I love what I do for a living and, therefore, it never feels like work to me! I am in the social media business and I have built a huge, world-wide digital community that numbers in the hundreds of thousands.
Seriously, dozens of times per day nice, well-intended people ask for my help. I love, love, love helping people, but, if I helped them all I would never get anything else done, much bless be able to run my social media marketing company, Boom! Social. Instead, I would be completely sleep-deprived and have no time left to spend with my husband, kids and fur babies!
I wish I could tell you that you CAN have it all: that you can work 15 hour days, seven days/week, and still have an active and fulfilling personal life. Of course, we know that this isn't the case.
There are ways, however, to make sure work stays at work. This post will go over eight ways to cut down on work, be more productive while you are at the office, and to really enjoy the free time you do have!
1. Institute a morning routine.
I know that getting up early in the morning isn't everyone's cup of tea.
Did you know that people who get up earlier actually tend to be more optimistic, more proactive and less stressed than those who sleep in?
According to this infographic, starting the day off slowly is key; create an enjoyable morning routine that gives you the motivation to get out of bed.
2. Pause your emails.
If you are like most people, seeing an unread work email is just too tempting to avoid... even when you are eating dinner or hanging out with the family. To reduce temptation, consider pausing your inbox during non-work hours. Inbox Pause for Gmail lets you put new messages on hold with the click of a button. When you are ready to start receiving them again, hit "unpause" and they will all appear in your inbox.
3. Give yourself a time limit... especially near the end of the day.
As a busy entrepreneur, it is easy to get caught up in just doing "one more thing" before shutting down for the night. The problem is, that one last thing can eat into your personal time before you know it. Particularly when you are getting near the end of your workday, consider using the Pomodoro Technique. This simple strategy entails setting a timer for 25 minutes, and then using laser focus to get a task done before the timer goes. You will be amazed at how much you can get done when you give yourself a time limit.
4. Turn off notifications when you are not working.
Before you leave the office, make sure to turn off your email and voicemail notifications.
It is far too tempting to check your work-related messages when that notification message pops up. Vow to yourself to leave work at work and deal with your messages in the morning.
5. Use Google Voice to filter work calls.
Google Voice (which is completely free) lets you manage your calls in one place by giving you a centralized phone number for all your devices. This means that when people call your work number, you can choose to allow those calls through to your cell phone... or not. You can even listen live to your voicemails so you can decide whether a call is worth taking.
6. Use a To Do app to get ideas out of your head.
You know how you usually get the most inspired ideas for your business at the most inconvenient times? Instead of letting yourself get distracted by your ideas, get them out of your head by noting them down in an app like Wunderlist or Any.do.
7. Make time for exercise.
Building time into your workday to go for a brisk walk or to go to the gym can really help clear your head and keep you focused.
In fact, some recent research has found that exercising during work time actually increases productivity. This means you can actually work fewer hours with greater overall productivity. Sounds good to me!
8. Don't sleep with your cell phone.
I know you are probably just going to pass by this one, but it doesn't hurt to try! Having your smartphone next to your bed is a recipe for trouble. The temptation to check email right before bed and first thing when you wake up is nearly irresistible... and stressful emails can lead to difficulties sleeping or what I like to call 'reaction syndrome' (starting your day by reacting to emails or messages rather than going in with a plan).
Being a business owner doesn't have to mean not having a life. That said, you do have to be intentional about building in strategies to protect your personal time.
What strategies do you use to maintain a healthy work/life balance? Share below!