Episode 13: Work-Life Balance Habits

Angie and April talk about how to find a work-life balance.

Episode 13: Work-Life Balance Habits

 
 
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Are you struggling with work-life balance? If so, you aren’t alone. It’s a struggle that we face too. Join us in our Facebook group www.growwithusmastermind.com where we will further discuss this and many topics related to our Teacher Pay Teachers businesses.

We will be completely honest here, we struggle with work-life balance. And, we’re guessing that you do too. It seems like this is something that everyone is struggling with right now. I can get a lot done when I work long 12-hour days. But, that’s usually followed by burnout, that feeling you get when you can’t bring yourself to get anything productive accomplished. It might seem like cranking out large amounts of work at once is a good idea, but if it stops you from doing work the next day, or longer, it’s not that helpful. It works better to balance each day and avoid going through the crazy ups and downs.

We found an article online that shares 10 habits that successful entrepreneurs have for work-life balance. We’ll admit that we could improve in more than one of these areas. Here they are:

1. Set working hours

This is hard for us because we are both working on and off throughout the entire day. It can be hard to step away because our work is all around us. We have access to it on our computers, iPads, and phones. We can check on our results when the kids are eating dinner, taking baths, or we just have a minute to ourselves. When you run your own business you could work nonstop 24 hours a day. That’s why setting working hours is so important.

One way that I have been making progress in this area is by keeping set hours when I am able to check my email. I started doing this because it’s really easy to fall down the rabbit hole when checking email. In order to stop wasting so much time on my email, I started checking it only between 6:00 and 6:30 am and then again at 6:30 pm. That’s it.

Angie’s great about setting work hours when the kids are at school but struggles with shutting it down once the kids and her husband are back home. She wants the evenings to be focused on family time, but it’s so easy to think of something that needs to be done that should be a “quick” little thing. But, we have both found that all these “quick” little work tasks really add up and steal time from our non-working hours. This leads us to #2.

2. Unplug when you’re not working

This is something that we are constantly thinking about doing, but it’s difficult to actually do. Personally, I find myself on my phone a lot during my downtime and I usually regret it. I end up feeling bad from just staring at the screen for so long. I actually read something that shared how many successful CEOs have hobbies that aren’t computer related. Outside of their working hours, they don’t hang out on technology and their families don’t either.

Now that TpT is a source of income and “work” it shouldn’t also be a hobby. It’s important to have time that you unplug, step away and focus on other things. This is one reason why I wish that they would just get rid of the TpT app (I know, I know). I end up checking the app about a thousand times a day. It’s so easy to do, but it causes me not to be present in the moment that I’m in. Doing this actually steals time away when I’m spending time with my family.

When I really think about all the little things I do like this throughout the day, I probably waste at least 5 or 6 hours a week on things that don’t really matter. In the podcast, Angie and I talked about a few ways to fight this. The first is to try putting my email check tactic to work with our social media accounts and only allow ourselves to check a few times a day. The second is to batch work like social media posts. If we can devote some of our working time to creating posts and scheduling them on our social media accounts it won’t be something that we do all throughout the day.

3. Schedule one admin day per week

We take “admin work” to include things like scheduling social media posts, tailwind, checking in on our automated stuff, along with budgeting and accounting tasks. These tend to be the tasks that aren’t as fun to do but are necessary for running a business. Both Angie and I find that we are strongest during the first few hours of our workday. So, using this time once a week to complete these tasks is a good way to make sure that we are staying on top of them.

Since these are tasks that aren’t my favorites to do I plan on rewarding myself once they are complete with something like going out to lunch or something else that’s enjoyable.

4. Take at least one day off per week

I have a financial planner that works in the online world and he takes off Fridays along with the weekend. I love this idea and have tried to implement it before, but once Friday gets a little closer I feel like I have so many things that still need to be done.

Angie, on the other hand, tries to always take Sundays off from work. This is the day that she spends as downtime or doing things with family. But, she admits that even on the days that she is “off” she is still using her phone to check stuff related to TpT throughout the day.

We both see how really devoting a day off each week from work is a great idea. This helps you avoid burnout and get in the time for yourself, family, and friends, which brings up #5, 6 and 7.

5, 6, & 7. Schedule social and family time, “me” time, and meal times

We felt like these three really could be grouped together. It’s all about scheduling your time for nonwork-related activities.

Social time

When it comes to social time there are a few things that get in our way. Summer is one of my struggles. It’s blazing hot where I live which makes me want to stay inside and not go anywhere. Angie has the opposite problem. It’s so cold in winter that she likes to stay indoors. We both use these as excuses for not getting out to see friends. And, many of my friends are teachers that work during the day. I have to be really intentional to get together with them in the evenings when my family is home.

Meal times

It seems silly, but it’s really easy for us to neglect “meal times”. When we are focused and working it’s easy for hours to go by without realizing that we didn’t eat breakfast, lunch, or both. When we were working as teachers it was a lot easier because the schedule was set for us. But, now that we are working as entrepreneurs we have freedom in our schedule which makes it easy to lose track of time.

“Me time”

One thing that Angie wants to start doing this year, that I recently started was going to the gym. I stop there twice a week in the morning for some “me time”. This has been really good for me to set this time aside.

8. Have a dedicated workspace

This is one area that I am doing well in because I took the step to get an office outside of my home. I do spend a few hundred dollars a month on it, but it’s been completely worth it. When I’m in my office I’m more motivated to work because that’s why I am there. I don’t have the TV or household tasks that can distract me away from my work. I’ve even been starting to decorate it more like a classroom because soon I will be doing some tutoring to test out curriculum I’m designing.

Angie doesn’t have a dedicated workspace in her home. Right now she is sharing her “formal living room” as her office. Her daughter also has a desk in this space and Angie admits that it can be difficult to get work done there. She dreams of having an office space she can set up as a classroom for filming videos and sharing on social media. However, now that school is starting back up it will be easier for her to work focused in her space with the kids away during the day.

If you don’t have space in your house that you can dedicate as an office see if there are any office sharing / co-working spaces in your city. This can be a more affordable way to have a dedicated work space and there is a wide range of benefits that these places offer such as a receptionist, dedicated address, wi-fi, copy machines, and some even have food and drinks.

9. Cross one item off your to-do list without doing it

We both love this idea and this is one that I actually just happened to do recently. I went to my content calendar and I took off about half the stuff that was on there. I only kept on the things that are the most important.

There are always extra things that we “need” to do. But, if we try to focus on too many tasks at once it’s harder to get any one thing done. Instead, if we narrow down our list it will help us to focus on those tasks that are the most important to growing your business.

10. Adjust & readjust

This is something that both  Angie and I do that helps us run our business. We have to constantly reevaluate what’s working and what’s not. It’s important to know what the goal is that you are working towards and then to choose what to hold on to or let go of when working towards that goal. The small adjustments are the things that help our businesses the most.

Quick reminder

We just want to give you a quick reminder to not be overwhelmed with this list. I know that I could make improvements in almost all of these areas, but I’m going to pick one or two to focus on. And, I recommend that you do the same. Focus on only one or two at a time.

Join the group at www.growwithusmastermind.com. It’s a great place to continue the conversation, share what’s worked for you, and find out what’s worked for others when it comes to Facebook ads.

 

Written by April Smith

April runs her business Performing in Education, LLC full time. Her main focus is on her Teachers Pay Teacher store, but she also has an online course for teachers and has written a book on project-based learning!