It’s a new year and a great time to reflect upon the last twelve months of your business. Like many business owners, Christmas can be a difficult period as you struggle to find the balance between work commitments and family time.

I wanted to start the new year off by thinking about some thing we can all do to find a better work life balance and ultimately make you a happier person.

1. Switch off from your email when you’re not at work

This is a difficult one, especially if you are like me and have your email and messaging apps installed on various devices. This might make it a bit more complicated but it is worth it! So switch off your email client on your computer. If you have a phone or tablet with your emails on it – remove the accounts! You don’t need to keep getting notifications about things you can’t respond to.

If checking emails is vital (maybe you work in a service industry and need to be available to client), then decide a pre-arranged time each day or week to check your emails. Once you have checked them, close it down and leave it! Don’t be tempted to keep checking!

I have separate work and personal email accounts. Before the holidays, I removed the work email accounts from my iPad. I also removed any messaging apps that I use for work (for me, this is slack). If you have separate devices for work – leave them at work!

2. Set an Auto-Responder

So you don’t want to seem like you are ignoring people – why not set an auto responder for your work emails, when you are not there. It doesn’t have to be complicated, this Christmas mine just said the following….

I am currently away on annual leave until Wednesday 4th January.

All the best,
James

If you run an online store, add a site wide notification message telling your customers that all orders will be fulfilled on a certain date (or whenever you are back in the office).

3. Write it in the diary!

Book out your holidays and family time in the diary. If you’re old school use a paper diary, write it big enough that there is no room to put in anything else! Don’t be tempted to add a few jobs here and there! If you use an electronic calendar like G-Suite, why not add an event and make sure you are marked as busy. That way, if you use shared calendars – everyone else will know that you are busy too!

4. Don’t worry about what you can’t change!

I recently read this great comment in a Facebook group that I am part of. There is no point worrying about things that you can’t change. Maybe you have a difficult customer or something at work that you know is unresolved. Accept that whilst it may be a bad situation, there is nothing that you can do about it until you are back in the office! Leave it for another day.

(Oh, and when you get back to work – you’ll have a fresh mind and you’ll get that problem nailed!)

5. Learn to say no!

Maybe you’re really good at this, but some of us find it harder than others. If it’s not going to make you happy in the long run, just say no. Be protective over your family time. There will always be another day to work, but days with your family are precious and you only get so many of them.

I’ve made that mistake, I’ve worked evenings and weekends desperately trying to finish projects for clients than ran over – usually because the client took ages getting back to me with something. Once you do it once, people will expect it. Lay out your expectations and stick to them.

In Conclusion

I guess this article is a bit of a tangent from what I’ve written recently, but I guess we’re all still learning. I know that I feel a lot more refreshed for being strict with these things and I know that my 6 year old daughter definitely appreciates it when she has my undivided attention.

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