Categories
Work Environment

5 Work-Life Balance Strategies to Prevent Burnout

Work-life balance – is there such a thing? Though it’s hard to imagine with all the stress, it is possible and should take place in order to prevent burnout. 

There’s no easy way around it – stress is a major killer, and a seriously underappreciated factor in why more Americans are struggling with heart-related illnesses, strokes, and more. Rather than simply attribute the recent rise in burnouts to a new generation unable or unwilling to work, it’s important to recognize that times have indeed gotten tougher.

 

      • Despite rising costs, wages are stagnant.
      • The job market is as competitive as ever, with more people turning towards second jobs and extra gigs to make a little more on the side.

 

Work-Life Balance Strategies to Work Towards

Churning out all you can, as often as you can, is not a sustainable plan. For many, the idea of maintaining a better work-life balance seemingly isn’t in the cards. But while some of the problems with work-related stress can be blamed on poor management or a tough economy, it’s important to recognize that, ultimately, the best way to work on preventing burnout is to take the matter into your own hands and examine how you spend your time.

 

Work-life strategies rely on training yourself to be more efficient with the hours you have and the work you’re given, while still making time for R&R and your own wellbeing. Below are five crucial strategies that can drastically improve your work-life balance, and even help you get more work done in a shorter period.

 

1. Prioritize Your Daily Tasks

One of the best ways to achieve healthier work-life balance strategies is being more efficient with your time. While it might sound like time management is a skill that largely focuses on productivity, there’s a direct carryover to having more time for yourself.

 

Part of the reason people struggle to manage their work-life balance effectively is because they do not have a concrete idea of where and how they’re spending their time. Ideally, we should strive to strike a balance between how much time we spend on personal activities, and how much time we spend on work-related tasks.

 

Whenever you’re about to set out for the day, keep in mind what you’ve got planned for the next 24 hours, and try to follow that plan. We can’t always dictate what direction life seems to take, so we have less capacity to plan for each and every day. Yet with a little time and effort, you can easily keep an overview of just how much time you’re spending on each of your daily tasks, and then you can determine what changes need to be made.

 

Consider what you should do less of and what you should do more of. Consider what changes you might make in order to better do the things you want to do. If you struggle to get a workout in, consider a different gym, or train somewhere much closer. Audit your time.

 

2. Set Regular Goals

Goals are critical for growth. When we stop having goals, we begin to stagnate, and that feeling becomes palpable very quickly. Not only does it feel bad to stagnate and feel like you aren’t going anywhere, but without a goal in mind, you will have a much harder time motivating yourself to get anything done.

 

Through simple, yet achievable and exciting goals, you can create a framework to help you get through all of your daily tasks with your goals in mind. Change the way you approach the day by framing it within the context of your current goal, whatever it may be.

 

 

3. Set Up and Use a Planner

You might already have a to-do list, and chances are that you’ve got a calendar with a few highlighted dates – but a planner is yet another step beyond both, providing you with the means to more accurately detail what you need to get done each and every day, and giving you a simple way to keep track of your tasks by itemizing and check listing them day after day.

 

Not only does this improve efficiency, but it’s crucial in your self-audit, especially if you want to identify where you could be improving on your work-life balance. It’s not as tedious as it sounds – a simple planner is quite easy to use, and it just takes a few minutes to sit down and consider what you’ll need to get done throughout the following next few days.

 

4. Create Strict Boundaries and Rules of Engagement

To create balance, there needs to be a significant difference between work and ‘life’. That means creating clear lines of separation between your work and the rest of your personal needs and assigning strict times when you are not to be contacted for anything work-related.

 

      • Consider taking a break from any work-related emails, posts, and notes throughout the weekend.
      • Make a rule of not being reachable past a certain hour mark in the day (unless it’s an emergency).

 

Set strict boundaries that allow you to rely on having a reliable downtime every day, and create moments throughout the day where you allow yourself to focus entirely on your needs without a care for what you’ve got going on at the office (be it through an hour of yoga, your daily cooking rituals, or anything else that you might use to go into yourself and take a little break away from the world).

 

5. Learn What It Means to Work Smarter

While this is arguably the most open-ended and vague tip, the gist of it is that when most of us go to work, we leave a lot of time on the table. Try to follow the Pareto principle, and figure out which fifth of your day contributes to the bulk of your work – then maximize what you’re doing in that 20%.

 

Focusing on what you’re doing to maximize your efficiency in the most efficient part of your day can help you translate that progress into other parts of your work. If you write for a living, you might notice that on certain days, it becomes easy to sit down and write a basic blog post of about 1,000 words in about half an hour, while at other times, it might take you upwards of four hours to write a post with the same quality. This isn’t the difference between an off-the-cuff blog post and a well-researched article, but two similar tasks performed with vastly different rates of efficiency.

 

      • Where’s the hang-up?
      • What did you do differently?
      • What stimulates you the most when you set up to work?

 

Learning to trim the fat and work smarter begins with analyzing yourself. Gather data on your own performance and try to observe what factors seem to influence you the most – then experiment. Do you do better work in bursts? Do you do better work during certain times of the day? If you drink coffee, how many minutes does it take for the effects of the caffeine to help you with your tasks?

 

 

Conclusion

It might take some time to realize the fruits of this last point, but it’s inarguably the most important. Learning to analyze your own behavior and improve how you work can not only be incredibly fulfilling, but it allows you to hone in on the moments when you feel the most anxious. It also helps you figure out what it is that keeps you from being your best self in those vital moments.

 

Finally, an extra tip: always seek help from others. Whether it’s your family, your friends, your coworkers, your employers, your partner, or your therapist, don’t rely entirely on yourself for solutions, and remember that you have others around you who can listen and help you with any problems you might have. Nurture those relationships and recognize when you truly need a hand.

 


Read More:

6 Tips for Balancing Work and Family at Home

Categories
Business Trends

The Ultimate Business Plan Checklist You’ll Need

Taking action with your ideas should be fun, not stressful. So to ensure you have everything you need, follow this ultimate business plan checklist.

 

With the onset of a new year, it’s time to reflect and strategize, taking into account the lessons of 2020, and how they shape your company’s or idea’s path forward. When taking stock of your business (or concept) and both it’s short- and long-term goals, the most important thing is to create a quantifiable and actionable plan.

 

Business plans are both the ideal way of quantifying an idea, as well as reflecting on past progress or failures and how they changed your company.

 

Why Bother with a Business Plan?

 

Business plans are usually thought of as the first step towards turning a spark into a business, but they’re also worth revisiting and revising, particularly after the challenges of last year.

 

As managers and entrepreneurs enter the new year, it’s important to take stock of a company’s strengths and weaknesses, take the opportunity to explore and study the competition, and consider how or where the company might be able to attract new clients, funding, or investments. A solid business plan acts as the distilled essence of what your business is, what it’s done, and where it might go.

 

But to create a solid business plan, you need a solid structure, and a foundation built on data and research.

 

Your Business Plan Checklist

 

Like any lengthy document, a business plan needs structure.

 

First, you should identify what audience you’re trying to target with your business plan – is it an internal document for management? Is it going to be primarily used to inform existing investors and secure new ones? Is it an elaborated mission statement to attract clients?

 

Then, you will need to address questions that your audience might have. These would be the individual sections the business plan will consist of each clearly answering a potential question with clear data. In general, a business plan checklist would look like this:

 

      • Describe Your Company and Industry

 

Depending on your audience, the first section of the plan will consist of an overview of the company’s purpose and its role in the current industry, as well as general information on the industry to help provide context for the company’s state and future.

 

      • What Are Your Prospects in the Current Market?

 

After going into detail on what the company does, it’s time to go into detail on the state of the market, and how your company is adapting to recent changes or aims to improve in light of sudden developments.

 

With the pandemic, countless industries have had to rapidly shift towards remote services, safe delivery mechanisms, rapid digitalization, and better software integration with mobile devices, among other concerns. How has your company adapted, and what are its prospects in the current market?

 

      • What is the Competition Up To?

 

No business plan is complete without an unbiased and objective view of the competition, particularly how it serves customers and clients in your area, and how you can further differentiate your business from other successful businesses around you.

 

      • How Are You Operating?

 

The next critical part of the business plan is a concise and comprehensive overview of its management and production, from how individual teams and departments are managed, how the organization itself is structured, how workplace policies such as remote work, coworking spaces, and work-from-anywhere policies have been implemented as a result of the pandemic, and how delivery mechanisms have been changed or implemented to ensure safety.

 

Another question is scaling – if your company is growing rapidly as a result of the shift towards digitalization, how are you planning to keep up with growing demand or a wider audience?

 

 

      • How Are You Marketing Your Products and Services?

 

The marketing portion of the business plan should report on the success of previous campaigns and tactics and plans in light of how the market has changed, and how demand is shifting.

 

Who are your customers, and what are they most likely to want? Can you identify what it is that they might want that they themselves aren’t aware of? And if yes, how can you leverage that to gain more sales?

 

      • How Healthy Are Your Finances?

 

How have your sales and revenue been holding up as a result of the pandemic, and what kind of growth are you projecting for the new quarter? A financial overview is often the most critical portion of a business plan for many investors who want to see raw numbers, and want to know how you’ve been holding up over the pandemic, and whether you have the potential to continue to grow your business.

 

      • Create Your Management Summary

 

The last thing you should work on should be the first thing in the plan – the executive or management summary, providing a concise overview of the contents of the document, the state of the business, and the purpose for this plan.

 

Essential Rules for a Well-Written Business Plan

 

It’s easy to go overboard with the jargon and flourish and turn your business plan into a wordy brochure. But shareholders and investors are people too, and their eyes glaze over just as easily as any other customer or client. You must keep your audience in mind when writing your business plan, and understand that there are a few key rules to follow:

 

1. Stay Concise

 

Avoid repeating yourself and avoid the use of industry jargon that might not make any sense to a general audience of investors and financiers. Save the flourish for your marketing campaigns, and focus on short, simple bullet-point answers for critical questions that you imagine the reader might ask.

 

Source your information heavily with references based on real market research, but don’t drown the reader in unnecessary data – keep it informative, and in the service of an actual point (such as explaining the potential demand for your niche or product based on market trends and surveys).

 

2. Focus on Your Differences

 

When describing your business and how it fits into the industry – especially when considering your competition and other similar companies – focus on what differentiates your company or idea from others and focus on the specific niche that you’ve carved out or plan to carve out for yourself.

 

In a world where modern technology gives us access to products and services from all over the globe, focusing on what sets you apart from the competition is more important than ever.

 

3. Provide Authoritative References

 

Regardless of whether your business plan is written to attract investment, reassure or maintain investors, or just to give you an updated overview of the company and its direction for the near future, it’s important to provide trusted references for the information you’re including in your plan.

 

We tend to try and focus on the positives when discussing an idea we’re fond of, or we tend to lean towards defending our practices and business, even when the writing is on the wall that a change of direction is long overdue. Reliable data is important to back up your belief in your business and provide readers with more than just a sense of your passion for the company.

 

Conclusion

 

The ultimate business plan serves as a referential document used to reflect on the company’s progress. In addition, to give a thorough insight on its unique purpose in your industry, as well as provide direction for the future.

 

Categories
Office Space

6 Benefits of Utilizing a Flexible Workspace This Year

Maybe you’ve heard how popular utilizing a flexible workspace is getting. That said, this could be a solution or an enhancement for your business this new year! Read below.

While the pandemic is entering its final stages, its impact is sure to be felt for years. This includes the changes it has forced in the workplace. More workers than ever are looking to continue working from home. But others would like to blend the benefits of remote work with the productive and social environments of the office.

 

Meanwhile, diversification and a growing commercial real estate market, as well as a looming recession, mean cheaper and more flexible office spaces. In addition, a generation of businesses that aren’t keen on long-term leases and crowded headquarters.

 

Regardless of whether you’re a freelancer, a solopreneur, or the team manager for a larger corporation, there are multiple reasons to invest in flexible workspaces this year and consider a coworking space over the more traditional satellite office or office space.

 

Let’s cover some of the more significant benefits of flexible workspaces this year.

 

1. More Availability and Diversity Than Ever

 

Despite a rough year for everyone involved, 2020 still provided plenty of opportunities for the flexible workspace, coworking, and commercial real estate market. Companies looked for ways to keep their remote employees in productive spaces without violating social distancing rules and putting their employees at risk.

 

For businesses employing multiple employees with a long commute, flexible workspaces provided a safe alternative to working from home.

 

Others opted to implement a “work from anywhere” strategy, either making flexible workspaces a key part of a larger hub-and-scope system or giving employees the freedom to choose where they wanted to work from whenever the main office had reached maximum allowed capacity.

 

When supply outstrips demand, prices drop. And with greater availability comes a more diversified selection of flexible workspaces. In addition, a lower share of workspaces owned by larger, more dominating companies (meaning greater competition).

 

These are all good things for companies looking for workspaces that provide greater benefits or cater more specifically to their needs, or individuals seeking a particular workspace to suit their preferences and help keep them productive in the new year.

 

2. A Premium on Niche and Flexible Usage

 

Flexible workspaces can cater to businesses looking for specific benefits, including industry-specific offerings (catering to law firms, or businesses in the healthcare branch, or cannabis startups, or new music producers, etc.) or location-specific benefits – such as access to a large outdoor space for thinking and collaborating in the fresh air.

 

By leaning heavily into niches this year, individual flexible workspaces can set themselves apart from one another. In turn, entrepreneurs and businesses won’t need to struggle to find a space that caters to them.

 

3. The Role of Flexible Workspaces for Remote Employees

 

Working from home isn’t a viable solution for everyone. Some employees struggle to concentrate on work due to at-home distractions, while others struggle with the isolation that comes from working alone at home.

 

Some report feeling distanced from the company culture, as a lot of the day-to-day between workers is lost in the transition towards a remote workstyle.

 

Then there are the other issues that come from working from home, from the potentially unreliable internet access to the lack of usable workspace, or the inevitable blending of family and work lives. This leading to an increased risk of burnout as the necessary separation between the private and the professional slowly ceases to exist.

 

Flexible workspaces offer an alternative for these workers to continue to be productive and work in an environment with others, without causing the main office to exceed its capacity. Especially if these shared, flexible workspaces are relatively close to home.

 

4. Flexible Workspaces Prioritize Safety and Hygiene

 

With the onset of the pandemic, businesses were urged to massively reduce customer-facing contact and maintain a safe distance between employee workstations, as well as employ more rigorous hygiene protocols to minimize the risk of transmitting the virus at work, from mask-wearing to roving cleaning crews and more.

 

Flexible workspaces can further serve as safe working environments by offering isolated spaces and private offices rather than an open floor plan, enabling remote collaboration within the office itself, while keeping individuals or small groups safe from one another.

 

5. Flexible Workspaces Facilitate Face-to-Face Onboarding

 

A sense of community is critical for recovery – whether for an individual, a company, or a country. While we can come together remotely, it’s especially important for a business to show a more human side when welcoming a new person into its ranks.

 

To this extent, flexible workspaces provide the perfect opportunity to onboard new hires, by providing a short-term space to integrate a new hire into the company and ease them into the remote working process, without necessarily expanding office space.

 

This way, brand new hires feel a greater connection to the company and experience the sense of being wholeheartedly welcomed, and can continue to work from home (or from the same flexible workspace) after the onboarding process is complete.

 

6. Flexible Workspaces Provide a Risk-Averse Office Space for Larger Companies

 

Flexible workspaces remain a great option for businesses who need a low-commitment option they can lease for the foreseeable future. They won’t need to worry about the considerable financial obligation a traditional office space would bring.

 

As a recession looms before us, many companies are looking at tightening the belt and figuring out how they might be able to cut costs and continue operating at full capacity.

 

Opting for more flexible leases would give them the ability to lean out when necessary and seek out more space for a growing company workforce when the opportunity presents itself.

 

Businesses who are doing well can look at flexible workspaces as a better option for safe and simple expansion when their main offices aren’t enough. They can be especially useful for companies looking to expand into other cities or regions.

 

Instead of retrofitting older office space to adhere to COVID-19 measures, companies can leverage safe and secure flexible workspaces to act as satellite offices for their new operations away from headquarters, at little to no risk.

 

Categories
Business Trends

New Year, New Goals to Set as a Solopreneur

Surely as a solopreneur, you’re ready to take on the new year with new goals to set! Below are tips to keep in mind when planning your 2021!

Goal setting is both very difficult and very important, especially for a solopreneur. When you’re pursuing your dreams and working on projects alone, every minute of the day is immensely valuable – and you can’t afford to waste time rushing into the wrong trajectory.

 

Smart and effective goal setting attempts to align our actions and intentions with our dreams, so we can continuously move towards them. What sets good goals apart from bad goals is scope and achievability.

 

A goal is meaningless if it’s too lofty, or too grounded. While solopreneurs need to set high expectations for themselves in order to motivate themselves, astronomical goals will often just further contribute to the feel in that you aren’t getting anywhere, and lead to burnout.

 

This 2021, set your sights on goals that don’t waste your time and move you in the right direction.

 

1. Clean House and Cut Excesses

 

Retrospection should always be the first step towards any meaningful change. As solopreneurs, we’re often too busy thinking about our next steps to take a moment and reevaluate our failures and shortcomings. We tend to barrel forwards, taking along bad habits and maladapted coping skills.

 

Take the new year as an opportunity to make a clean cut from 2020 and previous years, and analyze your decision-making, your work processes, and your day-to-day operations. What’s holding you back? What could you be eliminating to make it easier for you to work? What habits did you subconsciously develop that you should confront and eliminate in the new year?

 

A couple of simple examples include:

 

      • Installing and adhering to monitoring software to cut down on unnecessary doomscrolling and social media consumption.
      • Setting boundaries and limits around communications and lengthy meetings.
      • Cutting down on unnecessary subscriptions and email notifications.
      • Consolidating different services and monthly costs into smaller or simpler packages and reviewing your toolset.
      • Eliminating tools you don’t really need.
      • And more.

 

Where are you spending money with little to no return on investment? And more importantly, where are you spending time with little to no return on investment? Answer and act on these questions before tackling any other goals and intentions.

 

2. Identify Your Greatest (and Least Useful) Time Sinks

 

There are very few tasks the human mind can focus on for hours on end. Even though many entrepreneurs and solopreneurs find themselves working well over the standard 40 hours a week, they cycle between tasks and activities, or take breaks during the day to freshen the mind and think new thoughts.

 

Some of these breaks may run a little too long or become unnecessary distractions. Identify and separate work-appropriate restorative activities from private hobbies, and unhealthy time sinks.

 

Sit down and formulate an average weekly schedule, taking into account your own personal productivity levels throughout the day, identifying your best hours, your biggest typical daily slumps, and techniques that have helped or hindered you in the past. Try out new ways to improve your productivity, manage stress levels, and avoid bad working habits.

 

3. Announce Your Intentions Selectively

 

Setting goals and keeping them to yourself may be a good idea, as announcing them to the world can sometimes give you satisfaction similar to having already achieved them – taking some of the edge off, in a bad way.

 

However, announcing them selectively to your greatest friends and supporters can be a great way to ensure that you’re holding yourself accountable to your word, and showing real commitment towards your goals.

 

It also acts as a sort of additional level of clarity, giving you the opportunity to consider whether your goals really are achievable, and whether they accurately reflect the commitments you want to make this year.

 

 

4. Leave Room for Mental Sustainability

 

Putting too much on your plate is not a sign of strength. A wise solopreneur knows that the path towards success is best run as a marathon rather than a sprint, and young hustlers stretching themselves too thin usually end up burning out before their big break. If you want to hustle sustainably, you need to leave room for mental health.

 

That might not mean therapy or yoga sessions, or in-depth personal meditation. Maybe your coping habits take on a different shape or form, and that’s fine – so long as you find something that works for you. Sometimes, it’s not just what you do, but what you don’t do – and who you don’t talk with. Cut out the toxicity, separate yourself from both the naysayers and the yes men, and put your health first.

 

5. Find the Workspace of Your Dreams

 

The global pandemic has changed the way we work and communicate and relegated many to the home office – with mixed results. While many Americans embraced the change, others struggled with a poor transition, feelings of isolation, and endless distractions.

 

Coworking spaces provide an alternative for many to continue working with others and collaborate in a safe environment, without further expanding their own office space or relying solely on virtual tools.

 

Coworking spaces have adapted to COVID through novel hygiene protocols, strict social distancing measures, and by catering towards companies and entrepreneurs looking for ways to leverage space to create satellite offices for workers who cannot risk a lengthy commute.

 

6. Define and Refine Your Skillset

 

After a particularly difficult 2020, it’s time to stop spreading yourself too thin and focus on what you know. It’s good to learn and branch out but try to consolidate your efforts into projects that carry a personal value or are specifically within your area of expertise and knowledge.

 

Doing something daring can pay off, but there’s a time and place for such risks. Consider utilizing 2021 as an opportunity to hone your skills in a direction you’re comfortable with, define healthy boundaries, set achievable goals, and come out stronger than ever before.

 

Final Solopreneur Tip

 

Most new year resolutions fail and fall apart due to their excessive scope and vague nature. Take the time to identify targeted goals that matter to you, are specific to your personal and professional interests, and allow you to grow as a person and as an entrepreneur.