How to Get a Better Work / Life Balance in Business

by Melanie Boylan
Business Mindset
Social Media How To’s and Top Tips

The worry of jugglng your brand new business and still managing everything else is a real concern. Read on to learn how to tackle this.

Gentle reader, do you feel trapped by your entrepreneurial adventure? As a sole trader / solopreneur, we should be able to manage this work / life balance better don’t you think?

Are you missing friends birthdays, nights in or out with your partner, and you’re not taking days off “just because”?

Our customers expect us to be available for certain hours of the day and days of the week. They expect us to respond within a certain timeframe as well.  If we don’t meet those expectations, they will look elsewhere. I hear you!

You’ll be pleased to hear, there are ways of meeting our customers’ expectations, without becoming a slave to our business.  

If you have a small staff, etc as a good business owner, you’ll know that your people are the most valuable asset that your company has. Employees are the direct representatives, and doers that make everything happen. If employees burn out and fail to be productive, the company's workforce will suffer, and the business will pay the price.

Identifying Challenges Faced by Business Owners

Time Management

I’m sure this is no shock to you that time management (or lack thereof) is one of the first issues.  Many business owners find themselves putting in longer hours, especially in the beginning stages of their business. This can take up a large amount of time that would have previously been spent with family and friends.


Some business owners find the lack of co-workers to socialize with can lead to feelings of loneliness, as you may have previously been used to working in a group environment. This can also cause depression. It’s a proven fact that working with other people increases work efficiency and creates a positive work environment.

Lack of Staffing

Small business owners may want to keep their costs low by choosing to do everything themselves.However, this doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best choice, as it can result in getting burned out. There are some other business owners who will also struggle to give up the reins and want to control everything in their business mainly because they feel they can’t trust it in someone else's hands.

Strategies for Achieving Work-Life Balance

Let’s discuss now how to avoid these pitfalls and how we can better build equilibrium back into our lives.  

Plan Ahead

Taking some time to reassess and reevaluate your goals and values is the first step to improving work-life balance. Consider what you want to get out of life and what is truly important to you. It can be helpful to keep a journal of your daily activities for a week or two. This will help you get a clear picture of where your time is being spent. It may be helpful to list the activities and time spent in a pie chart. This can be a wake-up call for those who are spending a majority of their time on work.

Embrace Who You Are

We all like to imitate someone we admire.  However, it's so much easier to aspire to be a better version of yourself.  If you’re more visual and want to prepare ahead using post it notes or a white board, go ahead.  In the long run it will prove to be more effective than carrying around a diary you never look at.

Time Blocks are Your Friend

Create some dedicated time to do certain things. An hour a day creating content perhaps, that way you’ll always be ahead. Set two hours a week aside to write blogs or do photos.  Always ensure you set time aside for lunch.  Everyone needs that time down to switch off and feel more refreshed. Maybe try to go out for a walk and totally destress?

I know some people prefer to do admin-type work like accounts and writing in the morning when they’re feeling fresher and to speak to clients in person or through Zoom, etc in the afternoons.

End Your Day

It’s your business, so finish when you want to finish.  I have a friend who says to me “We don’t save lives” and she’s right.  If we don’t have that piece of content done by end of business today, no one dies, so put it aside until the next day.

Over the last few years, I have regularly finished work when my kids finished school and I always do my best to do half days when they finish terms, etc.  

As long as you manage your customers’ expectations – you are most definitely allowed to finish at times you want.


Using Tools and Technology

One of the most frequent tools I see in use is the email out-of-office.  Its so handy to let people know you’ve received their message, and you’ll get back to them the next working day or perhaps you can give them another means of contacting you., like text or WhatsApp.

I personally find using time management tools very effective.  I have used Asana and in the past but others use Trello and Infinity as well. These can help you prioritise and split things out into manageable tasks.

One of the more recent tools I’ve moved over to – because of the communities I’m now a part of are communication tools like Slack and WhatsApp.  I keep up with my group in Digital Women in Slack or my work colleagues at Irish Tech News there as well.  It means I get less emails and thus save more space!

I don’t do it as frequently as I did before, but you might want to use a time tracking tool like Toggl.  It helps you better understand where you’re putting most of your efforts.  Are you spending a lot of time responding to client emails, are you scrolling too much (don’t we all) and just be completely honest and jot down all of your everyday things over a period of a couple of weeks to see where you’re really spending your time.

If you want to post to several social platforms at once, you may want to use something like Postplanner, AgoraPulse, Feedalpha or HeroPost. They automatically format the post for you, and you just need to put in the content etc.  Some automation tools can just take a csv you have uploaded and fill out all the relevant fields.  Most of these tools will cost something but the time it saves is unreal.

Over the last 4 years I have been working with a Virtual Assistant and this has saved me so much time!  She has been a godsend to me and works very efficiently and she has a fantastic work ethic.  With her working on things behind the scenes,it means I can do more customer service and customer facing work and this means I can respond faster to queries as well.

Implementing Effective Time Management Techniques

In my experience, almost all the stress related to a poor work life balance is from not having enough time.  I won’t lie to you, when you first start your business, you do have to put in a LOT of time.  This normally goes on for a few months as you’re expected to have everything that an already running business has in place, almost from the get-go.  However, once you’re through this part, it’s down to creating a better customer expectation.  

For instance, on my website (at the time of writing in 2024) I have “me” or “I” and not the “we” I see a lot of people put on their websites. I want people to understand that I am the trainer, accounts person, customer service department, complaints department and more.  I have also outlined in my About section that I am a parent, so they know that I might be out getting the kids too.  

In fact, over the years my Terms and Conditions have blossomed into a very effective way to manage my own and my clients expectations.

I then look to the strategies I have outlined above and implement as many of them as possible and of course, not all in one go.  

You might find niching as a very useful tool as well.  That way you get less “tyre-kickers” and you’re then only throwing your energy at people who will appreciate your work and your pricing.

It’s hard not to become a slave to our business, but no one else has the power to stop it but you.  If you’re really struggling, why not try to find an Accountability Buddy.  As long as they are at the same stage in business as you, it doesn’t matter if they’re in a different industry or even a different country. You can spur each other on and be there for each other when you’re feeling low.  

If you have any questions and want to ask me how I’m getting on with my own work life balance, then please contact me today.

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