When I first started running my business (when I was single, and living on my own), I truly didn't have to worry about how late I worked, or balancing work and life. My life and time was all my own...but once I got married, that was an entirely different story. I (sadly) remember the days when I would snap at my husband because he interrupted my work flow...or he would come home from work and I would stillllllll be on my computer. I'm open and honest about the fact that the way I handled work and personal life was not balanced in any way. Then, I heard this story about an entrepreneur who worked so so hard to build her business, only to find out her husband was diagnosed with cancer. She was heartbroken, and filled with so much regret.
After hearing this story, I quickly realized that should anything ever happen to me or my family, I knew I didn't want to regret anything I had done; therefore, I was in for an awakening. I started making changes so I could have a healthier work/life balance....here's some of the things I started doing:
1. Getting out of the house to work.
For those of you who envy working from home life, it actually isn't all roses and fairies....haha. I actually tend to get less work done when I'm at home because there are SO many distractions. My dog wants to play; there are dirty dishes in the sink; laundry needs to be done; the bed looks so comfortable.....
Getting out of the house to work, and getting around other people has helped me be more productive so that when I do come home, my time at home is specifically dedicated to my personal life. That doesn't mean that I don't still work at home, but if I have a lot I really need to get done without distractions, I will go work at a coffee shop.
2. Set a schedule for yourself and stick to it
The good thing about being an entrepreneur is your schedule can likely be pretty flexible. For me, since Frank works full time at a large company, I've always just decided to work whenever he works. This helps me to know that when he gets home, work gets put away.
3. Have a separate work space in your home
I used to have my office in our master bedroom, but so often I would find myself going to bed and if Frank was already asleep, I would just simply get up and get work done. It was such a distraction simply having my computer there in the same room. I couldn't ever shut work off. Having my office in a separate room truly helped me put work away when it truly didn't need to be out.
4. Try not to talk about work when your loved ones are at home
You love your work, and your business; if you didn't, you wouldn't be doing it. It's ok to talk about work with your loved ones, but if it gets to the point where that's all you talk about, something needs to change. There's something really important about being able to shut that part of your brain off when you're around your loved ones. You give the your full, undivided attention. Again, it's not bad to talk about work, and if it comes up, or you have questions and want to bounce off ideas, that's ok, but don't make that the only thing you talk about when your loved ones are around.
5. Set boundaries with your clients (i.e. don't email them back at midnight, or on your days off)
When you run your own business, it's really easy to feel responsible when we make our clients wait...the pressure is all on us, and our businesses don't run when we don't run! But it's really important to set boundaries...you have a life too! Boundaries are healthy and important. I encourage you to figure out what those boundaries are for you if you haven't already! Boundaries work best if you set expectations with your clients before hand. As soon as all of my clients book, I send them a bullet point check list that goes over all of our future interactions as well as a guide to help them in their wedding planning process. This helps them know what they can expect from me, that way they can hold me accountable, and I can set those boundaries. I encourage you, if you haven't already, to set those boundaries with your business as well!