Photo by  Ally & Bobby Photography  //  TSOS Chapel Hill

Photo by Ally & Bobby Photography // TSOS Chapel Hill

Julie Morris is a life and career coach who thrives on helping others live their best lives. In her spare time, she loves spending time outdoors, getting lost in a good book and working on

Elon University


18 pt
18 pt


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Small business owners are constantly busy, but the way work demands intensify at the beginning of the year means they often have to give up even more of their personal time.  With an eye toward reducing inventory, making financial goals, and starting the new year with happy repeat customers, small business owners feel like they can’t afford to have any downtime during this busy period. While it is difficult to let yourself relax with so much on your plate, there are ways you can balance your personal time while still accomplishing your goals so that you don’t end up with an unhealthy work-life balance in 2017:

Prioritize Must-Do Tasks

There are some tasks that are not as important at the beginning of the year as others. While these tasks vary depending on the type of business you have, every business owner should take the time to make a list of priorities to determine exactly what it is they must do and which tasks can wait. You may find that you need to upgrade software now that will help you do your taxes more efficiently so that you’ll be ready well in advance of Tax Day, or you may find that following the holiday rush your inventory numbers are skewed, and you’re in desperate need of a solid inventory count. By knowing exactly what your checklist needs to contain, you’ll feel less overwhelmed and be able to start completing tasks while still making it home for family time.

Use Your Time Wisely

It’s tempting to get out and speak with customers that arrive in the new year, but you shouldn’t spend too much time away from your goals. One thing you need to do is use your time wisely. If there is a customer that you need to speak with to maintain a relationship, do so. Otherwise, you may want to spend time in your office and let your staff work with customers while you complete paperwork and important tasks. By using your time wisely, you’ll get more priorities completed and be free to go home without the weight of lingering responsibilities on your mind.

It’s also a smart idea to limit your social media use and stay off the internet if you are tempted to browse timelines or surf the internet for a short break. Limit all distractions to stay focused and get your work done so you can get home for some relaxation.

Re-evaluate Your Goals

Small business owners can get bogged down in their new year goals. The problem is that sometimes they set goals that are too lofty or unrealistic, and they can waste a lot of time worrying about them. Reevaluate the expectations you set for the year with a more critical eye to make sure you haven’t overestimated what’s realistic.

SMART goals are helpful for small business owners who may find themselves struggling to make strong new year goals. Set a specific goal, make sure your goal is measurable, make sure that your goal is agreed upon by other stakeholders if necessary, ensure your goal is realistic, and set a timeline for your goal.

Take Off the Pressure at Home

If you truly want to enjoy your time off-the-clock but can’t find a way to save time at work, save time at home. Small business owners have two jobs between running a business and running a home, which can make stress even more overwhelming in busy times like the new year. Give yourself a break and relieve some stress by getting help. For example, you might hire a housecleaner to come once every couple of weeks to clean your home. Or you might hire a dog walker so you don’t have to spend your lunch break running home to take Fido out. Another option might be to save yourself a trip to the grocery store each week by ordering your groceries online. Allow yourself to order in dinner some nights, and give yourself permission to enjoy a cup of coffee and your favorite book at the cafe around the corner. You can support other small businesses while you manage your stress.

Small business owners never will feel as though they have enough time for everything, but following our suggestions will help you achieve more balance in the new year.



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