When it comes to bringing home the bacon, it can get messy. As things get busier, work can start to spill over into your family life. There’s no denying a balance needs to be achieved between the two, otherwise family and fun ends up on the unreachable end of a lopsided seesaw.
If you’re a sole trader you know organisation is vital to success. So why not apply some of that management to yourself? The aim is to have a successful work life and fulfilled family life – and the two aren’t mutually exclusive.
So how can you get that balance right? Here are some rules to consider.
Always remember – you’re the boss. As sole trader you are in control, the business isn’t. Is every work related SMS, call and email of drop-everything-right-now importance? Unless you’re a freelance brain surgeon, probably not. Don’t allow work dealings to impact your family time unless you absolutely have to.
Where’s the fun in having no fun? Find activities outside of work that you enjoy regularly, like a date night with your partner or an afternoon surf with the kids – and make them a priority.
Ditch “too busy”
Kim Pisolkar makes a great point in that “I’m too busy” is really code for “that’s not important to me right now.” Replacing the former with the latter will make it a lot harder to say no to family experiences.
Cut the commute
How much time are you losing through transit? It’s not always feasible, but time can be gained if you live near the your workplace. A shorter commute might be the difference between being stuck in gridlock listening to Ed Sheeran on repeat and having dinner with the family each night.
Stress is real! We all feel it at times, and due to the nature of being a one-man band this especially applies to sole traders. If avoidable it’s good to leave the tension stress creates at work. Even if it’s something small, find what helps you unwind. It might be as simple as walking to the local to grab a flat white or busting out a 30-minute lunchtime workout.
That is, to leave work at work. You have a role at home and a role at work, and there needs to be some separation. Compartmentalising the two will help you avoid bringing work baggage (or actual work) home at the end of the day, and will allow you to enjoy family time.
You can’t do everything yourself – put trust in others and delegate. Outsourcing can benefit sole traders by freeing up time. Put simply, the time you would have spent doing a task is now completed by someone else or an automated service, and that means more time you can spend with the family.
As with any relationship, communication is key, especially with the love triangle that you, your family and your business are involved in. Keep an open mind and open ears to your family members and they should do the same.
Finally, each individual’s situation is different, so there’s no cut and dried method to achieving the perfect work life and home life balance. Apply these rules and see if you can even up the scales. If you’re reading this you’re at least aware that a balance is needed, and that’s a sound starting point.
Written By Niall Roeder