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Business & life blurring together? Here’s what you need to do…

by Alison Bradford

Post image for Business & life blurring together? Here’s what you need to do…

You know that you need to work hard to succeed in business, right?

You know that it’s all about your customers, and that you need to give excellent service to them.

But you’ve started to feel a bit jaded. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but your business and life seem to be slowly merging together. Where does one start and the other end?

Most evenings you spend working away on the laptop, pretending to listen to your other half.

Any hobbies you had have all but dropped off – you struggle to find time to read even.

Your smartphone addiction is beginning to feel a bit like you’re having an affair with it. You know you check it too much. You panic when you can’t see it. Shrill shouts of ‘where’s my phone?‘ erupt if you can’t see it quickly.

You need to constantly check your emails and Twitter updates – ‘just in case’. Just in case a customer has sent you a query. Just in case a new customer places an order. Just in case, just in case, just in case.

Will you ever be able to ‘switch off’ from your business?

You need to start setting some boundaries and reclaiming your life back.

I don’t mean becoming inflexible, and I don’t mean lowering the standard of service you give. I simply mean putting in some gentle guidelines so that you get back your life, and start to recreate the energy and buzz you had for business before it took over.

Here’s 4 tips to get you started:

1. Define your working hours

Which days do you work (ideally)? When do you want to start and finish work? How many weeks do you want to take off this year?

I don’t mean set these in stone. I know that as a Solopreneur, there will be times when you need to work extra hours, and days even, to pull off that big project or win that new client. But you need to have an idea of what and when you want to work to keep you focused on hitting that most of the time.

If you know you need to work evenings sometimes, then maybe try and limit this to twice a week. If you know you have customer queries to respond to over the weekend, put in set times to deal with these, rather than responding to each one as they happen.

2. Define your working space

Define an area that is for work and stick to this. If you know you’re going to be working in an evening, go to your work space rather than trying to work in the lounge and end up trying to have a conversation with your half when you’re not really paying attention to them.

They’d much rather have your full attention on certain nights rather than a bit of it most evenings!

Make sure the rest of your family know and respect your work space too. (Or put a lock on the door!)

3. Set expectations about what you will do

Keep this focused on the positive and what you will do, rather than what you won’t do. When you’re communicating to your customers always set some clear expectations about what happens next and what to do if they have a query.

Thinks of this as customer reassurance – i.e. reassuring your customers about what to expect next.

It doesn’t need to be cold and factual –  it should be warm and friendly. For example – ‘have a question for me? – email me at xxxx’ You can choose to set an expectation about time to respond or not.  Think of your customers and what they think is reasonable. If you’re not sure, ask them.

4. Take regular breaks

Find that you get your best ideas when you’re away from your business? Yep – you need to keep your energy levels topped up to be productive and creative in your business.

Take regular breaks during the day.

Take regular breaks from technology.

Make time to do something completely different to your business. Join a class. Take up a new sport. Learn a new language.

Trust me – you will get more achieved in your business by taking these breaks.

I’d love to hear from you what you are going to do to set some boundaries around your business – leave me a comment to let me know.

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Alison Bradford

Alison Bradford is a business coach who works with smart, ambitious business owners to get clarity about how they can grow their business and increase profit. Sign up here to learn 6 easy ways you can boost profit in your business today.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachel Till January 31, 2013 at 11:19 pm

Great blog Alison, as always. Very timely for me as well – just what I need to stay focused on the old life/work balance! 🙂

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Alison Bradford February 2, 2013 at 11:29 am

Glad you enjoyed it Rachel. We all need a little reminder now and then, don’t we? 😉

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