How to Balance Business and Personal Goals


Do you run your own business and find it challenging to balance both your business and personal goals? Whether you have employees or work alone, finding that balance can often seem impossible.

You might feel like you’re being pulled in ten different directions on any given day, or your to-do list might be suffocating you.

How can you go about creating more balance? It’s not impossible, but it does take the right approach along with some prioritizing. Here’s how you can go about managing both your business and personal goals.

Make a List

This sounds so simple, because it is! However, it can really help, especially if you have a million things floating around in your head and you can’t seem to hold onto any of them.

Make time to write up a list without any distractions. Create two columns: one for your business goals, and another for your personal goals. Write down as many goals as you can think of, big or small. If you’ve been extremely busy and haven’t defined your goals in a while, leave room for any goals you might think of afterward. If you have to, sleep on it, and come back the next day.

When you’re satisfied with your list, go back through and make each goal specific. Goals need to be clear and measurable, otherwise you can’t tell if you’re making progress toward them or not.

Maybe a business goal is to work less, but earn more. Get clearer on that — how many hours a day do you want to work? Do you only want to work four days out of the week? Do you need better paying clients? Figure out what hourly rate you need to earn to make that happen.

Your personal goals might include being able to save for retirement or your child’s college expenses. Again, define that very clearly and specifically. How much of your income do you want to put toward these goals? This will also help you figure out what you need to be charging.

Making this list and getting your goals on paper should provide you with a small sense of relief. Everything is out there in the open. Now it’s time to prioritize.

How to Prioritize Your Goals

Prioritizing can be tough, especially when your business goals are competing with your personal goals. Both are probably equally important to you.

Unfortunately, we don’t have unlimited time or resources. That’s exactly why prioritizing is necessary. You can’t run your business and your personal life without a system or purpose. Defining your goals will give you that purpose, and it’s up to you to .

Go through your list and circle the goals you think will have the biggest impact. Completing these goals first will hopefully pave the way to succeeding with your other goals. Setting up the biggest systems first might be hard, but there’s often a bigger payoff.

Once you’re done, rearrange all your goals so they’re ordered from most important to least important. You now know what you need to focus on first.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Still overwhelmed with your list of goals? You need to start working smarter, not harder.

Carefully consider the value of your time, and what you’re getting paid (or how profitable your business is). Are pesky tasks popping up that derail your plans for the day? Do you feel uninspired to work on your business? Do you need to create more structure?

If the answer is yes to any of those, consider hiring help and outsourcing if you can. For example, if you value your time at $100 per hour, but can delegate a task to someone and pay them $15 per hour, you’re saving yourself a lot of time (and sanity!) — and not paying much for it.

Outsourcing means you can devote more time to tackling your goals and earning more. You can focus on the big picture while others focus on the smaller pieces. If you were focusing too much on your business before, straightening these kinks out will give you more time to focus on your personal life. The same is true if the tables are turned (maybe you need to hire a babysitter for your kids).

If you already have a team, figure out what needs to be done to get your business (and your life) running more efficiently. Maybe you need to start delegating more, or maybe your team needs more direction. Ask for their input and work together to create a seamless system.

Create a Plan of Action

Now that you have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish in your business and personal life, you need to create a plan to succeed.

First, only focus on one or two goals to start. The overall goal is to make balancing your business and personal life easier, right? Trying to make everything happen all at once is a good way to throw off that balance.

You should have prioritized your goals before, but make sure the order in which you complete them gets you closer to finding balance. You shouldn’t focus on 5 business goals in a row unless completing them all gives you much more time to focus on your personal goals. Try and alternate them.

Next, think about the steps you need to take to reach your goals. Breaking big goals into smaller ones will make this process less overwhelming. Don’t make major changes overnight. Create a timeline for your goals, and plot the small steps you need to take to reach them. Remember to make your goals measurable so you can track your progress.

Consider keeping a journal of sorts to track how things are working out. Sometimes we’re so busy making changes, we forget to take stock of how our situation is changing. Note when you experience differences in how your work and personal life feel.

Lastly, things change. Perhaps a goal that was once important to you has fallen to the bottom of the list now. It might not make sense to continue working on it. Set up one day out of the month to have a meeting with yourself and look over your original plan. Re-work it if necessary.

Balance is Key

Balance doesn’t have to be something elusive we’re all chasing after. By setting up the right systems and prioritizing your goals, you can enjoy the work you do and improve your personal situation. It doesn’t have to be either/or. You shouldn’t be living for your business, nor should your business be controlling you.

Working smarter leads to having more time and money so you can focus on your personal goals. Always consider your values and happiness. Part of being a business owner means making sacrifices, but not an endless amount, and that’s where balance comes in.

Mary Beth Storjohann, CFP® is an author, speaker, and financial coach who takes a fun, no-nonsense approach in working with individuals and couples across the country, helping them make smart choices with their money.

Follow me