How to find the right work/life balance
Lara Squires, director of Consortium Business Solutions, talks to Direct Line for Business about how to find the right work/life balance.
Lara runs Consortium Business Solutions from a converted garage at her home in Worthing, while also bringing up her two young children.
We asked Lara for her top tips on balancing your professional life and personal life to find the right balance between the two. Read on to find out more.
Involve your family
It's important to make sure that your family know what's happening in your business as they will almost certainly have to make some sacrifices for your business. Particularly in the early days.
This could include not going on holiday, working at the weekend, or asking your partner to pick the kids up from school a couple of extra days a week. So it's important that they understand what you're trying to achieve and how you're going to get there so that they can be on the journey with you.
Take some time to explain what your business goals are, and the impact that they could have on your personal lives, to your family before you start your business.
Develop a support network
Developing a strong support network is vital to ensuring that you have a good work/life balance, especially if you have a family.
Ask your parents, friends or partner if they can help out with child care when you have a deadline to meet.
And if you don't have family or friends in the local area, you can always find support online. There are lots of groups on social media and boards where you can post about the struggles that you're having.
It's also worth checking online as many schools now have their own Facebook page. So a post on there explaining your situation and asking if any parents would be able to help with child care or the school run could be a good place to find help if you're new to the area.
Make time for the family
When you run your own business it can be easy to rationalise working longer hours, or during weekends.
Sometimes this will be necessary, for example if you have a big deadline coming up. But wherever possible, you need to set some boundaries and make sure that you stick to them.
Having that cut off time is incredibly important to maintaining a good work/life balance. Otherwise you'll end up working 7 days a week and forget why you're working in the first place.
So make sure to give yourself at least one day off at the weekend to spend with your family and stick as close to a regular 9-5 as your workload allows.
Set aside some time for yourself
Running a business is really stressful, so it's very important to take some time for yourself to allow you to manage that stress.
Set aside some time each week to do something that you really enjoy, even if it's only a few hours a week. This will help you to clear your head and get some perspective on the work that you're doing.
Go do it
My final piece of advice for getting the right work/life balance would be to just go and do it.
50 years ago women didn't go to work as they didn't think they could and bring up a family, but they do now. The same applies to running you own business.
You may not get the balance right when you first start out, but your work/life balance will work given time. You just need to find a way for it to work for you.