Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Work-Life Balance when you’re Self-Employed
A decent work-life balance is a sought-after thing - yet it's not generally that simple to accomplish. Work and professions have a propensity for impeding our own time and lives, particularly if you run your own trade business or spend your days working 9-5 for a larger company.
Striking the right balance between your work and your personal time is tough to achieve but worth it if you give it a chance. Today, Rhino Trade Insurance wants to explore ways in which you can streamline your business, affect your daily work and increase your time at home and in your personal life.
The Challenges of Maintaining a Work-Life Balance as a Self-Employed Tradesperson
Setting Clear Boundaries
Tip numero uno is to set goals for what you want to achieve. When setting these objectives, it is critical to incorporate your personal goals, not just what you hope to do in your professional life.
Would you like to invest more energy with your family or commit more nights to leisure activities? You might think it's odd to look at these cases as goals but believe us, when running a business, you need every aspect of your life to be a slick operation. Without dedicating time and effort to planning for things you enjoy or love, your life will quickly be absorbed by your trade, and you may end up unhappy.
If you had a pound for every time you heard someone say, "I wish I had more time in the day", you'd be one wealthy individual. So consider that statement when planning your work-life balance.
Business owners and self-employed professionals are on an endless path to success; growth is the word of the day. However, don't forget the goals you are aiming for. Whether professional or personal, make sure to plan effectively, don't negotiate on them, and ensure they are specific and achievable and, above all, time-bound.
Developing a Daily or Weekly Schedule & Keeping the Routine
Setting clear goals helps to create a schedule that will run alongside your objectives; this will be a reminder for you and help keep them on track.
Begin with a year's schedule (a wall chart or online planner) and list every occasion you aim to have some downtime - whether that's a weekend away, a trip to Vegas or taking the family to the cinemas. Following this, Tradesmen and women have varied workloads, so plan your projects and consider what you can feasibly take on over the week or month. Having a timetable in this manner will allow you to deal with your client load effectively. Gaps in your schedule will be apparent, and busier times will be easily identifiable.
After this, you should have a clear picture of what tasks need to be done and how long you have set yourself and can start on your routine. This *should* guarantee that you have all your fundamental assignments booked so that you can work through them and enjoy your time after work finishes. Of course, in the trades, nothing runs that smoothly, but it's worth keeping a plan so that you don't end up selling yourself short.
In terms of work-life balance, one of the worst situations you can get into as a business owner is going to work earlier than anticipated and staying much later than wanted. Sometimes it's worth taking a step back, reviewing your original schedule, and remembering what's important in life.
While planning your daily or weekly schedule, always take regular breaks and never forget to take your lunch. On top, prioritise your evenings and schedule time to unwind each night. As we'll share later in this article, there are plenty of ways to enjoy yourself and chill after a hard day of graft.
Knowing when and where you are meant to be and on which jobs help with your time management as well as productivity. Of course, you can make minor changes or move things around if needs be, but knowing jobs, projects, and tasks are in the pipeline helps you mentally prepare for what's coming, as long as you don't stretch yourself too thin.
Stats tell us that trade business owners and self-employed individuals are happier than people who work as an employee. The main reason is their autonomy and control over their own time. They can work as hard as they like, for however long they want, and on average, are happier for doing so.
Building a Support System
In the trades, most people enjoy helping their fellow worker mates. Whether they are plumbers, sparkies or carpenters, social media and general local trade networks are great for sharing knowledge, help and workloads.
No one can do everything themselves, so learning to share the workload is best when running a trade business. Hiring an apprentice, getting help with your accounts, or having someone manage your social media - all of these can assist with developing a more manageable work-life balance.
As a trade insurer who is active online, we see plenty of tradespeople helping each other daily with valuable videos, new regulations, and even sharing jobs when they are personally too busy. It's a lovely situation to find the industry in, and we hope it continues. Why not consider branching out and building a network for yourself? Who knows, but it may make you happier and give you more time to focus on things you enjoy outside of work.
Embrace the technological revolution
If the last three years have shown us anything, it's that businesses can utilise technology to run their business easier. From video calls, useful apps, review websites and trade job searches. Now, more than ever, you can effectively manage your business and spend more time doing other things.
Consider, do you always need to travel to a customer's location to see a job? Could it be spoken about over zoom? On top, why not make your business digital and use apps like Tradify to manage quotes, invoices and more? The more you can leave to technology, the more time you can spend developing your skills and getting your work done.
Regarding wellness and health, consider the many apps that help with relaxation, mental health and more. As it's been said, technology and apps have been designed to make our working life easier, so why not take full advantage of them?
- Video calls (Zoom, Skype, Google)
- Wellness apps (Calm, Headspace)
- Productivity apps (Tradify, Xero)
- Screen-time controls on iPhones
- Digital to-do lists
Staying Organised and Managing Time Effectively
By blocking time and managing your business, giving yourself set working hours and effectively managing stakeholder expectations will guarantee that once your day ends, you can zone out of your professional life and zero in on things you appreciate in your personal life.
Once that internal clock rings, finish your day or the task you are working on. Don't stay behind for extra hours; this can only get out of hand and ruin your schedule. Take a step back from your work phone, switch on an automated messages service, and get back to customers when you return the next day.
We know of a small glazing manufacturer and installation company in the UK that operates from 8am to 4:30pm. No matter how busy they are, the answering machine goes on once the clock strikes 4:30pm, and any messages will be dealt with the next day. Because they follow rigid wall planners, they know precisely the amount of workload they can take on, which invariably helps them to maintain an excellent work-life balance.
Activities that can Help: Relaxation and Reflection
As a tradesperson running your own business, you need bundles of energy to keep going. On a daily basis, you are working on the job at hand, managing clients, dealing with suppliers, teaching apprentices/employees, running risk assessments and much more. It can be physically and mentally draining.
It's vital to take care of your well-being, and ensuring you follow a set schedule and follow tasks to reach your goals will help with managing your mind and body. When working, make sure to drink plenty of fluids and eat a healthy, balanced diet. A Mcdonald's is fine as long as it's not every day. A trick for you is to include this in your weekly or daily plan - where/ what you will eat.
On top of this, consider the following when outside of work:
- Exercise daily
- Plan a regular date night
- Keep social with your friends and family
- Consider trying relaxation methods
- Take time to reflect from a personal and professional standpoint
- Cook and much more
Why choose Rhino Trade Insurance?
Just like that, our article concludes. We hope that after reading this, you are encouraged to take more control over your time as a tradesperson and effectively improve the balance between work and personal time.
The current industry is terrific for tradesmen and women. As a skilled worker, your expertise is in high demand. We all love to make money, but ensuring your trade business grows in a way that doesn't stress you out is imperative. Take heed of our methods, explore how to grow, and take care of your well-being.
As a trade insurance provider who aims to provide quality insurance options for your business, we are here to make your insurance journey easy. With amazing premiums and cover for a whole manner of business functions, Rhino can provide excellent protection that covers damages, accidents, injuries and more. Contact us and see what you can get, or give our UK team a call at 0116 243 7904