Women-owned businesses continue to be on the rise and, in fact, are now the fastest growing segment of new businesses in the US. As women take their rightful place as leaders in the professional world, they still may carry the bulk of responsibility in their personal lives as well, often acting as caregivers for children as well as other family members, coordinating domestic schedules and essentially managing most aspects of home life.
This adds to the already significant stresses that are involved with starting and running your own business, putting women at an additional disadvantage. It’s important to establish a good work-life balance to find success, happiness and fulfillment. Below are some helpful tips for achieving that precious work-life balance.
Set Realistic Expectations
Many women believe they can and should do it all. They see other women who appear to have it all together and aim for perfection. The idea of perfection is not possible, and sets you up for failure and frustration. Set reasonable, achievable goals for both your business and your home life and be willing to be flexible. When you understand you don’t have to be a superwoman, it will eliminate a lot of stress and guilt from your life.
Determine what your priorities are, and then set boundaries to help you meet those priorities. For example, it’s easy to work virtually around the clock on a new business, but creating set working hours can help ensure that you’ll have time to spend with your family, get proper rest, and be at your best when you are working.
Schedule Time for Self-Care
Be sure to schedule a little “me” time every day – whether that is for a nice lunch, a walk around the block, an exercise/meditation class, or even a power nap. Make that time sacred and non-negotiable. You also want to occasionally plan some time off for a spa day or massage, a fun activity with the whole family, or a romantic weekend away. Burn out is real, so recharge yourself regularly.
Distractions reduce your ability to focus and get things done, so try and minimize them as much as possible. Try to stay off social media, and set a specific time to look at and respond to emails so you aren’t constantly being interrupted. You may want to make one day a week off-limits for scheduling meetings and calls. You want to reduce distractions during family time as well, so consider shutting off phones during dinner, or staying off your laptop after working hours.
To prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed, look for ways to delegate tasks that are not the best use of your time. This could mean delegating a task at work to a trusted employee or business partner, outsourcing or automating a process (such as invoicing or doing your taxes) and hiring help around the house to watch the kids, cook meals or clean.
Just Say “No”
Women business leaders often feel obligated to participate in everything they are asked to – from speaking engagements and volunteer activities to school bake sales or the PTA. Whenever you are asked to do something, weigh the benefits of it to you versus the stress and time it will take. Practice saying no gracefully and honestly, and protect your precious time.
Join a Supportive Network
Finally, consider joining a supportive networking group that is exclusively focused on women in business. Valley’s Women in Business program connects and empowers professional women by providing networking and educational opportunities that enrich the professional lives of women at every stage of their career.
Women in Business collaborates with thought leaders in the community and fosters connections between members by hosting social and educational events that provide opportunities for growth, learning and networking. Having a group of other, like-minded professional women can be a great resource and comfort – they have walked in your shoes, understand your struggles and can provide you with invaluable advice.
At Valley, we’re committed to helping women business owners with the financial services, networking support and resources they need to succeed. Register for our Women in Business program today, or contact us to learn more.