How to Acheive the Perfect Work-Life Balance During the Holidays

Achieving work-life balance is difficult any time of the year, but it’s especially tough to do during the holidays. Here’s how to pull it off.

Achieving that perfect balance of work and life is difficult any time of the year, but between the festive parties, wrapping presents, and helping out with your kid’s holiday pageant, it’s especially difficult to balance at this time of year. When the scale has a tendency to lean a little more towards the “life” side of things, how do you keep your work a priority?

Put everything on the same calendar.

Typically, the number one rule of keeping work life and personal life separate is to leave work at work and leave home at home. Though, during this time of year, with so many things going on, it’s easier and more efficient to just keep everything in one place. If you have an elementary school recital you need to attend in the middle of a Friday, you need to make sure it doesn’t conflict with any big projects or meetings also on that day. Keep all of your obligations on one calendar. Mark work obligations, like meetings, presentations, and big assignments, in one color, and personal obligations in another color.

Take care of your bigger tasks in the morning.

Though it can sometimes take a little time to warm up in the mornings, it’ll benefit you in the long run to take care of your bigger projects first thing in the morning.

If you’re one of those people who have a little trouble operating at full speed in the morning, I suggest trying to get “warmed up” for the day before even getting to the office.Though it sounds counterproductive to the night owls of the world, wake up a little earlier. Instead of rushing in the morning to try and get as much sleep as possible, wake up a little earlier to enjoy a cup of coffee at home, watch the news, read the paper, get into a nice little routine to make you feel awake and ready for the day. Then once at work, tackle all of your big tasks leaving the afternoon free if you need to head out early to pick up the kids or prep the house for a party.

Let everyone know when you’re gone.

Because everyone has a crazy schedule this time of year, communication is key. As the boss, you need to give people a heads up as to when you’ll be gone because you need to make sure everything gets done! Even the boss needs some help every now and then. Clearly and thoroughly assign duties to your employees on the days you need to miss, and let everyone know that if they need to get a hold of you to mark their emails with an “urgent” notification.

Communication between employees and yourself is the only way to tackle this crazy season. As long as you’re making sure all of the work gets done, it’s very possible to cater to everyone’s individual holiday schedules.

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @mycorporation.

5 Apps for a Better Work-Life Balance

Solopreneurs, freelancers and small business owners know all too well how difficult it can be to find time for friends, family and other activities they enjoy in their hectic schedules. Here are five helpful apps to keep both your work and personal lives thriving.

Solopreneurs, freelancers and small business owners know all too well how difficult it can be to find time for friends, family and other activities they enjoy in their hectic schedules. We all know that we should budget time wisely and say no when things overlap with our personal agendas, but unfortunately that isn’t always the case.

Most of us need a little extra guidance to ensure a healthy work-life balance, and luckily there are plenty of apps out there to help us keep our priorities in check. Here are few highly-rated apps to keep you sane, active and happy despite a full calendar:

iplaniPlanSuccess (iOS iPad only; $6.99)

iPlanSuccess is much more than your average task-management application. It actually forces you to spread your goals between work life, personal life and social & family life. It asks you to define your values, strengths, and ways you deal with being busy in order to help you set realistic goals. While the $6.99 price tag might seem a little steep, it makes sense since you’re less likely to stop using an app that wasn’t free. A smartphone version would be a nice addition to the app, so that you can keep your progress updated while you’re on the go. Overall, it’s a helpful app that gives you a detailed visual outline of where to direct your focus.

workoutsDaily Workouts (iOS, Android; FREE and $3.99 version)

Daily Workouts is a great app for those of us who don’t have (or make) the time to hit the gym everyday. The app allows you to set your exercise time (10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 minutes) and which area of the body you want to focus on. It shows you exactly how to do each of the exercises and also includes a timer and repetition counter. If you have your own office or don’t mind breaking out a yoga mat in front of your colleagues, this is a great tool to use if you’ve got a spare 15 minutes in between meetings. If you’re an active yogi, check out the Simply Yoga app which substitutes the workouts for yoga positions.

cozi1Cozi Family Organizer (iOS, Android; FREE)

Cozi is the perfect app for to manage family members’ schedules– and to set time aside to spend only with family. You can use Cozi as your main calendar, or link it with your Google calendar so that you can schedule around work and other commitments. It also features to-do lists and shopping lists, which can be split up amongst family members. Cozi is helpful in establishing your work-life balance because it shares your schedule with your family and therefore makes you more accountable for getting things done.

graphWay of Life (iOS; FREE)

One major reason we even start thinking about our work-life balance in the first place is probably because we have gotten into the habit of prioritizing one activity over another. Way of Life is a free app that helps you break bad habits and start forming good ones. The app allows you to plot goals and track whether or not you are meeting them on a daily or weekly basis. Some examples of habits you could implement  range from not staying in the office for longer than nine hours a day to having a family movie night every two weeks.

Self-Control (For Macs Only; FREE)

Self-Control is a free app for Mac that allows you to block access to the internet or certain websites for a specified period of time. In addition to being an effective productivity app, it will help you in your quest to achieve work-life balance by enabling you to block your work email and other work-related sites while you are at home. That’s right– no tracking receipts or managing expense reports at home! Just make sure you are committed to staying off of the restricted sites you choose– once you blacklist them, there is no going back! But, we promise not to tell anyone if you pull out your phone and check email.

What apps or methods do you use to maintain a healthy work-life balance? Share your tips in the comments!

7 Ways to Find Work-Life Balance

Is achieving work-life balance sort of like finding a leprechaun or buying your niece a unicorn for her birthday?

If you think a balanced life is completely impossible for small business owners and startup types, think again. Here are 7 suggestions to make sure that even when you’re enjoying your work, your work isn’t completely taking over your life. Continue reading “7 Ways to Find Work-Life Balance”