This blog post is particularly geared towards women, but I know that there are some men out there who may also feel the same about the suggestions below – do let me know your opinion! Are women more affected and concerned with having a healthy work/life balance? Or are men as equally affected? Throughout our lives we are constantly trying to juggle everything in the air, desperately trying not to let anyone down. This is a huge task and something that all female business owners strive to achieve. It is possible to have a healthy balance but it takes time and dedication to master. We need to remember: we cannot be everything to everyone all the time – it’s impossible. This is why we need to learn to prioritise and especially learn how to say “NO!”. We are our worst critic – constantly reminding ourselves of what we lack and what we haven’t achieved. This frame of mind needs to stop! Develop a more positive state of mind, practise a few practical tips and you’ll find that anything is possible and those around us will feel valued too! Below are my top 7 tips to developing and maintaining a healthy work/life balance. Tip One – Plan & Organise The key to keeping everything going at once is to be organised and plan, plan, plan. If you are a home-keeper as well as business owner, you are expected to know everything going on at any one time and if this is written down in a diary or on a calendar it will free up valuable brain-space! Colour-code a diary so you know what is required and when and what action you need to take – this can prevent last-minute panics. There is no point in planning, unless you take appropriate action at the appropriate time. Allocate an hour each evening to work out what is required the next day. You will know who needs what from your Planning Diary. Prepare a meal plan for the week – bearing in mind what time you will be home – and make meals which complement each other from day-to-day. Tip Two– Prioritise In times of stress, you need to focus on the important things in your life – and if work and home life are the priorities, everything else must take a back seat. It is only temporary. Learn how to say No and not feel guilty about it. It is vital that you spend your time wisely and you don’t suffer from burn out. The little time you do have available needs to be spent on achieving your goals and supporting those close to you. Tip Three – Communicate With all your time taken up with juggling the work and home-life, other areas of your life may have to temporarily go on hold. Be sure to take time to explain your situation to your family and friends – nothing is worse than not knowing why a friend fails to call for a chat or pop-in for coffee. Try and make time when you can, but make sure to explain your situation, they may even be able to offer their help. Tip Four – Separate work from home life Easier said than done – but it is crucial that these two aspects of your life work do not mix. Trying to be a parent and working on a spreadsheet for work or taking an important phone call during bath time is not going to help anyone – least of all you. Quality time with your children and partner is more important than quantity. Be sure to make them your priority at some point in your day – they will feel special when you dedicate time just to them. Tip Five – Be Practical Use your time wisely. Work out with household jobs take the most time and find ways to save time. Plan your meals a week ahead. Keep a list of about 20 meals which you can refer to – again why try and re-invent the wheel? Use the internet for food shopping – they deliver in the evenings and you will save money too – and saving time goes without saying! Fold clothes as soon as they are dry – it saves on ironing. Tip Six – Positive Thoughts Don’t beat yourself up at the end of each day by dwelling on what you haven’t achieved – actually take time out to congratulate yourself on what you have achieved….. No one else will! Yes, be aware of what else needs to be done – but by planning ahead, you really shouldn’t miss much. Believe in yourself and however demanding everything is at the moment, it will improve. Tip Seven – Get a good night’s sleep If you don’t take time to wind-down before bedtime, you will fail to sleep properly. It is essential that in the hour before you go to sleep you actually put yourself first. This time could be spent having a cup of tea, taking a relaxing bath, reading a book or magazine or simply watching some television or a combination of them all. Relaxation time is essential for your own personal well-being – and for your family. Use these tips to pace yourself and create a healthy work/life balance. Be clear where you are willing to compromise and where you are not, and try and communicate this to the relevant people that it will affect. Maintaining this balance will create a healthy and happy business, as well as that all important home-life!