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Cell Phones, Email and Work-life Balance: A Strategy for Small Business Owners
Sometimes it feels like the work of a small business owner never ends. There is always one more sales call you can make or one more thing you could do to make a client really happy. If this wasn't enough, now we have cell phones, blackberries, and instant messaging; so we really can be on call 24/7.

But let's face it, even small business owners get tired. And eventually, if you want a life outside of your business, you need a strategy to mange the calls and emails that can easily crowd out your personal time. Below, I've included a few suggestions to help you create a plan so you can successfully obtain a sense of balance, while still taking advantage of communication technology.

Recommendations to create work-life balance when using cell phones and other communication technologies:

1) Decide in advance when you are willing to allow work into your personal life. For example, you may turn off your cell phone at dinner time, and then leave it on for the rest of the night.

2) Decide in advance who you are willing to allow into your personal time. For example, you may be willing to reply to an email from your most important client on the weekend, but not a supplier.

3) Decide in advance the nature of the work you are willing to do during your personal time. For example, you may only do emergency work for your clients at night. All of your other work you complete during work hours.

4) Decide how you will effectively communicate your work availability to relevant stakeholders. For example, you may tell your clients that you are only available for emergencies outside of work hours.

Having a proactive plan to deal with communication technologies will help you create a healthy work-life balance. A proactive plan requires that you know when, for whom, and the kind of work for which you are willing to disrupt your personal time. And remember, a plan only works if you follow it through!

This article was adapted from the book Making Working From Home Work, by Jane Orend. More information on the book is available at Copyright 2006-2007, Jane Orend. All rights reserved


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