For many freelancers and entrepreneurs, early January tends to be a little quieter. Take advantage of this post-holiday lull to reflect on your work-life balance. How did you do in 2016 and how can you make 2017 even better? Ask yourself the following questions so you can start the new year off strong, both personally and professionally.
What did I do well last year?
Take the time to assess what business decisions you made in 2016 that yielded positive outcomes for your employees and increased profits. This will help you determine what strategies you wish to carry over into 2017. Ask yourself:
- What networking events where valuable in making new contacts?
- What marketing tactics did I try that were successful?
- What partnerships did I make that resulted in positive outcomes?
- How did I ensure my team felt valued and were productive?
- How did I make sure my clients felt valued?
How can I improve in 2017?
Here’s where you have to get really honest with yourself. Everyone has failures — and great lessons can be found in them. Don’t believe me? Just read this article by Richard Branson of Virgin on the value of failures.
As the year begins, take a hard look at where you struggled in 2016 and how you can make changes. Ask yourself:
- What did I try that did not work or produce the outcomes I’d hoped for? Should I try the same ideas again and refine them, or not?
- If I had challenges with my partnerships, what can I do to make them stronger?
- What business development strategies were not successful? What can I do to refine my business development approach for the new year?
- What challenges did I have with employees? Can I make changes to avoid these issues again?
- Were there any client-related difficulties? What changes can I make to maintain more positive client relationships this year?
Did I make time for family and friends?
Carving out enough time for family and friends is a challenge — but it’s also crucial to maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
But research shows us time and time again that family and friends have a strong impact on our health. Certainly, every day won’t be perfectly balanced between work and life, but you should aim for a week that is, on average, fairly equal. To assess your work-life balance, ask yourself:
- If I’m married or in a relationship, how healthy is my relationship? What did I do that supported and strengthened my relationship last year? Where can I improve?
- If I have children, how healthy are my relationships with my kids? What did I do well as a parent last year? Where can I improve?
- Did I make time to connect with friends? If so, how can I be sure to continue these connections? If not, how can I find time to make meaningful connections in the new year?
Did I take care of my health and well-being?
Possibly one of the hardest things for business owners is finding time for their own health and well-being. I’m certainly guilty of that!
But just as healthy connections improve our health, so does taking time to eat well and exercise regularly. Getting adequate sleep is also important (and underrated) to our health. If you’re not convinced, check out “Lack of Sleep is Killing You and Your Career” from Inc.
To assess how well you took care of your health in 2016, ask yourself:
- Did I exercise most days of the week?
- Overall, did I eat in a way that gave me energy and contributed to my health?
- Did I get sufficient rest most days of the week?
- How can I improve in these areas in the new year?
New year, new work-life balance
As a business owner, you know how important it is to persevere to meet your goals. The same goes for maintaining work-life balance.
You won’t achieve it if you don’t make it a priority. As you move forward into the new year, keep the above questions in mind to ensure you’re successful at work and at home.
Wishing you a prosperous, productive and healthy 2017!
Also published on Medium.