Is work life balance possible as an entrepreneur? How do you strike that elusive balance of advancing your business while maintaining a healthy personal life? We caught up with our founder and Chief Executive Officer, Kim Gans, to get tips on how she approaches work life balance as a mom and small business owner in Toronto.
Step One: Define Your Personal and Business Objectives
The great balancing act begins with setting clear objectives. Knowing what these are sets the foundation and building blocks to guide what you want in your personal life and business, and prioritize what you need to do and when you need to do it. Defining objectives may sound simple, but if someone asked you today what your personal and business objectives are, would you be able to answer in one or two sentences? If you can’t, it’s time to define these.
Step Two: Be Honest With Yourself
We can’t do it all, and we can’t make more time in the day. It’s important to be honest with how much time you can (and want) to spend on your personal and business goals. Once you have developed some guardrails with your time, you can start mapping out your schedule and keep yourself accountable.
Step Three: Make a Realistic To Do List
This may sound obvious, but to do lists are important, and keeping them practical even more so. A key tip is picking three to five things you want to accomplish regardless of distractions: these are your non-negotiables. Ensure within these you have both business and personal items (at least one or two), so you don’t risk always prioritizing business. And for those smaller things that come up day to day? If they can be finished in two minutes or less, try to do it in the moment.
Step Four: Hold Yourself Accountable
Accountability is a key element to achieving balance – but it doesn’t mean putting yourself down if you don’t achieve every goal or complete every item on your to-do list. If you don’t achieve what you set out to do, review and adjust if they’re not attainable. Ask yourself: “Are my goals not reasonable, or am I spending time on things I haven’t prioritized?” Be kind to yourself, otherwise you risk burnout.
Step Five: Help Your Team Find Balance
Establishing an optimal work life balance can't be achieved within a vacuum - it's critical that this philosophy extends to the entire team. At Sweet Flour, we encourage our team to take vacations and breaks even if it feels work is too busy; we’re always at our best when we take time for ourselves. We also ask our team to be transparent about what their non-negotiables are; for example, not being available at certain times during the day, and sticking to that. We also encourage our team to re-evaluate their workload and to-do list and ensure it ladders up to their overall goals and objectives. If something isn’t a seamless fit, we reevaluate as a team and shift strategy if needed.
Similar to running a business, balance is something that can’t be achieved overnight, but can be worked on over time, and we encourage you to try out some of these strategies if you’re feeling stuck.