Do You Need to Achieve a Better Work-Life Balance?

By Liz McKeon, Salon Business Expert and Founder of the International Salon Business School

Running your own salon can consume an incredible amount of time and energy.  To avoid feeling burnt out, set yourself strict work-life boundaries.  Retaining a personal life outside of your business may seem like an impossible goal at times, but with the right strategies in place, you can successfully achieve a manageable work life balance, most of the time.

What is work-life balance?  This is a term used to describe how people distribute their time between personal and professional obligations.  When someone has a good work-life balance, they are able to allocate their time so they don’t overwork and can focus on other aspects of their life, such as family, friends, travel, hobbies and social activities.

Sounds simple?  But, it isn’t always easy for busy salon owners.

Top tips to achieving the perfect work-life balance for you:

Draw a line between work and home.  Get into the habit of separating the two, when you are at work, you are at work, when you are at home, you are at home.  Don’t be in one place and worrying or feeling guilty about not being in the other.  If you bring work home or have a home office, exercise self-discipline and stop working when you close the door.

Always stop for meals.  On average most salon owners work a minimum of 64 hours per week.  Taking care of yourself and establishing healthy eating habits is vital in order to have the energy required.  Set regular meal times, keeping these times sacrosanct and try to switch off your phone.

Make a practice of ‘switching off’.  Statistics show that 30 percent of us check our phones before 7am.  You need to build in uninterrupted thinking time into your day, away from technology and the expectation of an immediate response.  Our brains need respite in order to continue to produce innovative ideas. 

Outsource wherever you can.  At times and for certain tasks, relinquishing control is the right decision to make.  Think about what you could delegate and to whom.  For example, daily paperwork and general book-keeping could be outsourced to take care of your admin.

Filter your calls and refrain from taking unscheduled calls during your working day, as this can result in poor time management and unnecessary stress.

Make time for a holiday.  It is difficult to leave your salon for long periods of time, particularly in the early days.  Take long weekends instead – every so often add a Friday or a Monday to your weekend, giving you a break to look forward to and a chance to recharge your batteries.

Set priorities.  To feel more balanced in life and business, set priorities and create lists.  Put the most important tasks on the top of the list and the least important towards the bottom. Learn to stop ‘sweating the small stuff’ and let go of the less important things, so you can enjoy more leisure time.

Manage your time.  There are 24 hours in the day, ideally 8 for work, 8 for leisure and 8 for rest!  Managing your work-life balance starts with managing your time.  Create a schedule and adhere to your ‘to do’ list.  Avoid and manage unnecessary interruptions.  Imagine how much more balanced your life could be if you always managed your time efficiently.

Saying NO makes you grow!  Learn the power of saying no because sometimes we forget how important it is to say ‘no’ when we are busy.  It is not possible to be available to everybody around you all the time.  If you are respectful to your time limitations, then staff and clients will be respectful also.

Healthy people have healthy boundaries, and part of being healthy is occasionally saying no to requests, situations or staff that you can’t or don’t want to accommodate.

Stop complaining and change your life! Complaining means you are dwelling on the negative – your perspective is on the problems and not on the solution.  Become committed to keeping a positive happy attitude, regardless of what you are facing.

Assume responsibility – that is the solution.  If you have a problem or a difficulty to overcome, you are responsible to fix it.  Likewise, if you are unhappy, it is your responsibility to get to the root of your unhappiness and make some much needed changes.  If you don’t like your current situation, then change it.  Stop making excuses and be responsible.

Manage your environment.  The way we use technology significantly influences both our living and salon environment – and specifically external pressures and demands on us.  These very positive communication technologies, can become habits and systems which enslave and constrain, rather than liberate and enable.  They can make us constantly available so don’t let these external factors manage you.

Aim for a new mindset.  The mind is a very powerful tool.  If you believe you can achieve your salon and personal goals, chances are you are right.  On the other hand, if you feel certain to can’t – then you are right too.

For ongoing salon success it is so important to get into the right frame of mind.  Turn away from fear and worry.  Fear and worry won’t change any outcome, but will drain your energy.  Running a salon is not a single bottom line with cash being the final verdict.  Your experiences are where it all begins and ends, so gather as many positives as you can, ask yourself:  am I enjoying the process of running my salon?  It’s about having both financial success and enjoying the ride.

Practice thinking positively.  Display a more positive emotional and mental attitude towards yourself, other people and situations.  Refuse to participate in negative inner dialogues, as it is a waste your precious time and energy.  Associate with people who bring something of value into your life and avoid those who sap your enthusiasm.

Have faith in yourself and your abilities.  Then try new things, as doing things differently will help you be more creative.  Set goals for yourself and your business.  Keep yourself busy working on these.  Each goal accomplished will bring you more confidence and self-esteem.

Be careful what mental images you let into your mind.  How you see yourself and your surroundings make a difference to your thinking.

To learn more on Liz McKeon, visit her website here.

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