Startup Advice

Starting up? How to balance life and work

Jack Stratten

If you start your own business, there'll be no more 9-5. This guide helps you to find a balance betw

One of the characteristics of running your own small business is that your hours are rarely nine-to-five. On the one hand, this can allow great flexibility for those owners who need a little more time at home in the mornings, such as parents who need to complete the school run.

On the other hand, as any owner will tell you, setting up a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) entirely on your own can be a challenging affair that starts to consume all of your time, especially if you've never tried it before.

You might think that it's just temporary and that once your business is properly up and running, you'll be able to flake out on the sofa or catch up with family and friends to your heart's content, but this isn't necessarily the case.

If you don't get your work-life balance right from the very start, you're very likely to be playing catch-up for the rest of your working life, so here are a few tips for the all-important start-up process.

Managing your workload

To start with, prioritise your workload with the aim of completing the more important tasks first. This way, should anything unexpected crop up, you've already dealt with your most pressing issues.

Structuring your day properly will help ensure that you finish on time and aren't held up by something that could have been completed before something less pressing.

Protecting your leisure time

Put boundaries in place in order to protect the time you don't want to spend working. Work to a strict schedule and, if you know you have a tendency to overrun, tell a family member or a friend to come and drag you away.

What's really essential?

A recent survey by Ingenious Britain found that 25 per cent of SME leaders spend more than half of their day on non-core business activities. On your next typical working day, make a list of every task you perform, before sitting down at the end and striking off the ones that could have been done by someone else or entirely circumvented.

Whatever you do, find some time for you. Because running yourself in to the ground is not going to get your business anywhere.