Is Your Work-Life Balance Causing You Stress? Here’s How To Fix It!
We all know that work-life balance is important, but what does that really mean? We’ve all been there… you work from home and the kids are off school, so your attention is divided. Or, you’re working long hours that eat into your personal time. Maybe you are under financial pressure and feel you have no choice but to prioritise work over family time. When you are spinning many plates, it brings many feelings, including guilt, worry and stress!
What if we thought about it in a different way? Life is messy, unpredictable and full of surprises, so forget trying to achieve a perfect balance. You will never get there!
Instead, think about work-life integration. Work-life integration means being able to bring your work and personal life together seamlessly. It means making choices that make sense for you, your family and your job. It’s not about balancing things out, it’s about integrating everything as best you can to suit your lifestyle and make life that little bit easier. Here are my top tips for achieving work-life integration:
1. Take regular breaks and get outside every day
If you’re working from home, or even if you’re not, it’s so important to take regular breaks throughout the day and make sure you get outside, even if it’s just for a short walk around the block. Getting some fresh air helps clear your mind and makes you feel more refreshed when you return to your desk. It also means that you can get some exercise in whilst fitting it into your day without having to make time for a separate workout later on. Win win!
2. Set your own hours and stick to them!
If possible, set your own hours and try to stick to them. For example, if you start work at 9am, then aim to finish at 5pm (or whatever time suits you). This means you have some time in the evenings with your family or doing something fun. This might not always be possible but it’s worth aiming for.
3. Set boundaries
Having clear boundaries for yourself is essential to your well-being, and the structure helps you stay focused and organised. One quick change you can make is to not take work calls or check emails outside of work hours. It can be difficult to switch off from work when you’re always connected, so setting boundaries will help you integrate work and life in a healthy way.
4. Make time for the things that matter to you
You can’t have a healthy work-life integration if you’re constantly putting your job before everything else. Make sure you take time for the things that are important to you, whether that’s your family, your friends, your hobbies, or just some time for yourself.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
If you’re struggling to find balance in your life, don’t be afraid to ask for help from a friend, family member, or professional. Sometimes we need a little bit of help to get back on track. Accept that you’re only human, and that you can’t do everything all of the time.
As an OBM and VA, I can help you take back control of your time and find a better way to integrate work and life. Outsourcing some of your work can help you handle the mundane tasks that eat up your time, help you stay organised and on track, and give you more time for the things you love.
The modern way of working means that the lines between work and personal time are increasingly blurred. With the help of a VA, you can get more of your personal time back and create a work-life routine that helps you thrive. If you are ready to make some changes, feel free to schedule a call!
An online business manager (OBM) is there to provide support to people who need expert skills to help run their business. Unlike a virtual assistant, an OBM has a leadership and managerial role to fulfil, such as handling teams and complex projects. They also have freedom to make decisions that impact the business. A good OBM will use their skills to increase revenue and profits, drive growth, as well as taking some of the weight off the business owner. So, let’s take a closer look at some of the tasks an OBM might do:
An OBM leads projects and uses their initiative to ensure goals are met within planned timelines. After discussing priorities and outcomes with a business owner, an OBM develops strategies, plans and processes for their team to follow to achieve those desired goals. In this role, an OBM will be liaising with their team as well as outside sources such as contractors, organisations, and individuals that are involved in the project.
Organising a successful team includes hiring, firing and working with people to get the best from them. An OBM needs to have excellent communication skills, not just to be able to tell team members what to do, but also to listen and have empathy with them. This allows an OBM to solve team problems quickly and fairly. The success of a project relies upon a cohesive team that works well together and, when team members feel valued, they do a good job.
This is an example of a business area that can be delegated to an OBM to run. An OBM may coordinate the activities of copywriters, social media managers, and SEO experts. They are also able to study the measurable data, such as website analytics and social engagement, in order to see what works well and how to improve. Not all clients will require every aspect of an OBM’s skill set, but being able to hand over a whole operation such as marketing allows business owners to use their time on other things.
Being tech savvy and experienced in a number of processes means that an OBM is in the best position to suggest helpful changes that make operations run more smoothly. This could include improving bottlenecks, automating processes and devising and implementing new strategies and workflow systems that get things done more efficiently.
Actively seeks new opportunities for the business
An OBM can take a proactive approach in driving the overall success of a business by finding new opportunities. This could be new ways to generate revenue, expanding customer reach, improving brand image and engaging with potential clients or customers. This might also include networking to identify new partnership options and other opportunities that could be of benefit.
Hiring an OBM
For business owners, hiring an OBM can be the step that takes their business to the next level. It allows you to free up time if you are feeling overwhelmed with tasks, to explore new ventures, or perhaps you need a fresh set of eyes to help your business grow more quickly. Whatever the reason, an OBM is an asset that many business owners can’t do without!
One of the joys about being an OBM is that every client is different. That means no two OBM roles are the same. It keeps things fresh, interesting and with a large scope to grow and develop professionally.
As an OBM, I really enjoy getting to know business owners, helping to solve their problems and improve the way their businesses run. If you would like to have a chat about whether an OBM is right for you, or about what you could delegate, please get in touch!
Managing time effectively is about more than upping your productivity. It helps you think creatively, enjoy your work, and get a work/life balance that benefits you and your business. Time management is key to feeling good about what you do, but to do that, you need systems. Here are some examples of systems that can help you organise your time so that you become more organised and efficient.
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of time management systems, it’s a good idea to think about who you are. Your personality plays a key role in how you tackle tasks, your style of operating, and how you interact with others. When coming up with systems to help you manage time, something that works with your personality is going to be better than something that doesn’t fit well.
Tried and Tested Time Management Systems
This is a great idea for all those procrastinators out there (you know who you are!). The Pomodoro Technique is where you use a timer set for a specific amount of time. During that time you commit to working on a task without distractions. When the timer stops, you stop. Traditionally the timer is set for 25 minutes, followed by a short break, but you can set it higher or lower to suit your individual preference.
What is good about this is that you can fool your brain into working on those less appealing tasks. After all, we can all stand 15 minutes of concentrated effort, even if we don’t feel like it. But, what happens during that time is that we often find our flow. It becomes easier to finish the task. And if you don’t, then at least you have made progress, which is better than still being stuck procrastinating! All you need for this is a timer and willingness to commit.
Forget to-do lists, time blocking is a far more effective method of organising your time and tasks. Time blocking gives you a visual representation of how your day, week or month is planned out. There are apps out there you can use, good old Google Calendar or even a spreadsheet works as a daily planner.
Using colours for time blocks helps you differentiate between activities. For example, you could use different colours for different clients, or one colour for admin type tasks and another for scheduled meetings. You don’t have to stop with work either, you could schedule time blocks to include time spent with family, exercise and relaxation.
Time blocking helps you get a balance between work and life, because you can see exactly where your time is being spent. If your planner shows too much of one colour, then maybe it’s time to delegate or make some changes.
The 1-3-5 System
Rather than a traditional to-do list (that often simply makes us feel overwhelmed), the 1-3-5 system is where you write down a series of tasks you want to complete that day.
- 1 high priority task/ large task
- 3 medium tasks
- 5 small tasks
This makes your priorities easier to manage, and helps you to make progress without feeling overwhelmed. It is amazing what you can achieve, and how much better your time is spent when you have a system, as you stop wasting energy trying to do it all at once.
Most of us will be familiar with time tracking apps. Many entrepreneurs and freelancers use them to track billable hours. But, it is also very useful as a tool to show you what you spend most time doing. Time tracking apps that I use are Rescue Time, and Timing App. These can be set to run in the background so you can review how you spend your time when it suits you.
Having this insight means you can devise a new schedule where you spend appropriate amounts of time on tasks, and organise your time more effectively. It helps you to see where to streamline your processes, such as through using automation. Or what tasks you could outsource to a VA or OBM.
My Business Task Audit is another way to gain that insight into time spent on tasks. Its free, and could give you that organisational push you need to take control of your time, rather than it controlling you.
When we have poor time management, we have more stress and are less productive. Having some simple systems in place can transform how you work, increase your energy levels and make you feel more positive. It is amazing how a simple shift in how we spend our time can transform how effective we are at work, as well as how we feel.
If you are looking for some help in developing systems and processes that can make more of your time, feel free to get in touch!
In your business, have you ever stopped to really consider how many tasks you do on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis? It may surprise you. It’s no wonder that so many of us feel overwhelmed at times. What if there was a way to cut down on tasks, without compromising on the quality and quantity of your output? Well, there is! It’s called the art of delegation!
What can I delegate?
Delegating is where you offload some of your tasks to others, freeing up your valuable time. When you are busy with the day-to-day operations, it can be hard to know exactly what can be delegated and to whom. First, you need a breakdown of all the jobs you do within your business, and that’s where the Business Task Audit can help. It helps you identify everything that you do, so you can get a clear idea of what can be outsourced to someone else.
Benefits of delegation
The most obvious benefit of delegating tasks is that it helps you to manage your time. This enables you to improve your focus on other jobs, or creative thinking, strategizing, or even just have some time to yourself!
If you are not ready to hire someone, or outsource tasks, you can make use of automation tools to help you work smarter. Rather than delegate to a person, hand over your email marketing, social media, call scheduling and more to software and apps instead!
Better time management has the added effect of making you more productive and drives forward the growth of your business. So, delegate those time-consuming tasks!
Should I outsource to a VA or an OBM?
A VA (virtual assistant) can be a fantastic asset to your business. They are usually well-versed in many of those repetitive admin tasks, understand how to use lots of different software and business tools, and can help take some of those everyday jobs off your list.
But, what if you want to outsource more complex projects? That is where an OBM (online business manager) can help. An OBM can handle entire projects, use their analytical skills to improve workflows, and can assist you in strategic planning for the growth of your business. They can look closely at your business systems and create alternative ways of working that are more effective. An OBM has those higher-level management skills. They get to know your business and bring fresh ideas that could help take it to the next level. Read more about the differences between a VA and OBM.
Take the leap!
So often as business owners, we feel as if we must be in control of all aspects of our business. This means that we under-delegate, or think that in order for things to be done right, we must do it ourselves. After all, it would take time and effort to train someone new. Or, perhaps it is a fear of failure that makes it so hard to let go of our ways of doing things.
It is important to remember that delegation will benefit your business. When you are juggling too many tasks, YOU are the one who is more likely to make mistakes. Whether you hire an OBM, a VA, or pass some extra tasks on to your existing team members, delegation will help your business run smoothly and lower your stress levels!
If you’re ready to take charge of overwhelm and make better use of your time, begin by downloading my Business Task Audit. It’s a simple process, and a valuable experience. When you see how much time you could save and how much more you could achieve by delegating, you’ll be excited to start!
Sometimes the words ‘Virtual Assistant’ (VA) and ‘Online Business Manager’ (OBM) are used interchangeably. While both are support roles for a business, there are some key differences between the two. If you’ve been considering hiring a VA or OBM, knowing the difference will help you decide what level of service you need for your business.
What is the role of a VA?
When your business grows and tasks become too much to handle with the capacity and resources you have, outsourcing to a VA is a great option. Whether it is help with general admin, or specialist tasks such as social media management, a VA has the expertise to take on many common business processes on your behalf. A VA takes direction from you, so when you want help, you send your VA tasks for completion.
A VA often works for a number of clients, each for an agreed amount of hours per week.
What does an OBM do?
An online business manager is less task oriented than a VA, rather they focus their expertise on helping you manage your business to drive growth and increase revenue. Partnering with an OBM means you allow them to understand your business inside out, and use their knowledge to work independently and manage things as they see fit. The advantage with this is that you do not have to micro-manage, an OBM can solve problems and keep your business running smoothly without your input.
Another advantage of working with an OBM is that you can take time off work or put your effort into new projects without worrying about the details of your existing business. Your OBM handles it all!
Adding to the confusion between the two roles, there may be some VA’s that also offer OBM services, but an OBM typically dedicates more time to their clients and has a deeper level of business management knowledge. An OBM tends to have fewer clients, and charges a higher rate due to their higher level of business acumen and expertise.
Do you need an OBM or a VA?
The level of help you need, how much control you are willing to hand over, as well as your budget, will be factors in deciding whether to hire a VA or an OBM for your business.
If you are looking for someone to oversee the complete management of a project, want to hand over the running of some parts of your business, or need help with planning and strategy to take your business forward, an OBM is the right choice for you.
If you need more staffing power to speed up day to day tasks, you like to keep a close eye on your operations, or would prefer to hand over the less exciting jobs to free up your time, a VA is there to help.
It is easy to see why the two roles are often confused with one another, as there is some overlap with the types of activities that a VA does, and an OBM will oversee. But when you really understand the difference, the two roles are distinct.
There are many great reasons to hire an OBM, especially for small business owners and entrepreneurs who typically lack a balance in their professional and personal life. There may also be a point where you feel as if you are spending too much time managing your business, and not doing the creative thinking that made you start your business in the first place. Whatever the reason for hiring an OBM, it can make a huge difference to your time, stress levels and overall well-being, as well as enabling new business growth and direction.
If you are looking for an OBM to help take your business forward, feel free to get in touch.