Balancing a new relationship with a thriving business
It might be one of the toughest questions around – how can you keep your business thriving, growing, and being incredible, and have a private life that is fulfilling, too?
And even that sentence makes it sound difficult.
For career-focused people, it can be tough to imagine a world where they want to switch off from nurturing their greatest and maybe first love (the business) and put the time and effort elsewhere.
But as the saying goes, no man is an island – and sometimes, even the toughest career person might want someone to rest their head on from time to time. It is a tale as old as time – almost – people who are trying to get their business off the ground leave everything else behind them.
Because, let’s face it, getting a work-life balance can be one of the toughest things to manage. New businesses absorb so much of our time, and they demand we take certain actions and dedicate our time to them.
But, there are some personality types that might take that to an extreme – and sadly, miss out on all of the wonderful other things that life has to offer.
The real question is – can you have both? Can you have both a healthy and fulfilling relationship and a healthy and thriving business – and if so, how?
Know your limits
One thing that many entrepreneurs have in common is that they find it tough to delegate. Without understanding how to delegate, or maybe not really wanting to take your hands off the wheel, it can be tough to get any time for yourself.
But this is one of those times when learning how and when to hand something over is essential. Your business will 99% of the time be there in the morning. Most emails aren’t urgent, and the business won’t collapse if you take a few hours away.
A lot of the time, much of what keeps the business running can be put into automation or be handled by another member of your team – or even an assistant that you use every once in a while.
Recognizing your limits is also healthy for you in the long term without adding a partner into the mix.
Set clear boundaries
Boundaries are one of the single most important things that you have to have when you are trying to cultivate a healthy new relationship, and you have a business to run. The person that you are dating, or hope to date, will need to respect that you have a certain amount of responsibility and want to fulfill them.
And, the people you work with will need to respect that the time you have away from working hours or the business is essential.
Setting clear boundaries as early as possible means that everyone will understand when you are available and when you aren’t and respect that those are set in stone.
Why is this a problem for most entrepreneurs, though? Setting boundaries is a huge issue for people who are either freelancing with a heavy workload or who are trying to get a business off the ground.
Most often, the need to be as available as possible to clients, to take on work that they can’t handle, and to overload themselves in order to be successful is often too much.
If that sounds familiar – setting boundaries to keep your private life safe and a bit of a sanctuary is important.
Decide on your priorities
Let’s say that you haven’t met that special someone yet – but you are really hoping that you meet them soon. But let’s also say that you are spending almost no time trying to find that person. You haven’t had a night off work to go gay speed dating, to a quiz night, or even to your fitness class.
So, while you say you want to meet someone and have a healthy and fulfilling relationship – you aren’t actually prioritizing it.
When it comes to work-life balance, it isn’t always easy, but that is because many people aren’t really paying attention to what their true priorities are in life – and in some cases, they are even ignoring them!
Understanding what means the most to you and why it means that most can help you build a wall around it and keep it safe. In other words, build the necessary protections and boundaries in place so that it remains unaffected by your work.
Avoid busy work
It has been a huge trend for the last few years to be busy – but busy doing what? Not all that much! It is being busy for the sake of it, and once you make that a habit, you can often find you are just doing ‘busy work.
Busy work can be the killer of free time, hobbies, new relationships, friendships, and even just regular rest and relaxation. This is a common thing for new entrepreneurs and business owners, and to an extent, some freelancers – confusing being productive with being busy. You can be one without the other.
Look at how many hours you spend working, and think about how productive you were in those hours – could it have been that you were busy for busy sake, and really you could’ve done something else for a few hours?
You can reduce the amount of busy work that you do by having clear and focused goals and translating those into an easy-to-manage – but effective and productive – to-do list.
Another way to avoid busy work is by changing how you work – for example, look at time-blocking, the Pomodoro timers, or even have an AI timetable built for you to keep you on track.
Busy work can also happen if you are moving away from your workspace often enough.
Set your working hours
For those who just shook their head when they read set work hours – you’re not alone. People have different rhythms and times of day that they work best. However, your day can technically go on forever if you don’t have a start and end point.
Setting working hours isn’t just for you, though; when clients can clearly see when you can and cannot be contacted, it can help to keep those boundaries in place.
If a client can find you online and reply to messages at 3 am, and then at 10 am, and then somewhere in the afternoon – this gives them a clear signal that you are always on the lock and always contactable.
It might be tough with some clients to tell them you are only available after 9 am and before 4 pm – but ultimately, it means that any time outside of that can be dedicated to spending time with your new partner and making sure that there are not going to be any work interruptions.
Having set hours that clients can contact you doesn’t mean you can’t work until 3 am if you feel like it – but it does mean that you won’t be fielding emails and calls when you really want to get some deep work done for a few hours.
Separate the tech
You might feel like having two phones, and maybe even two laptops or computers, is a bit much, but this separation is so healthy.
Imagine you are relaxing with your new partner, or perhaps they aren’t that new, but you’re still getting to know each other, and you keep getting emails and texts. Even if you don’t intend for it to happen, it pulls your attention away from the person you are spending time with.
Many people who have a single device for multiple uses will find that even if they were just going to check a text from a friend, they might head over to the emails, see something they can deal with, and then go and deal with the piece of work… hours later realizing that they got completely sidetracked.
Not only does it offer a solid separation, but it also means that you won’t feel the pressure to respond to things when you are meant to be having a romantic evening or even just relaxing with your person.
Schedule what you need to do
Maybe what you need to do is be more clinical about it – and schedule time that you want to spend with your new partner, or with the person in the new relationship. Blocking time out in a shared schedule or just for your own peace of mind can work wonders. Many people are more likely to do something if it is on their calendars.
Not only are they more likely to do it, but it can help give a real insight into how much time you are spending on your personal life and your business. This visual queue can be enough to help you make some changes that mean your new relationship is given the opportunity to flourish in the best way.
What if it isn’t a business you run that is taking up all your time, but instead, you have a demanding career, and you need to learn how to balance that? Then this is the post for you: Can you pursue romance when you have a busy career? – Talented Ladies Club.