When you own your own creative business, making the distinction between work time and actual life can be tricky – your brain never stops thinking about your business.
Between incoming emails and inquiries, new ideas popping up at the most inopportune times and needing to be a good friend, parent or partner, you need tools to help us manage the work/life balance so you can enjoy what truly matters. That’s why it’s so important to find tools that help automate your business so you can enjoy life outside of your work.
Here’s a list of 5 work/life balance tools that will change the way you work:
Work/Life Balance Tool #1: A Client Management System
Life completely changes when you invest in software that acts as an assistant for your business. When you set up a client management system, you’ll save countless hours per week in emails, scheduling and inquiries.
With a system like Honeybook, you can set up autoresponders based on topic or interest and create canned responses for pricing, inquiries, invoicing, contracts and questionnaires so you don’t have to start from scratch with each inquiry or client.
Workflows run automatically and time tracking becomes effortless, making you feel like you’ve hired someone to handle all of the admin stuff so you can focus on what really matters in your business. In turn, you’ll have a better work/life balance because things are happening automatically on the backend without needing your attention in the moment. What a game changer!
Work/Life Balance Tool #2: A Meeting Scheduler
In addition to a client management tool, your work/life balance will change when you set up a meeting scheduler to handle all of your calls and work appointments.
Schedulers like Calendly allow you to set up the days and times you’re available for calls and meetings each month. When you get a meeting inquiry, you can send over a link to your calendar of availability and your client or potential client can schedule directly from your calendar based on what works for them.
Not only does this cut down on emails and save you the time of emailing your availability back and forth, Calendly can automatically create a Zoom meeting and add it to both of your calendars.
You’ll save precious time by investing in a meeting scheduler, and you’ll be so happy you did!
Work/Life Balance Tool #3: A Social Media Scheduler
Another distraction when it comes to work/life balance is the constant pull to engage on social media. When you own your own small business, you can sabotage your downtime with social media because you always feel like you need to be on Instagram, scrolling through feeds, posting stories and reels and engaging with your followers. But this can be the biggest distraction creatives deal with that can derail your downtime.
That’s where a social media planner like Planoly comes in. Planoly allows you to plan out and auto post your content to Instagram so you can cut down on how much time you spend scrolling. Not only can you plan out what your grid will look like, you can automatically add hashtags, location and tags. Plus, you get a calendar view of your past posts and scheduled posts so you can better schedule out your content.
This comes in handy when you’re wanting to batch-plan your posts. Take some time one morning to plan out and schedule all of your instagram posts for the week. Set them to auto post and forget all about it – they’ll post with all of the things your post needs to help with engagement, and you can set a time each day to check in on your feed and respond to comments and inquiries.
When you can do a little intentional work ahead of time, you’ll be less likely to spend half the day trying to figure out what to post and what caption to write, and you’ll have more time to focus on the other things you need to get done so you can be present in other areas of life.
Work/Life Balance Tool #4: A Dedicated Note on Your Phone
If you always have ideas popping into your head with no notebook or pen in sight, consider using the Notes app on your phone to keep all of your important ideas in one place! And since you likely almost always have your phones with you, you can quickly add your ideas and get back to what you were doing.
Create a new note called New Ideas and add all of those random things that pop into your head – launch ideas, plans for a new passive income project and all of those ideas for new Reels to create.
You can organize them by topic or urgency, then add checkmarks next to them so you can keep a running list of what you want to accomplish. Then when you have some focused work time, you can take those ideas to your computer and hash out all of the details.
Not only does this keep all of your ideas organized in one place rather than in 4 random notebooks and 10 scattered Post It notes, it allows you to be more present in your everyday life, more organized with your ideas and more likely to get back to what matters in your daily life. Work/life balance – achieved.
Work/Life Balance Tool #5: A Virtual Assistant
Even with all of the automation in the world, sometimes you need just a little more help to achieve work/life balance. Help from an actual human. In this case, there is one other tool you can utilize – a Virtual Assistant or VA.
The most amazing thing about a virtual assistant is discovering the number of things you can outsource in your business that you don’t like to do or want to do – a VA is there to do those things!
Generally, tasks that creatives don’t love are ones that your VA will happily take care of for you. When you can’t automate something with an online tool, a virtual assistant can take care of it. And the joy of the virtual world is that your assistant doesn’t have to be someone who lives in the same town as you – they can live across the country or across the world and still be helpful to you and your business.
Everything from small tasks like invoicing and emails that take a little more of a custom response to creating graphics to posting to Pinterest and more can all be taken care of by a virtual assistant so you can focus on the things you love to do in your business. And oftentimes, those are the things that set you apart as a creative, which means they are the most important things for you to get done.
Work/life balance is easier to achieve when you have someone in your corner helping you get the little tasks done so you can focus on the bigger pieces and enjoy life outside of work as well.
Next Steps: Brainstorm Work/Life Balance Tools
When you can automate anything, your work/life balance becomes much simpler. Use the worksheet provided to write down different tasks in your business that could be automated and then brainstorm what programs you could set up to take care of this task.
Consider writing out each task that comes with your most popular offerings – from inquiry to invoice sending and final wrap-up calls. What pieces can be automated? Dream big here!
You can also write down what happens in your typical workday, from start to finish. Here, you can distinguish what tasks could be automated or taken care of by a virtual assistant.
Keep your task steps on the left-hand side, then spend some time brainstorming and researching programs or systems that could help you on the right side. Make sure to note their monthly or yearly investment, and weigh the benefit against the price.
Keep in mind – getting some of these tasks under control will free up time and give you some clear headspace to focus on more important and thought intensive tasks. The value of that is sometimes priceless!
Then, take action! The world is full of tools and people to help you simplify our business, and it can be overwhelming to decide what to implement first. Choose one or two programs or ideas and commit to using them consistently. Sign up for free trials of these programs and test them out. Then, weigh their value in your life and business.
Once you’ve implemented a few, watch how your life transforms and how your focus shifts to help you build a business you enjoy working on and a life that feels properly balanced with your work. While the balance isn’t ever really achieved, there are so many work/life balance tools that can help us feel more level headed and in control of each portion of our lives, and that’s something to be celebrated.
What are your favorite tools that help you achieve a work/life balance? Share them in the comments!