4 Ways to Keep a Healthy Work-Life Balance this Summer
More people are going at work alone than ever before, finding ways work around family and other commitments. But setting up a business of any kind is demanding, and you can easily find yourself working round the clock, all year round (especially if your work space is in the home).
If you thought summer was a time to slow down, make the most of the weather (whatever your weather preferences may be), and make precious memories; you may have to think again if you’ve a business to run.
If you are a parent, running a small business or working freelance makes long school holidays particularly challenging. While many big businesses are less busy over the summer, you can’t put a small business on hold for six whole weeks.
This is where the importance of a work-life balance comes in. Otherwise your health, business, personal life and family could all suffer.
We hope these four practical steps will remind you how to get organised so you can find the right work-life balance this summer.
1: Separate your personal life from your work
Have you ever answered a few emails before breakfast only to find yourself working a whole day in pyjamas? According to experts, blurring the lines like this is bad. Both for your for business and your wellbeing.
To get into the right mindset for work or play, it helps to dress in clothes you’d go out in. If you’re working from home, a designated work space is also recommended.Preferably a work space that you get physically get away from physically away from at the end of the day; so leaving your papers on the dining table doesn't count!
Mixing business and childcare just doesn’t work, whatever you may see in the movies (remember Julia Roberts as Erin Brockovich with a baby on the hip?). Screaming toddlers are not appreciated on conference calls. And while your kids might be happy to spend a day on screens while Mummy works, it’s not an ideal way to spend the holidays! We all need sunshine and fresh air.
2: Plan your time
Set aside hours, days or weeks for personal and work time, prioritise tasks and make a schedule. Time management is one of the most valuable business skills and goes a long way in reducing everybody's stress.
Most of us work better at certain times of day. Plan work for those times or for when your children are asleep or taking part in holiday clubs or camps. See if you can recruit some little helpers for the time allocated to household chores!
3: Learn to switch off your business
Let your contacts know when you are and aren’t working. Use your email auto-responder to set their expectations for a reply and turn off notifications. Most people can wait a few hours or days.
Remember to switch off from your business too. Reading through your work emails as you sit in bed at night is a good way to set your mind on overdrive just before you sleep.
4: Establish healthy working practices
Remember to take breaks when you are working. If you’re based at home, you may find yourself working non-stop without the normal office distractions.
Get outside to clear your head and counteract the physical effects of sitting down for hours, especially if you don’t have to travel to the office.
If you don’t have a commute, allow yourself a few moments to transition to and from work. Do this in whatever way works for you; listen to a "Leaving Work" Playlist, take some time to read a book or do some quick exercise to clear your head.
Learn to delegate your work and home jobs as much as possible.
Spend some time discovering the anti-stress strategies that work for you and be mindful about your work style and environment.