Having a healthy and functional work-life balance is hard for a busy businesswoman, right? More so if you’re working from home, or if you’re a working mom. It’s even harder when you’re a solo female entrepreneur. You have so many responsibilities, so many hats to wear, so many duties to take care of. How can you make sure you’re not neglecting your business, your family, and as equally important, yourself?
Work-life balance is a complicated topic for many female entrepreneurs. Add to that the burden of living through a pandemic where most of us are confined to working in our homes. In this kind of situation, it’s unavoidable that our family and work lives mix and impose on each other. Boundaries become blurred, which then throws off our focus and productivity. And you want to be focused. When you’re a parent, you want to focus on your children. But as a businesswoman, you also want to focus on your business.
So how do you draw the line? How can you keep that healthy separation between your own personal life, and that of growing your business?
Before anything else, I want to emphasize that scaling and growing your business requires work on all areas. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is an important part, but it’s only one part. If you want to make a significant difference to your business, there are nine areas you need to be constantly working on. If you want to know what these areas are, I created “The Women’s Blueprint to Business Success” from my many years of experience as a business coach for female entrepreneurs. It identifies all the areas you need to improve when you’re growing your business. Learn more about it here.
Now here are some tips to consider if you want to have that good work-life balance:
Having a separate room where you can close the door will help create that distinction between work and home. It will also minimize the disruptions that being at home naturally creates, especially if there are many people living in the same house. If having an entire room to yourself is not possible, you can use the space that’s available to you and make a partition. This will help you shift your mindset to concentrate on the work you have to do.
Separate your work duties from your personal ones by creating a clear division between the time you spend focusing on work and the time you spend on yourself and your family. Set specific hours that you would work only on your business. The rest of the time focus on everything else. This will help you be more focused in the now and increase your productivity as a female entrepreneur.
Creating a delineation of work and family life is great in principle, but we all know that when you’re a full-time parent, this is easier said than done. Especially when you have young kids. Will you ignore your crying child? Will you disregard your child’s needs? Of course not. You’re a parent first, after all.
What you can do is to encourage the people in your household to give you their support while you work on your business, which is also just as important. When it’s your time to work, ask them to respect the fact that (as much as possible) you will not be available during that time. You can also have arrangements in place to ensure that your children will not be neglected during your work hours, such as daycare or having babysitters over.
And what’s wrong if they watch a movie so you can work in the meantime? When they are teenagers, they will do this anyway and you will have no say about it anymore. No matter how hard you’ve tried to get them away from the TV when they were young. I know from personal experience. L
As women, we know that being a parent is 24/7. And as businesswomen, we also know that the work never stops. There’s always more work to do, phone calls we need to answer, emails we have to respond to––it’s never finished. That’s why you have to use your time well and focus on what you’re doing at the moment. We hear a lot about multitasking nowadays, but is it really effective? If you find that you’re not getting the results you want even when you feel like you’re doing so much, it’s time to reassess how you’re doing your tasks. Organize and schedule the tasks you need to do according to when you think it will be more productive for you to do so.
If you’re prone to procrastination, work on your self-discipline. I know it isn’t easy, but if you keep doing it, or at least try doing it, it will become a habit. You can also have accountability partners to motivate you and hold you responsible for accomplishing your tasks.
Maintaining a work-life balance can also be more difficult when you have clients who feel entitled to your time and attention, beyond your scope of work. And there’s a simple solution to this: say NO. Sounds easy, right? Yet many women find it very hard to say this one word. We always want to please people; we always want to help and be of service. And that’s okay, but to an extent. If it’s at your own expense, the time you’d rather spend on yourself or your family, say no.
If it’s late at night, or if it’s the weekend and it’s not an emergency, don’t pick up the phone. Reply to emails on the next working day. Politely decline work that you shouldn’t be doing. And you shouldn’t feel guilty about it. You should respect your time. Because if you can’t set boundaries for yourself, you won’t be able to set boundaries for your clients too.
If you accept a certain behavior once, you’re going to accept it again and again. This also applies to your own kids. If you accept that they can come in anytime and disturb you while you’re working, you teach them that it’s okay to do that. They also need to learn how to cope with boundaries. They have to learn to understand that their parents are not accessible to them anytime. This may not be the kind of parent you want to be, but you’re not doing them and yourself a favor by not teaching them about boundaries.
Is the perfect work-life balance even possible? First of all, you have to accept that perfection in this case is all a matter of perception. What’s the perfect balance for you? Does it mean equal parts work and personal life? Does your image of work-life balance have to live up to what you see as perfect on social media? Perfection is something we women torture ourselves with. We have this image of what we think our lives and our business should look like. We become unhappy and dissatisfied when we can’t live up to these unrealistic expectations. How you perceive work-life balance has a lot to do about how happy and content you can be, despite your circumstances.
Work-life balance for women is a constant struggle. For one thing, women are held to a different standard when it comes to being in business and being a parent. We’re expected to both be successful in business and be a good mom as well. Another thing is that we also hold ourselves up against the standard of perfection. We want to make everything perfect; we have to be perfect at everything. But really, what we need to accept is that perfection is an illusion. If you can give up being perfect and be at ease with yourself and what you’re doing, you’ll start to feel more at peace. That’s when we can start to find that balance.
Finding that balance in our business is also a challenge for us female entrepreneurs. When you’re only working on one area of your business (and that can be that one area that you like doing or that area that you think need to work the most), you’re not going to make a significant difference to your business. As a business coach for female entrepreneurs, my advice is always this: If you want to strike that balance, you need to be working on all areas, because they are all connected. What you need is a holistic approach. Learn more about it here.
My name is Tineke Rensen and I am a business coach for women. I created the system “A Women’s Blueprint for Business Success,” where I work with female entrepreneurs in 9 major areas in their business.
There are many out there who call themselves “business coaches” but have never had their own business. What you need is a business coach who has experience in scaling and growing businesses. And I’ve had plenty. In my 31 years of experience, I’ve become an expert on many areas, and I can help you with whatever topic you need help with. Because it NEVER is about changing just one thing that’ll pivot your business around
If you want to learn more about what makes a good business coach for women check out this article about the 20 questions you should ask a business coach for female entrepreneurs.
Interested to learn how you can work with me one-on-one to build your one-woman gig to a proper business and double your income within a year? Click here now to schedule a quick 15-minute call with me and get started.
Tineke Rensen of Powerful Business Academy has been in business for 31 years. She built an international Outdoor and Survival business from scratch and sold it after 22 years.
Tineke was also a national whitewater kayaking champion.
She now is one of the most all-round business accelerators and mentors you can find. She helps businesswomen to “Scale & Grow, Make More Impact And Work Less.” There are very few topics she cannot help you with in your business. Many people find this hard to believe, but hey, how much do you think you know about scaling businesses if you live it day and night for 31 years?
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