If you find that you consistently have a high level of work and
your sales projections look healthy, it could be time to recruit.
Check out our Guide to Employing the Perfect Person for more
information.
Create effective systems
Tasks that you do regularly should be as efficient as possible. For
example, a good accounts software package is a real time-saver
by providing you with a snapshot of important figures and making it
faster to record your figures.
You should also streamline repetitive tasks. Create standardised
documents for the things you use regularly (like quotations or
reports). Make use of software like TextExpander or ActiveWords
which allows you to add standard text with keyboard shortcuts.
Finally, make sure your storage and filing is in good order. It may be
the first thing to be dropped when you’re busy but how much time
do you waste every day looking for things? If you are drowning in
papers, sort them out.
Set boundaries
Even when you’re busy, you shouldn’t have to miss important events
at home. Use your calendar to book in important social events like
family occasions, meetings with friends and special celebrations.
Treat them in the same way you would a work meeting and arrange
work around them.
Be flexible
Having your own business means you can work when you like. If
you find that you’re more productive at 9pm than 9am, then work
then instead.
Just be sure to keep an eye on your hours so that you’re not burning
the midnight oil as well as working all day. And make sure you’re
available for any clients who may need you during business hours.
You can also juggle your hours to fit with family or work from any
location you choose. Mixing things up can make you more efficient
and help to keep you motivated.
“Be kind to yourself, don’t beat yourself up if
you don’t achieve all your items in one day. It’s
essential to keep work in its perspective. Start
afresh the following morning raring to go.”
“Find a hobby or a way to relax. I go to the
gym four times a week and I ride my horse.
Some would see it as a luxury, whereas I
regard it as an essential. Exercise makes me
feel physically better and mentally sharper.
Quiet time out horse riding gives me the
chance to think and reflect.”
7
What to do when you’re too quiet
Often when people talk about work life balance, there’s an assumption that
business is always busy. But what should you do if the opposite happens?
Taking time out
If you’ve been flat out for ages, a small lull is a good opportunity to
take time out. This is especially the case if you have work lined up
and you know when you’ll be getting back to work. Don’t feel guilty
about taking some time out - it’s one of the perks of having your
own business.
You can also use this time to think about the future of your business,
get up to date on your filing or taxes or learn new your skills to set
you up for the future.
Know your sales funnel and cash flow
Evaluating the impact of any quiet times is easier if you know how
long it takes to find leads, finalise sales and get paid. If you have a
long sales funnel you’ll need to address the quiet time immediately,
as it could be a few months before you see any money coming in.
Understand your cash flow so you know how much money you’ll
need to keep running. While you’re finding extra work, make sure
you have enough funds to keep running without any income.
Recent research shows that 52% of small businesses could run out
of money in less than two weeks.
Evaluate what’s worked in the past
Your business has been successful up to now. Evaluate your
customers and see how they found you. Try to replicate that activity
to bring in new work.
Look at what has changed and why sales have dropped. It may
be that your services or products are seasonal or there’s a new
competitor in the market. It could be due to the economy or a
changing demographic in your area. You need to identify what’s
different so you can decide the best way to respond.
Make sure you’re visible
Although you should be maintaining a profile all the time, it can be
hard to do when you’re busy. Now you’re quiet, make sure you are
posting to social media, answering queries on discussion boards
and connecting with clients and contacts. All of this should help to
bring in new contacts and work.
If you run regular marketing activity, don’t drop it unless you’re
having a cash crisis. This is one of the main ways people find out
about your business, so cancelling it makes it harder to find new
customers.
And if you have a premises, make sure you’re open at your usual
times. If customers see that you’re closed, they may think you’ve
already gone out of business, leading to more lost sales.
“There are some really good opportunities
available to businesses that embrace social
media, but don’t become obsessed with it –
not every one of your customers is hooked
in. Memorable signage on your place of
business, vehicles and uniforms and unique
and memorable traditional media advertising
is still invaluable. My collection of plumbing-
related number plates and adverts in the
local papers are still very, very important to
the business.”
Ask for help
Referrals are a great way of bringing in new business. Ask your
customers to spread the word and be sure to chase up all new
opportunities.
8
Technology - friend or foe?
Is technology helping or hindering your business? It can help by giving you access
to apps that manage your time and streamline repetitive tasks. And it can give
you the flexibility to workwhereveryou like.
But it can also mean that you’re always on, constantly worried about
missing something important. So how can you find a balance?
Should you disconnect?
Constantly checking your email or looking at social media can be
distracting and takes up a huge amount of time.
It’s unlikely that you’ll miss anything vital if you only check your email
every 30 minutes. Allocating specific times can help to keep you
focused on the job in hand. There’s also apps available to help you
manage social media. Take a look at our guide to social media to
see how you could be more efficient.
Many business owners find that they remain connected even outside
usual office hours. Responding to emails on weekends at night and
over the weekend may be seen as a great bonus for your customers
but it also makes it harder for you to switch off.
You may be surprised to find that customers don’t expect an
immediate response. Talk to them about your standard hours and
see if they need an out-of-hours service. If they do, then that’s
something that you could bill for, helping to show the value of your
time and compensating you for working those hours.
“I will not work past 9pm. I put away my ipad
and phone, otherwise I would be tempted to
keep replying to emails. You need to be able
to switch off your brain and rest. A frazzled
business owner is no good to anyone! If
I hear the ping, ping of emails constantly
I sleep badly. I need my sleep in order to
function properly.”
Use apps to keep you focused
Research shows that 37% of small businesses though they would
be more productive with the right app. Here’s some of the best out
there for helping you manage your time:
•	 Timetracking apps - Apps like Producteev and Harvest let you
see how you’re spending your time, what’s on target and what
requires follow-up.
•	 Pocket - this allows you to store videos, articles or anything else
you find of interest. It’s all in one place and ready to look at when
you have time.
•	 VOIP apps - Skype and Google Hangouts allow you to have
online meetings, without time spent travelling.
•	 Evernote - one of the most popular apps for managing a to-do
list and keeping notes. It even has an app to make it faster to
read blog posts and articles by showing them in a simple format.
•	 Record Keeper - great for keeping information on your costs
and income, your tax and your expenses.
•	 Tap Forms - holds all your passwords securely so you don’t
spend time trying to remember them.
•	 Dropbox - lets you manage all your files and access them on
the go.
26%
of small businesses
spend an hour or
more on social
media a day
and check
emails
36times an
hour
9
Getting your life balanced
Ian Sanders, author of Juggle: RethinkWork, Reclaim
Your Life and Mash Up, shares his views on getting the
balance right.
“A lot of people set up businesses because
they are passionate about what they do -
so working on Saturday mornings or in the
evenings may not be a problem for them.
It’s your life and your balance - you have to
do it your way.
But being too focused can be unhealthy.
You’ve got to know when you’re so
stressed that you are not being productive
anymore. You need to make sure you are
spending time with your family and looking
after your own physical and mental health.
It’s hard to separate work and non-work,
especially when you are a micro-business or
a one-man band. But what you get is more
flexibility. You might be able to pick your
kids up from school. But then you’re likely
to be sitting on the sofa at ten o’clock with
the laptop on your knee.
Thanks to technology, the boundaries are
blurring between work and home. And that
allows business owners to manage their
businesses 24-7. For instance, my iPhone
is my office. I can work anywhere.
Social media is also blurring these
boundaries. My clients often ask me whether
they should have separate Twitter accounts
for business and personal use. For many
small firms, the owner is the brand, and it
makes sense for them to have one Twitter
presence.
All this technology means disconnecting can
be difficult. On holiday, I check emails every
day. I think a lot of business owners like the
fact that they can stay connected. On one
of my best holidays, I could only access the
internet on the hotel computer so I caught
up with work for half an hour a day and had
the rest of the time off.
I recommend creating a personal dashboard
where you set out the things you want in life
and the reasons why you are doing them.
You should write down all the things that
are important to you, whether it is making
money, creative stimulation, spending time
with your kids or playing tennis. These are
your definition of happiness and success.
Then you can monitor this regularly to see
how you are doing.”
10
10 ways to improve yourwork life balance
“It seems obvious, but enjoy what you
do. Work is a huge percentage of our life
and you don’t want to waste your time on
something you’re not passionate about.”
Sources: Sage Omnibus, Microsoft, Simply Business
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Create your own personal definition of success.
Set some boundaries and stick to them.
Schedule time with family and friends.
Take regular exercise.
Find ways to switch off mentally.
Watch for signs of burn-out.
Investigate ways to work smarter.
Take regular short breaks.
Get some perspective by talking to a mentor.
Remind yourselfwhy you set up in the first place.
To find out more, visit
sage.co.uk/businessadvice

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Work life balance for business owners

  • 1. Keeping your life and your business on track Work life balance for business owners
  • 2. Contents 03. Finding your work life balance 04. What’s your type? 05.What to do when you’re too busy 07.What to do when you’re too quiet 08. Technology - friend or foe? 09. Getting your life balanced 10. 10 ways to improve work life balance You’ll also be hearing from Charlie Mullins, CEO of Pimlico Plumbers. He left school at 15 with no qualifications. Starting out with a second-hand van and a bag of tools, he has built Pimlico Plumbers into the UK’s first branded plumbing company with 200 staff, 160 vehicles and a £20m turnover. Throughout this guide, Claire Young, an entrepreneur and government adviser for SME growth, women in business and youth employability, shares her advice for getting the right work life balance. Claire gained attention as a runner up in series four of ‘The Apprentice’. She runs her own business, an agency placing speakers into education called ‘School Speakers’, and has co-founded social enterprise programme ‘Girls Out Loud’. www.pimlicoplumbers.com www.claireyoung.co.uk Follow Charlie Follow Claire
  • 3. 3 Do you spend more time talking to your work-related contacts on Twitter than you do with your real-life friends? Do you spend holidays searching for a Wi-Fi connection? Do you always talk about work at social functions? Do you find you’re irritable, have sleep problems or are unable to switch off? Does your family see what you do as a constant intrusion? Do you find it hard to be parted from your phone and laptop - even late in the evenings and at weekends? Do you sometimes forget to eat lunch? Have you given up sports and hobbies you used to love? Is your diary only full of work commitments? Do you sometimes forget important family anniversaries? Finding yourwork life balance Work life balance can be difficult to achieve when you run your own business, especially if you’re a one-man band. The buck stops with you and it can be hard to switch off. But working long hours can take its toll on your health as well as your social life. Our research shows that 45% of business owners work 40-60 hours a week and 16% work more than 60. Is your life off-balance? - 10 ways to tell... If you answer yes to most of these, you might need to rethink your work life balance. 1 3 2 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
  • 4. 4 What’s your type? Work life balance means different things to different people. Would you prefer flexibility or predictability? Do you need work to fit in around family commitments? Use our chart and find out which type ofwork life balance suits you. Do you try to get ahead of schedule? Are you happiest in a changing environment? Do you like to keep work and home separate? Do you find last-minute deadlines motivating? Are family commitments the most important thing for you? Family focused You love the fact that you can fit work in around your family. Make the most of it so you can be there for the important events. Regular & reliable You like to have everything under control and know what’s coming. Planning helps to keep you calm. Flexible You like to keep your options open and work at times that suit you. Be sure to keep track of how much you’re working, as it’s harder to tell when you don’t keep office hours. Dynamic You thrive in a changing environment and love the excitement of change. This creative environment is great, as long as your customers get good service. Do you like to plan your work well in advance? YES YES YES YES YES YESNO NO NO NO NO NO
  • 5. 5 What to do when you’re too busy There will be times in your business when you’ll be swamped. If you find that deadlines are all coming together oryou’re constantly struggling under a pile of work, then it’s time to re-evaluate. Managing your workload When you’re busy, it can feel like there’s not enough time in the day. 38% of small business owners think time is the most valuable asset in a business and 25% think just one hour of extra time is worth more than £300. So, if you’re struggling to find enough time, here are some ideas: Prioritise Treating everything as top priority is impractical and exhausting. Keep a note of all your tasks in one place, rank them in terms of importance and assess realistically how long they will take. Make a plan and set realistic deadlines so that you can work smarter, not just harder. Don’t take on too much If you overbook yourself, you’ll find yourself constantly fire-fighting. Not every opportunity that comes your way is good for you and your business. It can be hard to turn down work but learn how to say no if you’ll be struggling to keep up. Remember that delivering poor work will affect your reputation. “As an entrepreneur I believe that you have three commodities: money, time and your knowledge. Use your time wisely and for every diary entry think about the reason behind it. Be ruthless and learn to say no if it is not important.” What is your time worth? You probably know what your hourly rate is, so look at applying it to everything you do - managing the books, social media, chasing new business… You may find that there are some jobs that aren’t adding enough value to your business. If so, stop doing them or delegate these tasks. “Use a diary! As your business grows even with the best will in the world you will not remember everything. Write it down.”
  • 6. 6 Delegate Business owners often struggle with their workload because they do everything themselves. It can be hard to pass on tasks to other people but here’s some good reasons why you should: • You’re not an expert in everything, so using a specialist saves time and minimises the risk of mistakes • It frees you up to do what you do best • It can help to reduce burnout and lower stress • Extra time allows you to invest in changes that can grow your business If you’re a one-man band or smaller business, finding people to delegate to can be problematic. But there are resources that can help. Just make sure you find people who are qualified and fit with your business. And don’t micro-manage them, or you’ll miss out on any time savings. Outsource your admin There’s lots of admin services available. Companies like FridayGirl and Time Etc allow you to book admin support as and when you need it. Time to recruit? If you’re looking to grow your business, sooner or later you’re probably going to need to think about getting someone else on board. If you find that you consistently have a high level of work and your sales projections look healthy, it could be time to recruit. Check out our Guide to Employing the Perfect Person for more information. Create effective systems Tasks that you do regularly should be as efficient as possible. For example, a good accounts software package is a real time-saver by providing you with a snapshot of important figures and making it faster to record your figures. You should also streamline repetitive tasks. Create standardised documents for the things you use regularly (like quotations or reports). Make use of software like TextExpander or ActiveWords which allows you to add standard text with keyboard shortcuts. Finally, make sure your storage and filing is in good order. It may be the first thing to be dropped when you’re busy but how much time do you waste every day looking for things? If you are drowning in papers, sort them out. Set boundaries Even when you’re busy, you shouldn’t have to miss important events at home. Use your calendar to book in important social events like family occasions, meetings with friends and special celebrations. Treat them in the same way you would a work meeting and arrange work around them. Be flexible Having your own business means you can work when you like. If you find that you’re more productive at 9pm than 9am, then work then instead. Just be sure to keep an eye on your hours so that you’re not burning the midnight oil as well as working all day. And make sure you’re available for any clients who may need you during business hours. You can also juggle your hours to fit with family or work from any location you choose. Mixing things up can make you more efficient and help to keep you motivated. “Be kind to yourself, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t achieve all your items in one day. It’s essential to keep work in its perspective. Start afresh the following morning raring to go.” “Find a hobby or a way to relax. I go to the gym four times a week and I ride my horse. Some would see it as a luxury, whereas I regard it as an essential. Exercise makes me feel physically better and mentally sharper. Quiet time out horse riding gives me the chance to think and reflect.”
  • 7. 7 What to do when you’re too quiet Often when people talk about work life balance, there’s an assumption that business is always busy. But what should you do if the opposite happens? Taking time out If you’ve been flat out for ages, a small lull is a good opportunity to take time out. This is especially the case if you have work lined up and you know when you’ll be getting back to work. Don’t feel guilty about taking some time out - it’s one of the perks of having your own business. You can also use this time to think about the future of your business, get up to date on your filing or taxes or learn new your skills to set you up for the future. Know your sales funnel and cash flow Evaluating the impact of any quiet times is easier if you know how long it takes to find leads, finalise sales and get paid. If you have a long sales funnel you’ll need to address the quiet time immediately, as it could be a few months before you see any money coming in. Understand your cash flow so you know how much money you’ll need to keep running. While you’re finding extra work, make sure you have enough funds to keep running without any income. Recent research shows that 52% of small businesses could run out of money in less than two weeks. Evaluate what’s worked in the past Your business has been successful up to now. Evaluate your customers and see how they found you. Try to replicate that activity to bring in new work. Look at what has changed and why sales have dropped. It may be that your services or products are seasonal or there’s a new competitor in the market. It could be due to the economy or a changing demographic in your area. You need to identify what’s different so you can decide the best way to respond. Make sure you’re visible Although you should be maintaining a profile all the time, it can be hard to do when you’re busy. Now you’re quiet, make sure you are posting to social media, answering queries on discussion boards and connecting with clients and contacts. All of this should help to bring in new contacts and work. If you run regular marketing activity, don’t drop it unless you’re having a cash crisis. This is one of the main ways people find out about your business, so cancelling it makes it harder to find new customers. And if you have a premises, make sure you’re open at your usual times. If customers see that you’re closed, they may think you’ve already gone out of business, leading to more lost sales. “There are some really good opportunities available to businesses that embrace social media, but don’t become obsessed with it – not every one of your customers is hooked in. Memorable signage on your place of business, vehicles and uniforms and unique and memorable traditional media advertising is still invaluable. My collection of plumbing- related number plates and adverts in the local papers are still very, very important to the business.” Ask for help Referrals are a great way of bringing in new business. Ask your customers to spread the word and be sure to chase up all new opportunities.
  • 8. 8 Technology - friend or foe? Is technology helping or hindering your business? It can help by giving you access to apps that manage your time and streamline repetitive tasks. And it can give you the flexibility to workwhereveryou like. But it can also mean that you’re always on, constantly worried about missing something important. So how can you find a balance? Should you disconnect? Constantly checking your email or looking at social media can be distracting and takes up a huge amount of time. It’s unlikely that you’ll miss anything vital if you only check your email every 30 minutes. Allocating specific times can help to keep you focused on the job in hand. There’s also apps available to help you manage social media. Take a look at our guide to social media to see how you could be more efficient. Many business owners find that they remain connected even outside usual office hours. Responding to emails on weekends at night and over the weekend may be seen as a great bonus for your customers but it also makes it harder for you to switch off. You may be surprised to find that customers don’t expect an immediate response. Talk to them about your standard hours and see if they need an out-of-hours service. If they do, then that’s something that you could bill for, helping to show the value of your time and compensating you for working those hours. “I will not work past 9pm. I put away my ipad and phone, otherwise I would be tempted to keep replying to emails. You need to be able to switch off your brain and rest. A frazzled business owner is no good to anyone! If I hear the ping, ping of emails constantly I sleep badly. I need my sleep in order to function properly.” Use apps to keep you focused Research shows that 37% of small businesses though they would be more productive with the right app. Here’s some of the best out there for helping you manage your time: • Timetracking apps - Apps like Producteev and Harvest let you see how you’re spending your time, what’s on target and what requires follow-up. • Pocket - this allows you to store videos, articles or anything else you find of interest. It’s all in one place and ready to look at when you have time. • VOIP apps - Skype and Google Hangouts allow you to have online meetings, without time spent travelling. • Evernote - one of the most popular apps for managing a to-do list and keeping notes. It even has an app to make it faster to read blog posts and articles by showing them in a simple format. • Record Keeper - great for keeping information on your costs and income, your tax and your expenses. • Tap Forms - holds all your passwords securely so you don’t spend time trying to remember them. • Dropbox - lets you manage all your files and access them on the go. 26% of small businesses spend an hour or more on social media a day and check emails 36times an hour
  • 9. 9 Getting your life balanced Ian Sanders, author of Juggle: RethinkWork, Reclaim Your Life and Mash Up, shares his views on getting the balance right. “A lot of people set up businesses because they are passionate about what they do - so working on Saturday mornings or in the evenings may not be a problem for them. It’s your life and your balance - you have to do it your way. But being too focused can be unhealthy. You’ve got to know when you’re so stressed that you are not being productive anymore. You need to make sure you are spending time with your family and looking after your own physical and mental health. It’s hard to separate work and non-work, especially when you are a micro-business or a one-man band. But what you get is more flexibility. You might be able to pick your kids up from school. But then you’re likely to be sitting on the sofa at ten o’clock with the laptop on your knee. Thanks to technology, the boundaries are blurring between work and home. And that allows business owners to manage their businesses 24-7. For instance, my iPhone is my office. I can work anywhere. Social media is also blurring these boundaries. My clients often ask me whether they should have separate Twitter accounts for business and personal use. For many small firms, the owner is the brand, and it makes sense for them to have one Twitter presence. All this technology means disconnecting can be difficult. On holiday, I check emails every day. I think a lot of business owners like the fact that they can stay connected. On one of my best holidays, I could only access the internet on the hotel computer so I caught up with work for half an hour a day and had the rest of the time off. I recommend creating a personal dashboard where you set out the things you want in life and the reasons why you are doing them. You should write down all the things that are important to you, whether it is making money, creative stimulation, spending time with your kids or playing tennis. These are your definition of happiness and success. Then you can monitor this regularly to see how you are doing.”
  • 10. 10 10 ways to improve yourwork life balance “It seems obvious, but enjoy what you do. Work is a huge percentage of our life and you don’t want to waste your time on something you’re not passionate about.” Sources: Sage Omnibus, Microsoft, Simply Business 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Create your own personal definition of success. Set some boundaries and stick to them. Schedule time with family and friends. Take regular exercise. Find ways to switch off mentally. Watch for signs of burn-out. Investigate ways to work smarter. Take regular short breaks. Get some perspective by talking to a mentor. Remind yourselfwhy you set up in the first place. To find out more, visit sage.co.uk/businessadvice