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As a business owner – and especially as an auto shop owner – you probably spend a significant portion of your week at your business. You’re the first one there, the last to leave, and the one who comes in on the weekends to get things done. You’re answering emails early in the morning and studying spreadsheets late at night. Even on vacation, you’re reading business books and brushing up on the latest repair technology trends. It can be extremely difficult for auto shop owners to maintain a work-life balance, but it’s essential for the success of your shop. Here are our tips for establishing the work-life balance you need to reach your business goals.



1. Understand It Will Be Hard



First things first – there is nothing about running a business that’s easy. Especially if your shop is new or your budget is small, you’ll likely find yourself taking on more and more responsibilities to keep things moving in the right direction. It can feel overwhelming and like there’s no possible way you can shed any of these responsibilities. The first step to finding a work-life balance that works for you is accepting that you’re going to work a lot. Don’t try to fight it, but instead come up with strategies to help you make the most of your off-time.



2. Balance Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Equal Time



Some people hear the term “work-life balance” and immediately assume that means splitting your time equally between work and play. In many cases that’s simply not possible for busy auto shop owners. The key is to be intentional with your time. When you’re at work, be fully present with the needs of your business. Create to-do lists and deadlines and stick to them. Prioritize ruthlessly. Minimize distractions. When you’re away from your shop (or otherwise not working), the same rules apply. You family deserves the same undivided attention you give your work, and so do your hobbies. Even if you only get to spend an hour with your kids before bed, do everything you can to make that hour one you’ll both treasure.



3. Take Time Away – 100% Away



There are plenty of auto shop owners who are always connected – even on vacation. While it may be impossible to shut off your phone or completely ignore your email for the entirety of your trip, you owe it to yourself and your business to take some time to recharge. If you think you’re too busy for even a long weekend away, it’s time to revisit more than your work-life balance. Rather than assuming that you’re indispensable, consider what essential tasks you can train your employees to do, if only for a few days. You will be a better leader and decision-maker if you take the time to disconnect and regroup. You’ll return refreshed, reenergized, and ready to work even harder to meet your goals.



4. Know You’re Not Alone



When you’re drowning in to-dos and work-life balance is the furthest thing from your mind, it’s important to remember that plenty of business owners who have gone before you have struggled with the exact same things. Find a mentor or other business associate you respect with whom you can share your concerns and from whom you can learn strategies for coping. You might also find it useful to join a networking or other business group. You’ll quickly learn how other shop owners are managing their own work-life balances and learn a few tricks of your own.



5. Practice What You Preach



However you choose to manage your work-life balance, remember that your employees are watching and taking notes. The example you set with your vacation time, when you leave the shop at night, and how you respond to after-hours messages will be modeled by those who report to you. If you want your employees to feel truly comfortable rearranging their schedules to take their children to school or attending their sports games, you have to set the standard. If you want your employees to enjoy their evenings without interruption, don’t respond to messages sent your way. Your employees are looking to you for guidance and permission for what right looks like. Don’t let them down.



Find Partners You Can Trust



As you take steps to improve your work-life balance, you will likely need to find ways to streamline the many tasks for which you are responsible. It’s important to work with vendors who see themselves as true partners in your business and who will watch out for it like it’s their own. That’s where 360 Payments comes in. We pride ourselves on worrying about your credit card processing so you don’t have to. Whether you’re on the shop floor, at your child’s choir concert, or sitting on the beach, you can be confident that your payments are processing without a hitch. If this sounds like a dream come true, call us at 1-855-360-0360 or drop us a line on our website. We’re ready to make it a reality.



PS – Make sure you read our series on secrets the best auto shop owners know – here’s Part 1 and here’s Part 2.



PPS – Want to take your auto shop customer experience to the next level? Check out our tips.