Running a cleaning business commands a lot of time and energy, but it shouldn’t cost you your personal life.
Owning any business requires sacrifice, especially in the beginning. You need the money to invest, the resources to work thoroughly, customers to serve, and employees to serve them. You have to monitor client accounts, seek out new business, maintain your equipment, and train your employees, to say nothing of all the administrative responsibilities.
Running a cleaning business is no exception. And especially with high turnover rates and a list of rotating clients, you may struggle to find time to indulge personal interests or even just spend time with your family.
But we work to live, not the other way around. It’s not only important but necessary to organize our lives in such a way that our work—even the never-ending work of running a cleaning business—still leaves time for the many other things that matter.
4 Ways to balance your work and life so you can enjoy them both
1. Prioritize prioritizing
The first step towards this kind of organization is to prioritize the things in your life that matter. Running a cleaning business will surely rank somewhere near the top, but what else brings you satisfaction and joy? What else do you want to accomplish? Sit down and write out an actual list of your priorities and do the best you can to put them in order. This becomes your baseline for everything else.
2. Make a schedule—and stick to it
Scheduling out your work day may be challenging with all of the unexpectedness that comes with running a cleaning business, especially if your team works the red eye shift, but that doesn’t mean you can’t map out a framework for the rest of your life. Note the hours of the day that you expect to devote to work—you don’t need details, just setting the time aside for work is enough—and then fill in the other hours with other obligations or hobbies.
Now here’s the trick: Stick to the schedule that you make! It’s all too easy to look at your calendar and say, “Well, I’ll just cut this because I want to fit in one or two more things at work.” Don’t. Sure, there will be times that you have to stay later than planned or pick up some work on a weekend because it absolutely cannot wait. But if you stop to think about it, you’ll find that many of the things that turn most of your waking hours into working hours are things that you can address later. Don’t miss out on the other things on your schedule by casting them to the side as options rather than obligations.
3. Turn off the technology
Let’s say you succeed in adhering to that schedule. You’re at home eating dinner with your family or maybe at a class you’ve wanted to take. Then you feel the familiar buzz of your mobile phone. Work is calling you. Chances are that you’re going to take the call or answer the e-mail or whatever it may be.
Technology has done wonderful things to advance business, but it’s also brought a whole new set of challenges when it comes to leaving work at work. I don’t suggest training yourself to let every after-work call and e-mail go, but allow yourself precious moments. Any problem can wait an hour until you’ve finished dinner. If you have a whole separate phone just for work, turn it off for the times you don’t want to be interrupted. Even if you don’t respond to a buzzing phone, just knowing there’s something going on takes your attention away from the other things you’ve set out to do. When you disengage, it’s important that you also disconnect. You may find disconnecting very difficult, most business owners do, which is why #4 is so important.
4. Delegate and learn the power of “no”
No matter how successful you are, running a cleaning business isn’t a one-person show. Hire a knowledgeable and trustworthy staff, and when it’s time for you to take a break, delegate the urgent tasks to someone who can handle them. Having a second-in-command is a crucial part of finding time to truly detach from work.
And perhaps the most difficult component to a work/life balance – learn how to say no! You can’t do everything, and nobody expects you to. If you’re honest and respectful about what you can and can’t do, any type of let-down won’t cost you the business. (And if it does, you might have dodged a bullet in working with that person in the first place.) Be realistic with yourself about what to take on, and be comfortable turning people down from time to time.
Remember that a healthy work/life balance is a component to success. You won’t be able to sustain running a cleaning business very long if you don’t take the time you need to recharge, relax, and nurture yourself. Well-rounded individuals build well-rounded companies, and that’s going to require a bit of a balancing act.