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6 Tips Towards Work Life Balance for Start Ups

There is a strong temptation for people building start-ups to throw themselves whole-heartedly into their business. At first thought, it seems important to commit all free time and resources to the good of the business, and surely dividends will follow, right? Not really.

By being too single-minded about it, what you are looking at is physical, emotional and creative exhaustion. In order to succeed, it is important that a full commitment is given to your work and growth. But this does not mean every waking moment must be spent directly involved. If you don’t work out now how to bring some balance into your life, you’ll end up stuck in a cycle that will cost you your health.

It’s even more important to find work/life balance when you are working closely with clients rather than perhaps opening an online store.

As a bookkeeper, the success of your business comes down to the careful management of your clients as much as it does the careful management of their books. If you are stressed or overworked, the first thing that suffers is your ability to care for your client.

The good news is that while you’re in the start-up phase you are still designing your business.  It’s the best time to plan the way you want to live, and build your business around your lifestyle, rather than fit your life in around the business.

  1. Work out the lifestyle you want to live. How would you spend your ideal day? What do you do? When? Who with? Where? Once you’ve come up with a pretty good idea of the lifestyle you’d like to be living, you can move on and work out how to fit work in around it. Yes, you’re approaching this from a very different point of view to most start-ups, but you’ll end up with a happier and more sustainable business result.
  2. Build a support team. Do not try to do everything. If you have too many good ideas to take care of yourself, start to build a trustworthy team around you. In particular, you may need a personal assistant to manage your office for you. He or she can manage phone and email enquiries and take care of the fiddly, time-consuming details of your day. Don’t be surprised if you also need a reliable bookkeeper to help you manage your finances. When you’re working hard on your client’s books, it’s tough to find the time or motivation to manage your own. No matter what business you’re in, I always recommend having a bookkeeper or accountant, a solicitor and a fabulous assistant on your team.
  3. Delegate effectively. Delegation is a skill you need to learn but it’s probably the last thing you think of when you start out, especially as a solo worker. However, if you want to do more than spend your life working, you’ll eventually need to call on your support team for help. It can be difficult to let go of control and pass work on to others to do but it’s a habit you need to get into. With a little practice you’ll get used to the idea and learn which pieces of work can be managed well by your team.
  4. It might seem like more hard work, but even light regular exercise will help you keep in good health (physical and mental) and is great for adding variety to your working week. Fresh air can also do wonders, particularly for those who work in front of screens.
  5. Keep up with family and friends. They probably know your work is important to you, and would ‘understand’ if you miss a few occasions here and there, but make sure they know they are important to you too by not being absent all the time. Life has a funny way of moving on, often faster than you think, and you’ll want them around to share the champagne when the day comes.
  6. Take proper holidays. You know what they say about all work and no play? You need to take regular and decent breaks from work to recharge your batteries. When you can come back to work refreshed, your mind is clear and easily able to manage your client accounts. Even better, you feel much more relaxed so you can get back to enjoying client interaction, rather than surviving them! If you can’t get away for a decent break, even taking a long weekend can make a big difference if you can leave your office behind and get some real, restorative rest.

Although a drive to succeed and the ability to commit time and energy to your start up is vitally important, making sure to keep a healthy work life balance will be more beneficial in the end. Bookkeeping isn’t the easiest job in the world so to be successful – and enjoy the ride – make sure you take good care of yourself. You are your businesses biggest asset!

21 Mar 2016
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