As women own and operate more business, there is growing interest in how women entrepreneurs can maintain a successful work-life balance. After all, just because a woman starts a company, that doesn’t mean that all of the emotional labor she contributes to her friends, family, and society at large is no longer her responsibility. Many women, therefore, struggle to make ends meet energy-wise, even if they are financially successful.
These five tricks will help any woman entrepreneur find success while also keeping her well-being intact.
1. Let Go Of Perfection
While many people struggle with the need to be perfect, women are both more likely to struggle with the need to be perfect, and more likely to be held accountable for perceived imperfections. Especially when women start their own businesses and are the final decision maker for all facets of their business, the need to get everything just right can be harmful to motivation, morale, and personal enjoyment of the benefits of entrepreneurship.
To counteract this, women need to spend some time learning how to let go of their need to be perfect. Author Sarah Hagi once wrote asking for the confidence of a “mediocre white man,” and while the comment itself might be somewhat on the nose, women may want to consider: would their male colleagues be stressed about the imperfection they see? Will implementing the change she’s contemplating make a significant difference to the customer experience or the company bottom line?
Letting go of the need to be perfect will make a big difference in a woman’s ability to enjoy her work, her life, and the time in-between.
2. Leave Work On Time
All entrepreneurs can benefit from leaving work on time. There are personal benefits, such as being more disciplined with your time management, pushing yourself to prioritize what work must get done and what is just eating your time, and using your outside interests to diversify your company perspective. Companies also get significant cultural benefits when executives leave work on time, however. This encourages employees to make the same behavioral choices, and creates happier, more productive employees.
In the first years of a startup, it may be impossible to get all of the work done within the 9-5 business day, but all entrepreneurs should be actively looking for opportunities to outsource, delegate, and offload the work for which they are not temperamentally or time-wise suited.
3. Leave Work When You Leave Work
When all decisions ultimately cross your desk, it is that much harder to put down your phone and leave work at work. Many executives struggle to stop checking their email, the company’s social media platforms, or the office work, when they’re supposed to be at home or out with friends. Yet cultural changes in Europe are showing that companies are more successful when employees and executives create sane barriers between the work day and the rest of the day.
Even if you are the only person working at your company, you should create a strategy to make sure you get enough rest at the end of the day. Perhaps you glance at emails, but only respond in office unless there is a (clearly defined) emergency situation. Perhaps social media is entirely off limits during nonwork hours. You need to make the right choice for you and your company, but make sure you make a choice.
4. Make Time For Self-Care
Women often struggle with the entire concept of self-care. This is especially true for new mothers; it’s difficult to take time for yourself when there is a tiny person who is often very dependent on you for their needs. Yet executives who aren’t able to take care of themselves often find that their businesses burn out as well.
Self-care can look like many different things. A nice meal out with a spouse once a week. Drinks after work with friends. An exercise class. A hike in the wilderness without cell phone service. Time spent indoors with a good book and a hot beverage. Whatever self-care looks like for you, making sure it happens is crucial to maintaining a personal equilibrium.
5. Start Small
There’s a reason so many people make the same New Year’s Resolution, year after year: they don’t succeed on the first try. We often jump in to things too fast, and struggle to change too many things about our lives all at once. When we’re talking about maintaining family and business health, letting these things fall apart can be particularly problematic.
So the solution is to start small. Don’t try to change your entire routine all at once. Identify one problem and consider what to do to move forward. Once you’ve got your time management, your email prioritization, or your self-care, for example, locked in, move on to the next problem you need to address. By moving slowly, you’ll be more likely to stay the course over time.