By Lisa Tanner, freelance writer and contributor to this blog
Has your home business drained the joy out of your life? Do you feel like it consumes your every thought? When you work from home as your own boss, this is a common struggle.
The good news? You can push your business back with some boundaries and create better work/life balance. Here are five practical ways to make time for fun when you’re growing a home business.
- Create an Essentials List
- Cut Non-Essential Tasks
- Look for Efficiencies
- Develop a Morning Routine
- Put Fun on the Calendar
Making time for fun has definite benefits. These enjoyable breaks in your life allow you to:
- Clear your head and let go of stressors
- Build memories with your family
- Boost your creativity (especially if you’re unplugged during the fun)
Fun can be rejuvenating for your mind and spirit. Are you ready to make time for fun?
Let’s get started!
1. Create an Essentials List
What must you accomplish each day? What are the business tasks that are non-negotiable for you?
Do you have a daily writing habit?
Or client work that you tackle?
Do you always keep your email inbox nearly empty?
Your essentials are going to be different from mine. That’s because we both have different businesses. And commitments. Our dreams and plans are different.
And that’s okay. It’s how it should be.
Unfortunately, it does mean I can’t give you an essentials list. You must create your own.
What I can do though, is encourage you to spend time reflecting. Think about the business tasks that you are doing each day.
Now ask yourself which ones need to stay in a high-priority spot and which ones can get pushed down past fun on your to-do list.
You can also create an essentials list for your personal life. This list can include basics like making meals, doing dishes, and family play time. Again, your list should reflect the tasks you have decided are must-dos in your life.
Action Step: Create your own personal must-do list for your business and personal life.
This post walks you through the process in a little more detail:
2. Cut Non-Essential Tasks
Now that you have a better sense of the things you must get done every day, it’s time to start cutting some non-essentials. After all, if you don’t have time for fun in your life, it’s a good indication that you are doing too much. So, you will need to cut some tasks (or cut back on them.)
The secret is in knowing what to cut. You must proactively decide what you can no longer do. And, only you can decide what those tasks are.
Is cutting back on social media right for this season of life?
Do you pour too much time into a task that’s not moving the needle on your business?
Are there any household tasks (cooking or cleaning) that you could delegate to others or do less frequently?
Many people hesitate to cut something. So, here are some words of truth:
Deciding not to focus on something does not make you a failure. Instead, it is a way to help you win at the things that are most important. Cutting back also helps to ensure you don’t burn yourself out in the process of growing your business.
Also, remember that deciding not to do something now doesn’t mean it’s forever. You are free to add these tasks back into your life whenever you’d like.
Action Step: Decide on at least two non-essentials to cut from your life.
3. Look for Efficiencies
Once you have a better idea of what you are going to do (and not do), it’s time to streamline your tasks. This will help free up time for fun and help clear some mental clutter.
Streamlining is the process of creating systems and procedures around common tasks, to ensure you aren’t wasting energy in completing them. They help you stretch your time and become more efficient.
Here are some sample tasks you can streamline:
- Your meals (make a meal plan)
- The cleaning (make a chore chart and teach the kids new ways to help)
- Your social media (schedule in bulk with Tailwind, Buffer, or another scheduler)
- Marketing your news posts (use a plugin to automatically share it to your social platforms)
- Your blog post creation (make templates to help)
- Your email (schedule two times each day to deal with it and close out of it until then)
Again, you will have to decide what makes the most sense for your life. Look at your essentials list and the tasks you need to do. Now ask yourself, “How can I do this more efficiently?”
Now, it’s important to note that the act of streamlining takes time. You will have to learn new ways to do things. It will take extra effort to establish the procedures and make them habits.
But that effort will pay off. This is a long-term strategy, not necessarily a quick win.
Action Step: Pick one tasks to streamline first. Once you have found ways to make it more efficient, pick another one. Going slowly will help make lasting change.
4. Develop a Morning Routine
Mornings matter. Even if you aren’t a morning person.
No matter when you get up, what you do next can set the tone for your whole day. Make it a point to get up purposefully. That means decide on a time that works for you and your family and set an alarm.
Don’t keep hitting snooze and rolling over though. Get up with purpose and move into your morning routine.
Your morning routine doesn’t need to be Instagram worthy. It doesn’t need to be fancy. You don’t have to be alone when it happens.
What you do need is a plan.
How are you going to choose to spend your mornings? Are you going to use this time to take care of the essentials like getting dressed and making breakfast? Do you have early-rising kids who need some connection during this time? Are there some self-care tasks you can include in this time like a steaming cup of coffee and time with a book?
I used to try to make my morning routine match all the brilliant ones I saw online. I tried getting up earlier to have a morning time of quiet and reflection.
You know what happened?
A couple of my kids would wake up too and I’d be mad. I was mad that I didn’t have this time that all the experts said I needed to start the day off right.
I realized that I was trying to make my life match someone with different life circumstances. And that I was making myself miserable in the process.
So, I scratched that morning routine and started over. Now our mornings are a bit slower. They involve snuggling on the coach with hot cocoa.
There are picture books instead of personal development ones.
And I’m so much less stressed! My days are more productive because I’m not waking up and immediately feeling like a failure when the baby’s crying and the toddler’s ready to eat.
When your mornings are less stressful, you will have more opportunities to build fun into your day. And be more open to doing the fun things instead of constantly trying to make up for the time you lost.
Action Step: Decide what you want your mornings to look like. Be realistic and minimize expectations that cause you stress. Write down some ideas for a morning routine that works for you and your family.
5. Put Fun on the Calendar
You can streamline, cut, and start your mornings off right. But, if you don’t start being intentional about having fun, other tasks will creep in and take over that time you just made.
Don’t let that happen.
Talk about your goals as a family. Decide what fun things you are going to do.
And then put them on the calendar. Make an appointment with fun and keep it.
Telling your kids about it helps. That way they’re excited and can help keep you accountable.
And remember, fun doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate. It does need to be something you enjoy. This could include:
- A daily family play time where you rotate who selects the activity
- A regularly scheduled family game night or trip to the movies
- Trips to the park, museum, lake, or mall
- A larger vacation or weekend away
- Board games with breakfast
Whatever it is, do it. And, put your phone away while you do it. No fair letting work encroach on your time of fun.
Action Step: Think of something fun you want to do. Then put it on your calendar. Tell the family about it so they can help you stay accountable.
Make Time for Fun
Your business shouldn’t take all your time. If it’s been ages since you took time to do something you enjoy, it’s definitely time. If you work through the action steps in this post, you should free up some time to make time for fun.