As a franchisee, achieving a work-life balance that allows you to thrive in both areas won’t always be easy. Especially when you’re starting out, a few wrong moves could see you losing that balance and focusing too heavily on work.
Here are four signs that your work-life balance is off, and in need of correcting before it starts negatively impacting your mental and physical health. Once you recognise that you’re off balance, you’ll be able to shift your priorities and make necessary changes before the situation deteriorates.
What is work-life balance, and why does it matter?
Work-life balance is, put simply, the balance between the time you spend working (and thinking about working) and the time you spend at leisure (and NOT thinking about working). A good work-life balance sets you up for success, allowing you to feel rested and ready to tackle each new day. A bad work-life balance… not so much.
Sometimes, achieving this balance seems impossible. In fact, 30% of people in the UK don’t feel like they have a good work-life balance [Insight]. But if you can achieve the balance, and you can keep on a solid track, you’ll avoid:
- Damaging your mental health
- Damaging your physical health
- Burning out
- Lowered productivity levels at work
- Lowered performance at work
Four signs of poor work-life balance
While rewarding and often highly profitable, running a franchise can be stressful and time consuming, and without personal discipline and productive working methods, you could end up with an imbalance between work and leisure in your life. How do you spot a poor work-life balance in action? There are some telltale signs to watch out for....
1. A decline in your mental health
When your work-life balance is off, you might start to feel extremely overwhelmed. Before long, this feeling will negatively impact your mental health, which as a franchisee, you should be working to protect. The moment you feel your mental health declining, it’s time to sit up and pay attention.
Is your mood different recently? Has your appetite changed? Are you feeling nervous, or illogical, or disconnected, or overly sensitive? Are you struggling to sleep at night? Many different changes can signify mental health deterioration, and when your mental health does deteriorate, it will impact your personal life and your professional life. Don’t be afraid to touch base with your franchisor if you can feel things worsening mentally.
Whether you have a mental health problem or not, your employer has a duty of care to you under health and safety legislation. You have the right to work somewhere safe. This means where any risks to your health are properly assessed and controlled.
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2. An inability to set boundaries
Boundaries are a blessing if you can set them correctly. They prevent you from taking on too much and prevent you from bringing work home. There are three kinds of boundaries - emotional, physical and mental.
Emotional boundary setting, for example, might take the form of refusing to allow the attitudes of others to influence decisions you feel confident in, while physical boundary setting refers to the establishment of rules around your personal space at work. Mental boundaries are more internal, and dictate how you respond, within yourself, to thoughts, values and opinions shared by others in the workplace.
3. Failure to prioritise your personal life, resulting in missing big, “unmissable” events
Whether it’s a birthday party, a piano recital, a graduation or a wedding, one of the most enjoyable things about life is gathering and celebrating with loved ones. When you’re overworked, your priorities might get mixed up, and you might end up missing stuff that, under normal circumstances, you never would. One in five parents has missed an important moment in their child’s life due to their work schedule [HR Magazine].
>> Read more:
- 15 Tips for Staying Positive and Being Supportive During the COVID-19 Crisis
- 20 Questions: How Can I Maintain My Well-Being During the COVID-19 Crisis?
- How to Protect Your Mental Health During Tough Times
- Is Mental Health Support Part of Your Franchise Package? (It Should Be)
- 10 Clever Ways to Protect Your Mental Health as a Franchisee
4. A lack of time for self-care and relaxation
Similarly, if you’re overworked, you might not have time to properly care for and nurture yourself. Self-care isn’t selfish, and if you practice it regularly, you’ll improve your health, reduce your stress and anxiety levels, boost your self-esteem and cultivate healthier relationships - with yourself and with others. Self-care doesn’t have to mean a weekend at the spa or champagne in the bubble bath, it could be as simple as:
- Making sure you get enough sleep
- Drinking plenty of water
- Exercising regularly
- Spending time on hobbies
- Spending time with people you love
- Nourishing your body with good food
How to create a better work-life balance in six steps
If any of these warning signs speak to you and your experience, it’s time to make some adjustments. Here are six steps for creating a better work-life balance...
1. Prioritise your time - Organise your working hours and your free time, and recognise when your personal life should and shouldn’t take priority.
2. Be realistic - Don’t try to fit more into the day than is realistic, or you’ll be doomed to fail from the start.
3. Ask for support when you need it - Don’t go it alone for the sake of being stoic. Your franchisor is ready and waiting to support you at work, and your loved ones are ready and waiting to support you emotionally during difficult moments.
4. Take breaks when you need them - Even with a deadline looming, your brain can only focus for so long. Take regular breaks when you need them, and never forget that the work you’re doing is not as important as the person doing the work (you!).
5. Let go of perfectionism - Often, there’s no time to make something perfect. Especially given that “perfect” is such a fickle and subjective term. If it serving its purpose, and it’s time to move onto another task, leave it there.
6. Take things one at a time - Looking at the big picture might be important sometimes, but other times, it can be a little overwhelming. On days when you feel stressed or off balance, try to focus on doing one thing at a time and letting little wins accumulate.
Maintain a healthy work-life balance and build a successful franchise
If you can maintain a healthy work-life balance and take action when it feels off, you’ll have a much better chance of building a profitable, successful franchise. For more advice on running a franchise while protecting your mental health, discover five ways to manage stress as a franchisee, or find out how to recover from burnout without negatively impacting your business.
Lily Sweeney, Point Franchise ©