1) There is no perfect work-life balance
The first rule about fight club is that there is no fight club. The same applies to a perfect work-life balance, there is no such thing. It is impossible to perfectly separate work from life and to carve out the exact amount of hours we need for both on a daily basis.
Some days you may have more work to complete than others. You will likely have busy periods and quiet periods, all businesses have them. The key here is to try and balance your work and life commitments over the long term, say 6 months to a year. Spend more time on work when it is busy and you have an opportunity to earn more and more time with family when work is quiet. In no way do I mean work simply to make money at the expense of family time but rather make hay while the sun shines
2) Do work that you love
“Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” - Mark Twain
Creating a work-life balance is far easier if you do work that inspires you and that you enjoy. Waking up in the morning enthused for the day is a great gift that most people will never enjoy in their workday. If you can find work that you love it will keep you motivated and reduce the risk of burnout. Further to that, you are likely to be more successful in doing well in your profession.
If you currently do not enjoy your job try doing some work on the side that you really enjoy. With a bit of persistence and a marketable skill, you can normally work up to a full-time profession from a side hustle.
3) Prioritise you
Work-life is not just about family time. You need to prioritise yourself, your health and your mental wellbeing. After all, you need to look after the golden goose if you expect it to keep laying those eggs.
Take time off and try to intersperse activities you enjoy in your day and week to break up the monotony of work. You will feel more alert, more refreshed and more motivated when you return to work
4) Don't be afraid to unplug
Read this out loud to yourself: "I am not my job". You are a person with a brain that has evolved over 100 000 years. Technology and specifically email has only been around for the past 40 years or so. Our brains are not wired to always be on and active and the intrusion of a permanently vibrating smartphone is causing havoc with our general well-being.
In the evenings, simply turn off your smartphone, or, if you are worried you will miss an urgent call from a friend or family member, keep 2 phones, one for personal and one for business.
5) Go on holiday
Yes, you deserve it. Do not be a martyr and believe that everything will fall apart in your business if you go on leave. The work will still be there when you return. Simply let clients know you are away. A simple auto-responder on your email will do the trick as well as a voicemail message on your phone.
6) Make time for yourself and your family
Regularly plan day outings and trips with your family to ensure you make the most of your time together. Time spent mindlessly watching TV or playing on gadgets is not quality time spent together. make the effort to connect with your family on a regular basis
7) Set boundaries and work hours
Set your work times and let clients know that they are non-negotiable. If you perform a good service for clients during office hours they will be understanding when you tell them that you do not take calls after-hours. Some clients might get upset and stamp their feet that you will not take their call but here's a little secret, you do not need clients like that in the first place
8) Set goals and priorities (and stick to them)
At the beginning of each month, I like to draw up a list of the goals and priorities for that month on a week-by-week basis. I also create a yearly goal list at the beginning of the year and I try to use my monthly goals as a means to achieving those yearly goals.
Once you have achieved your goal for the day/week you know you are one step closer to a major goal you have set. You can then stop working simply for the sake of work (busywork), that does not contribute to a goal that you have defined. Sometimes you realise there is some work that you can put off indefinitely because it simply is not important enough to do.
9) Just say no
You only have a finite amount of hours in your life to achieve the goals and live the life you want to. Often, people will ask you to do things that do not fit into your vision of your life or your work priorities. Learn to simply say no. Don't say "I will think about it" as a way to try avoid doing it, rather say "thank you for asking but I simply do not have the time to take on this responsibility for you". The other person might be hurt at first but if you try and take on every request you will soon find that you get nothing done.
10) Work smarter, not harder
Invest in a good system to enable you to manage your work easily and efficiently. One such system if you are a tradesperson is IntelliServe. IntelliServe is field service software. IntelliServe allows you to manage jobs and easily convert the jobs to quotes and invoices without duplicating work. It can also email and text clients directly once a job card or invoice is created, saving you time on your admin. IntelliServe also has a mobile app to allow you to update your work orders while onsite and capture images of the work performed and capture client signatures.