Everyday, millions of Americans try to figure out the best ways to make both their personal and professional lives run a little more smoothly. For some, it’s much more difficult than expected; those who work long hours are forced to let housework go and often can’t spend as much time with their children as they’d like. This imbalance in both aspects of life can lead to stress, anxiety, and even depression and can cause issues at work or in personal relationships.

Fortunately, there are several ways you can easily balance your professional and personal life. The key is to get organized and look for ways to rearrange your schedule that works for you. It’s also a good idea to think of ways you can ask for help–by hiring a professional or opening up to your boss about your workload, for instance–and learn how to manage your time more efficiently.

Here are a few of the best tips on hacking your personal and professional lives to make things run a little more smoothly.

Try something new

If you’re feeling stagnant in your career or are just growing bored with the day-to-day responsibilities, consider trying something new. It could be something as small as rearranging your office for better productivity or something as big as learning a new language to better communicate with your customer base. Think of ways you can make changes to open up your professional world for the better.

Ask for help

Sometimes it’s easy to get overwhelmed with responsibilities, but there’s no shame in asking for help. Hire someone to come in and clean your home or office once a month, consider looking for an assistant who can help you get organized either personally or professionally, and pare down your responsibilities by offloading tasks you don’t necessarily need to be in charge of.

Streamline your process

Finding ways to streamline your methods can help both at work and at home. For instance, at work you may need to fast track an idea that requires a business loan. While most people would shudder or panic at the thought, do your research ahead of time and know exactly where to start. For example, instead of choosing a bank in the dark, consider starting with a list of the best local banks to work with specifically for business. This is a great way to get the process started – and continue moving – more quickly.

Stay healthy

It may not seem like a life hack at all, but in actuality, keeping up with your health can have major effects on your productivity and your ability to handle stress. Eating a balanced diet, getting daily exercise, getting plenty of sleep, and setting up regular checkups with your doctor can go a long way towards helping you feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally, which can have far-reaching consequences in all aspects of your life.

Learn to multitask

In a multitask environment, workflow is being driven by the environment, rather than being internally driven. In a very real sense, the squeaky wheel gets the grease,” says cognitive psychologist Art Markman.

While some will argue that multitasking divides your attention too much, there are ways to effectively work on more than one task. One of the best ways to do this is to keep a list of all the items that need to be taken care of, and organize them by priority. Check them off as you accomplish each one; staying organized will help your brain make better connections.

Manage your screen time

Social media can be a great way to keep up with friends and stay informed, but it can also be a huge time-suck. Be careful about the way you manage your time online, especially if you have a smartphone, as this can drag you down during the day and keep your focus off what really matters. Establish a daily allotted amount of time to spend on social media (that isn’t work- or marketing-related) and set an alarm if you have to so that you know when your time is up. Then make yourself turn off the screen and dig into more pressing matters.

Balancing your home and work life can be even more difficult if you are self-employed or work from your house, but taking steps to create a good plan will help you stay organized and will keep you on track no matter what comes your way. Start by writing out a list of the areas that could use some work, then set realistic goals.

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The last thing a new business owner (who has invested so much time and money in their new venture) needs is to have their business fail. Yet, there are countless statistics showing the rates at which new businesses fail, and new business owners are well aware of the risk when they make the decision to venture out on their own in the first place. If you want to be one of the few who opens and maintains a successful business, you must proactively take steps to keep your dream alive. We want to help you go one step further and get your business booming with the following three tips.

1. Use Social Media to Your Advantage

Social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, are among the most cost-effective ways of exposing your business to prospective customers. Creating pages and profiles for your business on these sites will help you connect with your existing customers and reach more people with promotions of products and services. Many new business owners prefer social media because it includes analytics that provide insight into customers, which helps them determine who their audience is and can assist in marketing to those customers. You’ll also get invaluable feedback from customers on social media.

It’s worth noting, however, that if you don’t meet your customers’ expectations, social media may backfire. Unhappy customers are sharing poor experiences with friends and family online: 52% of consumers who had poor experiences tell their friends, family, and colleagues about it, while 56% of consumers have shared a positive experience with others.

2. Create a Business Website

In order to build upon your social media presence, you need to create a business website. Research shows that customers discover small businesses online nearly as frequently as they do through word of mouth. And, your social media posts will drive more traffic to your website. While you may be hesitant to make a site because of lack of knowledge or experience, you may find that it is not as difficult as you think. You will need a domain name, a business logo, a business tagline, photos of your products, staff bios and pictures to get a basic business website up and running.

If, for whatever reason, you cannot make your website, enlist the services of a website builder. These services often include a custom domain name and assistance in keeping your brand messaging consistent. Regardless of whether you create your site yourself or use a web builder, you will soon find that having an online presence gives potential customers a place to find you and establishes you as a professional business owner with a reputable business.

3. Establish an Offline Presence

Many new businesses need to have a place in the community as well. Establishing and maintaining an offline presence will boost your exposure and show customers that you are happy to talk with them directly to deliver a personalized, superior customer experience. Your happy customers will spread the word about you and share your business cards, flyers, and other promotions. Consider doing an in-store promotion or a loyalty rewards program for customers who enter your store in-person. Then, begin a referral program that rewards existing customers for referring a friend and new customers for following through with the referral.

It’s also beneficial for you to attend community events and begin networking. You may donate to a local fundraiser to get more exposure and establish yourself as a caring member of the community. You may purchase a vendor spot at a local fair. You may decide to become a participating member of the local economic partnership. No matter how you choose to get involved, take an active role in the community to meet new people and get out the word about your new business.

To get your new business booming, use social media to your advantage, create a business website, and establish an offline presence.

Image via Pixabay by LoboStudioHamburg

Oprah Winfrey was fired because she wasn’t a good match for television news. J.K. Rawlings spent so much time daydreaming about boy wizards at work that she was let go. Even Walt Disney was fired for not having enough creativity. And we know how their stories unfolded.

A demotion, layoff, or being passed over for promotion might actually be a great career move, even if it doesn’t feel that way at first. Sure, you’re forced to reassess your career. But the freedom to forge your own path, control your destiny, and shape your successes can have a huge payoff if you use your “failure” as a catalyst to start a new career as an entrepreneur.

An entrepreneurial spirit looks forward.
Once you’ve caught your breath and are ready to face new challenges head-on, it’s time to plan your next move. You’ll need stamina and a strong mindset to work through challenges—some expected, some unanticipated—as you strategize and execute your plan. You’ll also need discipline, an ability to identify a product or service people need, and the marketing skills and networking savvy to find customers and build a pipeline as you establish your business. Finally, because starting a business can create a huge financial strain, you’ll need to think about how you’ll fund a new venture while still managing your current obligations.

Starting an unknown adventure also takes courage. The risks associated with entrepreneurship are many, but so are the perks:

  • You can transform your passion into your career. If you’ve had a side job or hobby that you love, turn it into your business.
  • You control your work-life balance. Initially, launching a new business demands much of your time, but you control how you spend it. Gradually, your business will allow you more flexibility, which is not always an option in the corporate world.
  • You’re eligible for tax breaks. You can utilize tax perks not available to many people in traditional careers. If you don’t already have an accountant, this is a good time to find someone you trust.
  • You are your own boss. You set your own schedule, build your own business plan, hire your own team, and make your own goals.
  • You control your business’s growth. You’re only limited by your dreams. You’ll need business savvy and effective marketing, but if you work with a mentor or already have a business development background, you’re in good shape.

Of course, owning your own business isn’t entirely different. You still have to show up. You still have to be accountable. You still have to do good work. Otherwise, your business may become a statistic. According to Entrepreneur.com, 50% of U.S. companies fail in the first five years. To do that, you need to hone some of the same skills you used as an employee,

  • Brush up on your interview skills. Potential clients will want to verify your skills and experience before they sign on as customers. You can call it a consultation or a meeting, but it’s really a job interview. The good news is, the same interview preparation techniques you used as an employee will work here as well.
  • Focus on customer service. The customer may not always be right, but he or she always deserves to be treated with kindness, respect, and gratitude. Phenomenal customer service even has the potential to improve your bottom line.
  • Treat your employees well. Remember what it was like to be an employee, and strive to create the culture you longed for when you were working for someone else.

Should you find yourself at odds with your current job, look to the positive and make it work to your advantage. Sometimes what feels like a devastating event can hold a silver lining—especially if you’ve got the skills to launch your own business. This might be the best decision you make, even if stepping into the unknown is, at first, terrifying.

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