How to Establish Work-life Balance as a Creative Entrepreneur

How To establish work life balance as a creative entrepreneur
Oh, work-life balance, that symbiotic harmony of having your work life and family life flowing in conjunction with each other rather than battling one another for attention. As a full time working mom who’s also starting a creative business while still working an 8-5 and taking care of a 1 yr old (yes a lot, I know), it’s no question that establishing a flow of how to get my work prioritizes taken care of and my personal/family needs is my number one priority. Finding the sweet spot of keeping it all afloat and making sure that I’m not spreading myself too thin is quite the juggling act. But throughout this process, I’ve managed to strategize my daily and weekly flow. Not only is building my business and having it sustain itself important, but it’s also crucial that my family isn’t being brushed aside because of work nor is my mental health going to shit because I’ve been over-stressed and overworked. 

In my opinion, your work-life shouldn’t be in competition with your personal life nor should it hinder you from spending quality time with the people that matter the most. I know in this westernized hustle culture we live in, you’re rewarded for working long grueling hours and still expected to wake up at 5am with an elaborate morning routine. But in reality, the real world doesn’t operate on those terms and it’s impossible to sustain high levels of output for an extended period of time. Burnout, stress,
or sleep deprivation is an absolute given. 

So how do you create a flow within your daily life that gives you room to work, play, focus on your creative business and still have time for yourself to unwind and simply do nothing? Chances are you’re reading this post to find out the secret formula to crack this code. Luckily for you, achieving this can be done by taking some simple and practical steps.

Step 1 – Notice

Make a list of what your primary needs are. What are the things you want to be able to get done on a daily or weekly basis? These needs should touch on the areas of your life where you’re trying to establish balance (Personal, Family, Work, Business). This helps you visualize and clearly see how much you’re wanting to take on in your life. It also helps identify areas where you might need support or certain tasks that overlap with others. Simply put, if you don’t know what you need to get done ahead of time, it’s impossible to make a plan of action on how you intend on accomplishing all these things. By putting your goals in writing and getting them out of your head, you shorten the amount of time it takes to decide on what you need to do. Too often we waste a lot of momentum and energy simply “thinking” of what we want to do because we’re mentally overwhelmed by the amount of information we’re trying to store in our minds. Taking the time to make a list will serve you in the long run with attaining mental clarity and quicker decision making. 

Step 2 – Take Stock 

How are you currently spending your days? What patterns, routines, and habits have already been established in your day-to-day life? We all have 24 hours in a day so how are you spending that time in a typical week? Is there a period in your day where you find yourself endlessly scrolling through some form of a feed? Do you have a regular time of day where you tend to do certain tasks? Taking stock of how you are currently spending your time will give you an opportunity to figure out where changes need to be made or where there are missed opportunities. In Atomic Habits by James Clear, he recommends creating a habit tracker as a tool to measure whether or not you did a habit. I found this helpful in not only keeping a tracker of habits I wanted to sustain but also habits that don’t align with the goals I’ve set for myself. Taking stock of where your time is being spent also allows for open and honest conversations with yourself. If there are certain goals or expectations that you have for yourself but find that you’re constantly falling short on attaining them or avoiding doing them, this would be an opportunity to reassess and figure out why that’s so. 

Step 3 – Plan & Execute 

Now that you know what you want to do, and how you are spending your days you can now piece together a plan of action and set up systems to help you accomplish all these things. What does the ideal day look like for you? What time do you want to wake up each morning? What hours of the day will you spend working on your business, taking care of your needs and your family’s needs? The key here is to not try to do it all at once. Spread out the tasks throughout the week and group similar ones together. For example, if you know for your business this week you want to create new products for your online shop then break that task down into actionable steps. Decide what product you want to create, gather your materials ahead of time, and plan for the time to make your products (i.e on Tuesday at 3pm after work I will start sketching my design in my studio). The more specific you are about when and where you plan on working on your to-do’s the more likely you are to follow through with it. The key is to be gentle with yourself and be open to the possibility that things may not go as planned. At the end of the day, life does happen and the most perfectly thought out plan can get derailed due to life circumstances. Be flexible when needed and allow for the unexpected because… that’s just life sometimes. 

Ultimately, the systems you create for yourself will be individualized and specific to your life and your needs. You have the highest chance of success if you cater your routines to something that is suitable for your day-to-day rather than trying to emulate or copy someone else’s. Sure you can start waking up at 5am, with a green smoothie, and do sun salutations, etc but would that be conducive to your lifestyle, patterns, and needs? If not then try tuning into yourself and the patterns, habits, and systems you want to develop that will make the biggest difference for YOU. What may be balancing for someone else might not be right for you and vice versa. The most important thing is that you feel like things are getting accomplished with EASE, not tension. You should feel like things are effortlessly getting done and from a place of joy!

I hope you found this helpful and will share more of my day-to-day life as a small business owner and the systems I have in place to create harmony in my sometimes chaotic and demanding life in a later post. I would love to hear what tips you have about creating work/life balance for yourself in the comments below! 

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