This summer, we partnered with TED speaker Tracy Brower, Ph.D., MM, MCR, for a Summer Reading Club – using her book Bring Work to Life as a guide. Every week throughout the summer, we’re answered work-life integration questions. Check out the full “Ask Tracy” series and our reading club reading club for more information on how to navigate work and life.
As a solopreneur, how do I maintain work-life integration?
A lot of people launch their own businesses thinking they’ll have more time and flexibility. But they often have less of both because they’re living the dream 24/7 – making it even tougher to get away from work.
So how do you create work-life integration in this situation? Here are four steps:
Find a way to set boundaries that work for your family
Your investment becomes a family commitment as well, so your boundaries must work for everyone. Set a clear line between work and non-work time. One woman I know agreed with her husband that she can work late (and frequently miss dinner) Monday through Thursday. In return, she’s completely available to the family with no work Friday evening through Sunday. Another entrepreneur agreed with his partner to check emails and voicemails from home, but leave family outings, events and vacations work-free zones. The point? Establish a boundary that works, and stick with it.
Communicate the boundaries to your customers
Be confident, secure and firm in your boundaries. The reality is there’s always another customer need or hot issue to solve. But you have to keep perspective and say ‘no’ if you want to build a sustainable schedule.
Delegate and split responsibilities when you can
Even if you’re in business by yourself, partner with experts on areas that aren’t your strengths. Count on accountants for finances, or get support from a strategy guru for your yearly planning. You’ll feel a greater sense of work-life fulfillment, satisfaction and integration when you spend your energy in areas that you’re good at, and can delegate the things that aren’t the best use of your time and talents.
Feed your own needs
When your business is your own, it’s consuming – in a good way. After all, it’s likely your passion. The downside of your time investment and passion is that it can narrow your focus to nothing but work. Make time to energize yourself outside of your work so you can stay at your best. Whether it’s reading, running, learning to play the violin with your daughter or building marble towers with your son, take the time to decompress.
About Tracy Brower:
Tracy is a work environment sociologist, author, mother of two and Global Vice President of Workplace Vitality at Mars Drinks. She studies how humans affect their work-life and how it affects them back. Over her career, Tracy has had the opportunity to engage with many of the Fortune 500 companies.