5 Time-Management Skills for Better Work–Life Balance
Are you constantly racing against the clock? Is work–life balance something you can only dream about? A good work–life balance can reduce stress and help you feel fulfilled in all aspects of your life.Hone these five time-management skills for better balance.
Successful business owners have discipline. In fact, it's a big reason why military veterans make great entrepreneurs. They prioritize what matters and work well under pressure. They also recognize and respect boundaries, which means setting limits around work hours.
- Stop working after a certain time of day.
- Turn off your smartphone (or leave it out of sight).
- Don't check email after hours.
- Pack your weekends with personal pursuits so work doesn't creep into your free time.
The work day is full of distractions — an email that demands your attention, a quick glance at Facebook that turns into 15 minutes, or unproductive meetings.
Recognize these interruptions and eliminate (or compensate) for them.
Try the following:
- Reserve 30 minutes at the beginning and end of every day to check email.
- Start each week with a team meeting to set goals and expectations.
- Host a quick 15-minute daily status meeting with your staff to synchronize team work and progress and identify impediments.
- Don't start a new task until the one you're working on is complete.
- Limit texting. If someone interrupts you over text, tell them you'll get back to them at a set time.
- Limit social media to work-related posts.
- Leave "white space" on your calendar to deal with the unexpected.
- Set your priorities for the next day before you leave work. Write them down. That way you'll clear your mind of what the next day holds.
Delegating is one of the best time-management skills to hone. It takes things off your plate and empowers employees. It takes patience to become a skilled delegator, but once your employees are proficient and have the tools and resources to get things done without your supervision, your time will free up significantly.
Everyday tools like email and calendars are great for keeping your life organized, especially if you synchronize them across devices. Here are other time-management tools to try:
- Manage relationships better with CRM tools. Customer relationship management (CRM) tools like SalesForce, Insightly and Zoho CRM help keep track of client relationships, projects, marketing activities and more for a low monthly cost.
- Use apps to track your business expenses. Save time on admin and tax preparation with apps that take the pain out of tracking expenses, mileage and (if you're a contractor) hours worked. Expensify, Concur Expense and BizXpense Tracker are just some of the tools available.
- Automate invoicing and payroll. Accounting tools like FreshBooks, Xero or Quickbooks Online can help you manage expenses, track invoices and automate menial accounting tasks. If payroll is a burden, check out Gusto, Inuit Payroll and OnPay, all of which can save time.
If you don't take advantage of downtime, you risk burnout, not to mention short-changing relationships with clients, colleagues and family.
Make work-life balance a priority and see how good time-management skills can enhance all aspects of your life.