What Is Work-Life Balance?

Definition & Examples of Work-Life Balance

Man working while holding baby
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Work-life balance is the idea that a fulfilling life outside of work helps improve work performance while reducing stress. The time a person spends working should be balanced by time spent with friends and family, keeping fit, traveling, and doing other fulfilling hobbies.

Here's how the work-life balance works, and why small business owners need to care about it.

What Is Work-Life Balance?

Work-life balance simply means striking a healthy balance between your working life and your personal life. Work-life balance isn't necessarily defined as an even split between the hours you spend at work and the hours you spend on hobbies. The balance is more nuanced than that, and it also varies among different people.

Instead, you might think of work-life balance as a balance between achievement and enjoyment. The perfect work-life balance would mean never sacrificing one for the other. It involves continually push your achievements in a professional sense while also finding new and fulfilling ways to enjoy your time off.

How Does Work-Life Balance Work?

At its core, the work-life balance concept exists solely to bring attention to the fact that being a workaholic is detrimental to a person's physical and mental well-being. Socializing, physical activity, and hobbies all contribute to being healthier and happier.

Not everyone's job involves intense physical labor in a depressing environment, but work-life balance isn't just important for those with difficult jobs. Everyone is at risk of letting work take up an unhealthy portion of their life. For those who already enjoy their jobs, awareness of work-life balance can help ensure that they continue to enjoy their jobs, reduce stress, and prevent burnout.

Poor work-life balance can have serious effects on your mental health. However, work-life issues are common, and mental health experts are well-prepared to help you through any particularly rough patches. Don't hesitate to seek professional help if you feel you could benefit from a better work-life balance.

Work-Life Balance for Small Business Owners

While running your own small business brings a lot of positive aspects to your workday, business owners are often particularly prone to spending too much time on the work side of the work-life teeter-totter. Owners can be so focused on their business, they may not even notice how it's interfering with their family relationships and personal life.

You need to guard against this by making sure that you are giving your family and friends the time and attention they need. You also need to do some self-assessment and ensure you're spending enough time on self-care. Many people find that making an effort to incorporate some time management strategies into their personal lives makes a considerable improvement in their work-life balance.

As an employer, you also need to be aware of the work-life balance issues of your employees. Support their efforts to reach a comfortable work-life balance in their own lives.

Delegating and Outsourcing to Free up Time

Many small business owners have a great deal of difficulty delegating tasks to employees, particularly when they have started their businesses from scratch. Fearing a loss of control is common, as is an effort to cut any costs possible.

If you can hire an employee, sit down and make a list of minor tasks that you can delegate. You could also consider hiring a contractor. Examples of tasks to delegate include:

  • Bookkeeping
  • Business website design/maintenance
  • Social media presence
  • Public relations and other promotional efforts
  • Customer support
  • Data entry/filing
  • Deliveries/pickups
  • Invoicing
  • Purchasing office equipment and supplies
  • Technical support
  • Paying bills
  • Making bank deposits
  • Booking flights, hotels, and planning other travel expenses
  • Office cleaning

Your business isn't the only place where you can delegate tasks. The same applies to your home environment. If you're short on free time and you don't enjoy doing chores around the house, many of them could be outsourced. If you have children, you could even set up an allowance system that teaches them the value of money while helping you around the house. Example of household tasks that can be outsourced include:

  • Yardwork
  • Washing windows
  • Cleaning gutters
  • Housecleaning
  • Laundry
  • Grocery shopping
  • Painting and other renovation projects

Key Takeaways

  • Work-life balance is a concept that emphasizes the benefits of balancing your time and energy between work and free time.
  • There isn't a perfect balance that applies to everyone—people's ideal work-life balance is an extremely personal preference.
  • If you're struggling with work-life balance, consider delegating and hiring new employees. If the situation doesn't get better, seek help from a mental health professional.