More than half of small business owners in the US are over 50. Running a company of any size can be difficult, and if you’re used to working long hours, finding a healthy work-life balance can be challenging. For many entrepreneurs, work commitments overshadow other aspects of life. If you’re looking to tip the scale, this guide contains helpful advice.

Make use of technology

Technology plays an increasingly influential role in the way we live and work. If you set up a business 30, 20 or even 10 years ago, you’ve probably noticed major changes, many of which are linked to advances in technology. Modern tech offers an array of advantages for business owners. Companies can gain a competitive advantage by investing in cutting-edge technology, and it can also supercharge operational efficiency. 

 

 mature couple dining

Another important benefit of keeping up to date with technology is saving time and effort. As a business owner, it’s essential to recognize the importance of streamlining systems and using tech to eliminate time-consuming processes, improve accuracy and make life easier for you and your team. You can use machinery, software, tools, equipment and advanced computer systems and programs to change the way you work for the better. Take advantage of software programs and online tools to free up time. Examples range from embracing time tracking best practices to calculate wages and monitor employee hours and automating social media posts to using tools to invoice customers or track marketing metrics. Investigate and explore technologies that are relevant to your business and look for solutions for common pain points. Communicate openly with your employees and use customer feedback to identify areas for improvement.

 

If you’re not familiar with new developments and innovative technology, it’s wise to consider hiring a consultant or working with an IT or sales agency. Take inspiration from other companies. See how businesses within your industry are utilizing tech and tailor your strategy to increase your chances of achieving key objectives.  

 

Delegate

Many entrepreneurs find it difficult to delegate, especially if they are used to mucking in and they take an active role in the day-to-day running of the business. Running a company can be time-consuming, and often, it means that there is a lack of work-life balance. Delegating can help you to free up more time in your schedule. There are also benefits for employees. If you delegate, this shows that you trust your team and that you’re willing to give them opportunities to take on more responsibility or develop their roles.

 

To make delegating work for you, you have to have confidence in your employees. It’s also hugely beneficial to recognize your own shortcomings. No business owner is a maestro in every element of running the organization. Often, it’s best to let others take on jobs that don’t match or complement your skill set or knowledge base. Build a strong team around you. When you hire new employees, think about what matters most to you. Professional experience is beneficial, but it can also be critical to look for candidates who have the right character traits and personalities to fit in with the team. Assess values and get to know individuals before you decide who to hire. If you trust your employees and you know that they are capable and dedicated, you should find it easier to delegate. 

 

Outsource

Outsourcing offers an alternative to recruiting employees. It can help business owners to fill gaps in the workforce and access skills and services they don’t currently have in-house. One of the most significant advantages of outsourcing is being able to free up time for the core team. If you have employees that are trying to spin several plates at once, outsourcing is a means of reducing the burden. If you outsource, your employees will have more time to focus on fundamental and priority tasks. You can also optimize performance and efficiency and make improvements by working with agencies or individuals who have expertise in different fields. Consider the impact of hiring a digital marketing agency for a clothing brand, a restaurant chain or a law firm, or working with a managed IT service provider for a medical practice or a real estate business, for example. 

 

Schedule time out

Most of us are very good at taking control of our schedules when it comes to filling in diaries or updating spreadsheets or apps with work commitments and meetings. Unfortunately, we don’t often pay the same level of attention to scheduling breaks and time out. Do you work late every day? Do you tend to fill evenings and weekends with meetings or business events? If so, try to be proactive in blocking out times to socialize, enjoy hobbies, spend quality time with your family or even take a vacation. Everybody needs time out to decompress and recharge their batteries. Working longer hours doesn’t always mean accomplishing more. Studies show that working a four-day week can increase productivity, for example. Aim to work smarter to give yourself more time to unwind or indulge interests and hobbies. 

 

Learn to say no

Saying no often goes against our instincts. If you are a people-pleaser or you hate to feel like you’re letting others down, you may find yourself saying yes to every invitation or offer. There’s nothing wrong with having a busy schedule, but it’s crucial to understand the importance of a healthy balance. If you are already struggling to manage your time, or you’ve got a lot on at work, don’t feel that you have to attend every event you’re invited to. If you’re busy outside of work, speak to your partner or your team about sharing the load. Once you get comfortable with saying no, it becomes easier and it can be refreshing. There’s no harm in having an evening off or finishing early from time to time if you need a break or you feel like you’ve been swimming against the tide. 

 

Draw clear boundaries

For some people, running a business is a 24-hour job. If you check emails when you get into bed or you make calls on the weekends, draw clear boundaries. Establish a routine and make sure you have time to devote to other aspects of your life. When you log off or leave the office, don’t bring work home with you. Set limits. If you work around the clock, you may be putting your health at risk and you may find that your relationships suffer. Commit to work-free hours in your diary and try to draw lines between your professional and personal lives. If you book a vacation, take the time to discover new places, relax, try new activities, go on excursions and immerse yourself in a different culture. If you don’t have boundaries, there’s a risk of burnout and you could lose people close to you. Having a daily routine can help you to work efficiently and boost productivity while also ensuring you balance other commitments.

over 50 business owner

It can be difficult to find a healthy work-life balance when you own a business. Work can be consuming, and you may find that it takes over your schedule. If you’re struggling to strike the right balance, there are several ways to tip the scale. Take advantage of technology to save time and effort and make your business more efficient. Delegate and let your employees take on more responsibility and consider outsourcing to plug gaps. Schedule time out and make time for hobbies, socializing and being around family members and friends. Go on vacation and establish a routine with clear boundaries.

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