We live in a data-driven world. And because data is so readily available, businesses have the ability to tap into key metrics to measure against set goals. Whether those goals are to reduce staff turnover or client churn, increase profits, or extend the average client life cycle…having a KPI (key performance indicator) strategy in place is essential for long-term success.

While data tracking and monitoring key metrics is critically important to business success, the abundance of data available can cause information overload. To help you navigate the world of KPIs and build a “starter plan” of sorts, this article offers three tips to creating a sound KPI strategy.

#1 – Choose the right KPIs

Not all KPIs are created equal. The first step is to understand the difference between lagging and leading indicators and why both need to be monitored.

Lagging indicators show results over a period of time (e.g., total sales in the closing quarter). These are easy to measure and provide quick answers on whether set goals have been met. For example, if you set an ambitious goal such as doubling sales by the end of Q4 (compared to Q2 sales), the ultimate lagging indicator is annual revenue or profits.

Leading indicators capture data that has an effect on an outcome. This makes leading indicators useful for predicting outcomes. For example, if an online retail store shows a sharp drop in the purchase of a popular item, the company could predict a drop in overall quarterly sales. Monitoring leading indicators helps you get ahead of predictable trends and make adjustments to influence positive outcomes.

#2 – Foster a KPI-driven culture

The goal here is to get your entire organization talking about data! When everyone speaks the data language, it better supports a company-wide KPI strategy.

To build a KPI-driven culture, be sure to offer regular staff training on the value of KPIs and the metrics each department is responsible for tracking. Also, be sure to assign the proper leads to champion KPI progress and ensure staff are kept updated as your strategy evolves. Finally, make sure you have the right technologies in place to collect and analyze data, and make KPI dashboards available to required staff.

#3 – Implement a process for KPI refinement

It’s important to understand that KPIs are subject to change. You can bet that over time customer behaviors will change and business goals will evolve in response to market trends. This calls for businesses to refine their KPI strategy on a regular basis.

Over time, you may discover that a KPI is not helping you progress toward a specific goal or that it’s driving the wrong actions. For these reasons, commit to consistent KPI evaluation and enhancement as you move forward. The formal process of refinement requires you to monitor what is working and what is not.

Need help with KPIs? Contact us today! Simply click here to CONTACT US and complete the brief form or give us a call. We are here to help.

Whether you own a business or work in one, accurate tracking of your business expenses is a necessity. If you’re a small business owner, tracking is essential for understanding your financial position, budgeting, forecasting and fulfilling your tax obligations. If you’re an employee, it’s vital to keep your expense tracking accurate and up to date for reimbursement and tax deductions.

Here are some practical tips to help you effectively track your business and job-related expenses.

For everyone

  1. Keep all your receipts. Your receipts are essential for reimbursement and—in the case of a business owner—tax purposes. So, whether it’s lunch with a client, office supplies or a plane ticket to a business conference, keep all your receipts. If you don’t have an expense-tracking app and hate keeping track of paper copies, you can store digital copies on your smartphone by taking photos or using a scanner app.
  2. Categorize your expenses. Group your expenses into categories (e.g., rent, utilities, office supplies, travel, meals). This will make it easier when it’s time to turn in your expenses for reimbursement or to complete tax returns.
  3. Set up a regular review routine. To help you catch any errors before they cause an issue, make it a habit to review your expenses on a regular basis (i.e., weekly or monthly).
  4. Understand tax-deductible expenses. Knowing what can and can’t be deducted is key to maximizing tax benefits. Especially if you’re a business owner, it’s a good idea to consult a tax professional to be sure you’re taking advantage of all available deductions.
  5. Separate business and personal expenses. If possible, use a separate credit card or bank account for your business-related expenses to minimize confusion at tax time. If you can’t use a separate account, make sure to clearly mark and categorize work expenses in your records.

For small business owners

  1. Use accounting software. QuickBooks®, Xero and FreshBooks are just a few of the accounting tools designed to make tracking expenses easier. They can connect to your bank account, categorize expenses and provide insights into your spending.
  2. Use mobile expense tracking. Mobile expense tracking apps that allow you to input expenses and capture receipt images quickly and easily are a great way to record and organize expenses—especially if you’re constantly on the go.
  3. Implement an expense policy. If you have employees, create a clear policy that outlines how expenses should be recorded and which expenses are acceptable.
  4. Consider hiring a professional. Has your business grown to the point where tracking expenses has become too complex? You may want to think about hiring an accountant or a bookkeeper.
  5. Stay alert. Keep an eye out for anomalies and inconsistencies. Unusual expenses could be a sign of errors or fraudulent activities.

For employees

  1. Understand your company’s policy. Take time to familiarize yourself with your company’s expense policy, so you know what can be reimbursed as well as the process for submitting expenses.
  2. Record expenses as they happen. It’s easy to forget about an expense if you don’t record it immediately. Make a habit of logging your expenses as soon as they occur.
  3. Provide detailed descriptions. For every expense, include detailed notes explaining the business purposes. Some people prefer to jot the information directly on the receipt if there’s room. This information can be essential for both reimbursement and tax purposes.
  4. Keep receipts for the appropriate length of time. Depending on your location and situation, you may need to retain your expense records for a specific period of time. Check with your tax preparer to see what you should keep…and for how long.
  5. Consider tools for travel. If you frequently travel for work, look for apps and tools designed specifically to manage travel expenses like mileage, accommodations or per diems.

By keeping detailed, organized records on the go, you’ll be ready when it’s time to submit your expenses for reimbursement or file your tax return. And you’ll be able to relax, knowing that you’ve put in the work upfront to make the process of tracking business or job-related expenses more efficient and stress-free.

Whether you’ve been a small business owner for a decade or you’re considering starting a business, you can never have enough information to help you through the ups and downs of being your own boss. That’s why we’ve created a list of 15 popular business-related books—some general, some money-related and some geared especially toward female entrepreneurs—that are worth adding to your small business bookshelf.

Remember, while reading books alone won’t guarantee your success, the right books can provide valuable insights, inspiration and strategies that you can apply to your small business—and perhaps even to your life outside the business. Here’s to happy and productive reading!

Let’s get the “firehose of cold water in the face” statistic out of the way first: According to the research team at the Education Data Initiative, the average cost of college—including books, supplies and daily living expenses—at a four-year institution for first-time, full-time undergraduates is now $36,436 per year.

It doesn’t matter how young (or non-existent) your children are right now. If you’re a parent—or plan to be a parent—it’s nearly inevitable that you’ll be faced with figuring out how to pay for college one day. That’s why financial professionals advise starting to save for college as early as possible. Here are two primary reasons why:

  • Education costs are rising. As shocking as that $36K figure is, it will probably only go up from here, given that tuition and related costs have consistently risen over the past decades. The Education Data Initiative report says the average cost of college has more than doubled in the 21st century, with an annual growth rate of 2% over the past 10 years. By starting a college savings fund early, you can help mitigate the impact of those increasing costs.
  • Student debt is also rising. The average college graduate is saddled with significant student loan debt—the average federal student loan debt is $37,787—and spends roughly 20 years paying off their loans. That means it’s entirely statistically possible you may still be paying down your own student loans. Saving for college can help reduce or even eliminate the need for loans, freeing your children from years of student loan debt.

Plus, establishing a college savings fund can be a good way to teach children about saving, investing and the value of long-term planning. It also puts a spotlight on the importance and expectations of higher education, whether at a four-year university, your local community college or trade school.

Is it too late to start saving? And where do you start?

Given the power of interest and compounding, the earlier in your child’s life that you can start saving, the better. But even if your child is in high school, it’s not too late; anything you can save will reduce the amount you need to borrow.

Here are six common options for college savings plans:

  1. 529 plan—A 529 plan is an education savings plan operated by a state or educational institution and designed to help families set aside funds for future college costs. Earnings in 529 plans aren’t subject to federal tax and, under certain circumstances, state tax.
  2. Coverdell education savings account (ESA)—A Coverdell ESA is a trust or custodial account set up solely for paying qualified education expenses for the designated beneficiary. There’s a limit on how much can be contributed each year.
  3. UGMA/UTMA accounts—The Uniform Gift to Minors Act (UGMA) and the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) are custodial accounts that allow parents to save and invest on behalf of a minor. These accounts are not strictly limited to educational expenses. However, unlike 529 plans and Coverdell ESAs, earnings and withdrawals from UGMA/UTMA aren’t tax-free.
  4. Savings bonds—The Education Bond Program allows qualified taxpayers to exclude from their gross income all or part of the interest paid upon redemption of eligible Series EE and I bonds after 1989, when the funds are used to pay qualified higher education expenses.
  5. IRA accounts—IRA accounts aren’t just for retirement; if you’ve been making contributions for at least five years, you can also use either a traditional or Roth IRA for qualified college payments, but there are differences in how the taxes are treated. Because there are a number of rules governing the use of an IRA for education expenses, you’ll want to work with your financial advisor to understand the advantages and disadvantages.
  6. Regular savings account—If you’re not sure your child will go to college, you might want to choose a regular savings account. While these don’t have the same tax advantages as a 529 plan or Coverdell ESA, they also don’t have restrictions on how the money can be used.

The best savings option depends on your family’s individual circumstances, goals and financial situation. Before making decisions, it’s always a good idea to consult with your financial advisor for more information.

Remember, it’s never too early—and not too late—to start saving for college. Even small, regular contributions can add up over time…and can help to reduce the stress and worry of paying for college, for both you and your children.

Small business owners: Whether you’re an old hand at blogging or you want to start a new blog for your business, you probably know that Rule No. 1 is to post informative, fresh and relevant content on a regular basis. That’s what keeps your customers and prospects coming back.

But sometimes, you simply can’t come up with a topic. Maybe you’re just starting up your blog and aren’t sure where to begin. Or perhaps you’ve been blogging for a while and feel like you’ve run out of ideas. Whatever your situation, here are 25 topics to help spark new post ideas.

25 blog topics

  1. Write a success story/case study for one of your customers that relates how your product or service helped them.
  2. Introduce your team to your customers and prospects by creating employee profiles and welcoming new employees.
  3. Create an FAQ of the questions you and your employees are most frequently asked about your business.
  4. Provide a recap of an industry-related event you attended; talk about what you learned, what kind of new products or improvements your customers can look forward to, etc. Post photos of the event and any local sights you visit.
  5. Write a best-of article. Example: Let’s say you sell bicycles. Create articles about the best trails for recreational bikers or the top five comfort bikes for seniors.
  6. Write a “how to choose” article. Example: If you own a consignment clothing store, write a post on “Look for these 10 flaws when shopping used.” If you sell appliances, the post could be, “6 things to look for in your next refrigerator.”
  7. Do a pros and cons article. Example: You own a children’s store. Write about the pros and cons of cloth diapers or making your own baby food.
  8. Create a benefits article. Example: You own a landscaping service. Write about the benefits of hiring a regular lawn service.
  9. Write an article on how to know if a business in your industry is qualified to perform the job. Example: “10 questions to ask before you hire a home contractor.”
  10. Talk about the misconceptions and myths around your industry. Example: Explore the myths around hiring an interior designer (e.g., myths about them being too expensive for the average person).
  11. Discuss news and trends in your industry. Example: “This year’s trends in kitchen design.”
  12. Write a “day in the life” post about what goes on behind the scenes during a typical day in your business. Include photos for additional interest.
  13. Guide readers through a typical job. Example: You’re a kitchen remodeler. Take them from quote to finished product, addressing timelines, how you order cabinets, installation and any other questions you’re often asked.
  14. Record a how-to video. Example: You’re a carpenter. Show readers how to build a simple item, like a footstool or a toy box.
  15. Draw up a list of industry experts to follow on social media.
  16. Come up with a contest or giveaway and introduce it in a blog article.
  17. Spotlight your favorite local charity. If your team participates in community service days there, add photos of your team helping out.
  18. Compile a list of helpful resources (e.g., websites, books, associations) that might interest your customers.
  19. Announce any honors or plaudits your business receives, such as being named a top industry business in your region or receiving a community service award.
  20. Promote upcoming special events. Example: A customer appreciation day; participation in a “ladies’ night out” event with exclusive sales; a charity food drive.
  21. Interview a leader/expert in your industry. You can even ask your blog readers to submit questions in advance.
  22. Write a series of posts. Example: How your customers (and you and your team) use your business’s product or service.
  23. Review products or services you or your team have used that your audience might be interested in.
  24. Profile your longest-standing customer. Include photos, if the customer is willing.
  25. Come right out and ask your customers in a post what new products or services they’d like to see and what else you can do to improve your business.

There are also online blog topic idea generators (although some may require monthly fees) that can all help spark ideas when the topic well runs dry. These include JasperSumoSEOPressor and HubSpot’s Blog Ideas Generator.

According to the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), an association of business mentors, customers who read your blog are 97% more likely to click on your website. So, use these ideas to keep those customers and prospects reading and clicking, and keep on blogging!

Ah, the age-old question (well, since 1994): Do I really need a new smartphone?

We’ve all been there, getting pummeled with ads for the latest iPhone or Samsung Galaxy phones, which seem to appear at least every quarter. And each company promises the best-of-the-best devices with each version they roll out.

Our current phones still boast an uncracked screen when the latest and greatest jumps on the scene, making us look at the device in our hands with disdain. “If only my phone could do what this new one can.”

It makes it easy for us to settle into buyer’s remorse (yes, even just a few months later) when the newest phone is released, and it’s a fraction better than what we currently have. So, how do you know when it’s really time to upgrade? Here are six things to consider before you fall victim to the shiny object syndrome.

1. Slow as a snail

Does your phone load apps slower than molasses? Do games lag, or does your camera start recording seconds after you’ve commanded it to start? If so, it may be time to retire your current device. Only consider that after you turn it off and back on, however. Sometimes a quick restart is all it needs.

2. Battling battery

Do you find yourself in a panic if you’ve forgotten your charging cable or your portable charger, even when you’re only running a quick errand? Does the battery life drain faster than you can say, “I need to put my phone on the charger”? If you find yourself constantly tethered to a charger or your phone is always in “power save” mode just to make it through a few hours of the day, it’s probably time to look for a new device with better battery life.

3. Pixelated pictures

If your once picture-perfect photos are now grainy or pixelated, your smartphone’s camera may be on its last legs. Are videos jumpy, or is there a weird glare in every photo? There’s probably next to no chance that your friends and family will consider those pictures “artistic,” so you may want to consider an upgrade, especially if you want to continue to slay on social media.

4. Sluggish software

Does this scenario sound familiar? You tap on your favorite app, and instead of opening it, you get that dreaded popup about needing the latest operating system to use it. If you’re missing out on enjoying your current apps or downloading fun, new ones because of compatibility issues, it’s probably time to upgrade. Newer phones tend to run the latest and greatest software, chock-full of security features to keep you and your data safe.

5. Unfortunate encounters

Our phones go into battle every day, facing countless falls from our hands, cracked screens, spilled drinks or—for some poor unfortunate souls—plunges into bodies of water. Sometimes, that bowl of rice just won’t bring your phone back to life. You may be able to resuscitate it, but it will never be the same. If your phone falls into this category (see what we did there?), it may be time to visit your favorite smartphone distributor.

6. Peer pressure

We see you, Android users. All your friends are using iPhones, and you’re the only one in the group chat who’s green. It’s blatantly obvious. Android users and iPhone users both believe their devices are superior, and each has merit. But don’t let the other side pressure you into joining them if you’re happy with what you have. That’s just not a good enough reason to buy a new phone. Stay strong, whichever side you’re on.

Don’t give in to FOMO

Don’t let FOMO (fear of missing out) get the better of you when you see that new ad or commercial for the iPhone 14+ or Google Pixel 7. Chances are your phone is just fine, and you’re feeling a little left out because the cameras on the newer phones boast a few more megapixels than your own.

If you do decide you’re ready for a new phone, though, be sure to do your research.

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra (kidding)


It’s not an exaggeration to say that as a small business owner, you’re one of the busiest people on earth. After all, it’s up to you to do everything—and that includes educating yourself on new ways of doing things, keeping up on trends and industry changes, and…well, a whole lot more. But how can you stay up to date when there’s so much else to do?

With podcasts! You can listen to them in the car, when you’re exercising or even when you’re cleaning bathrooms. As a start, here are 14 excellent podcasts that can serve as teachers, mentors and leaders for the overworked small business owner—aka you.

General business

How I Built This—This NPR podcast, hosted by Guy Raz, appears consistently on lists of the top business podcasts. Guy interviews innovators and entrepreneurs from today’s biggest companies (Whole Foods and Airbnb, to name two) about their journeys to success. While not technically about small business, you’ll find a wealth of inspiration in each episode as you hear about the triumphs and struggles of these entrepreneurs.

The GaryVee Audio Experience—Well-known author, speaker, entrepreneur and CEO Gary Vaynerchuk offers listeners tips and insights on a range of business, marketing and technology topics. Through a combination of interviews, keynote speeches, chats and other content, he offers blunt and honest advice, information and inspiration.

The Tim Ferriss Show—Tim Ferriss interviews fascinating guests from many walks of life—Malcolm Gladwell, Mark Zuckerberg, Peter Thiel, LeBron James, Margaret Atwood, Brené Brown, Hugh Jackman and more to pass on the secrets of their success. This podcast regularly ranks near the top of the Apple Podcasts business category despite the wide-ranging array of guests; that’s how interesting and inspiring it is.

The Goal Digger Podcast—Minnesota business owner Jenna Kutcher offers productivity tips, social media strategies and inspirational interviews to help you “dig in, do the work and tackle your biggest goals along the way.” While she’s at it, she also covers topics like branding and marketing, being a working mother, dealing with difficult customers and much more as you build your business.


Small Business Tax Savings Podcast—Explicitly geared for small business owners, this podcast, hosted by Mike Jesowshek, CPA, focuses on tax savings and building a sound financial foundation for your small business. As you’d expect from a CPA, you’ll get a lot of important information—without the fluff—designed specifically to help you minimize your taxes and maximize your profits.


Duct Tape Marketing—John Jantsch is the founder of Duct Tape Marketing, a digital marketing agency and consulting firm. In this podcast, he helps small business owners with small budgets gear up their marketing efforts. Branding, content, website design, SEO, strategy, new trends, how to stand out from the competition…he covers it all with his knowledge and informative interviews.

Marketing Over Coffee—Seth Godin. Simon Sinek. Ann Handley. If marketing and motivational superstars like these make you swoon, this is your podcast. Each week, John J. Wall and Christopher S. Penn bring you a 20-minute episode with tips, tactics, inspiration and interviews on topics that include email marketing, SEO and even the occasional foray into non-digital marketing.

Social Media Marketing—Whether you like social media or hate it, there’s no way around the fact that it’s nearly impossible today to market a small business without it. From content to platforms, Michael Stelzner explores social media strategies and tools and interviews social media experts on how business owners can find success with their social media marketing.

Marketing School—In this podcast, marketing guru Neil Patel and business advisor Eric Siu share lessons in digital marketing to help those who want to grow their businesses. These five-minute informational bites are released daily, covering topics like online marketing, social media, content creation, email marketing, conversion optimization, trends, insights and more.

Especially for female business owners

BizChix—Business strategist and coach Natalie Eckdahl brings you inspiring stories of female entrepreneurs and business owners who worked their way to success. Natalie’s diverse range of interviews cover everything from experiences, obstacles, insights, strategies and achievements as she helps women channel their natural strengths to get their businesses into top shape.

Go-to Gal—Jacelyn Mellone, a business strategist and marketing expert, focuses on helping female entrepreneurs find their footing in the business world. In each episode, she interviews successful female entrepreneurs who share their experiences in growing their businesses. Jacelyn also shares insights on the productivity, mindset and personal growth needed to succeed as an entrepreneur.

This list is just a starting point; there are dozens (if not hundreds) of other great podcasts out there. We hope they’ll help you overcome any challenges, stay inspired, and build your business to reflect your vision and dreams. Happy listening!

Diversity—of customers, employees and vendors—isn’t just a consideration for large corporations. It’s an essential part of the future of small businesses, too.

By 2050, it’s projected that the Black population of the United States will grow by approximately 30%, the Hispanic population by 60% and the Asian American population by more than 50%, while the aged population will grow by another 6%. That’s a lot of change on the horizon, which is why the number of resources available for helping small business owners embrace diversity, equity and inclusion (known as DEI) initiatives in their businesses is growing.

The makeup—and advantages—of a diverse workplace

Are there advantages for businesses that embrace diversity? First, let’s consider what makes for a diverse workplace: a range of races, ages, sexual orientations, gender identities, backgrounds, physical and mental skills and abilities (including disabilities), personality types, spoken languages, nationalities, education, and income.

And when you consider that diversity applies to not only the business’s employees or vendors, but your customer base, too, the benefits become clear:

  • You’ll gain more thorough knowledge and insight into the cultures of your local market.
  • You can better target your marketing and incorporate cultural sensitivity.
  • A more diverse set of perspectives and a wider range of knowledge can lead to more out-of-the-box thinking and innovation.
  • A culturally diverse workforce can give you an edge in a competitive job market—especially with Gen Y and Gen Z workers, who highly regard employers committed to DEI.
  • You’ll earn a reputation as a socially responsible and inclusive business.

Resources to help you build a diverse workplace

All right, so you’re ready to improve your hiring process to be more inclusive. But you’re not a large enough business to have a human resources team…yet, anyway. But how do you begin? Where do you find the information you need to be sure you’re doing it right? A good place to start is with this list of resources for an employer who would like to make their business more inclusive.




Women in the workplace 

Abilities and accessibility (physical and mental) 


When DEI is a top priority in the workplace, it not only gives all employees the same fair chance at success, but it elevates the business as an employer of choice. According to ZipRecruiter, 48% of job seekers are more likely to apply for jobs when employers state their commitment to DEI, which mirrors the growth in trends showing that consumers prefer brands that closely align with their values.

That’s almost half of the respondents…and it’s a mighty testament to the power of diversity, equity and inclusion. And when you take that first step toward becoming an inclusive workplace, you’ll not only change your business—you’ll change your horizons and your outlook…and you might even help change the world.

We’ll just say this up front: If you’re in business today, you need to be on social media.

However…that doesn’t mean you need to be on every platform. That’s the social equivalent of throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks, and it can make for not only a messy wall, but an overwhelmed business owner as you try to keep up. To help you decide which social media platforms make the most sense for your business, let’s take a look at some platforms to consider.

The platforms

Unless you have someone who can operate as a dedicated social media specialist, we suggest keeping your focus manageable by using one to three social platforms. The idea is quality, not quantity.

So, which channels? That depends on your customers. Often, you can make a reasonable guess as to where they are on social media based on their age group and what you know about their interests (you could also send out a survey to ask about their social media habits).

Here’s an overview of the most popular platforms as a starting point:

(1) 31 powerful Pinterest statistics (2023),

As you can see, if your customers tend to be older, the odds are good that you’ll find them on Facebook rather than TikTok. And as an example, if you own a home décor business, your audience’s favorite online activity might be collecting aspirational home design ideas on Instagram or Pinterest.

If you’d like to take a deeper dive into how you can use the most popular platforms for your business, both Zoho Social and Sprout Social offer detailed explorations.

Narrowing it down

All right, so now you have a better idea of the available platforms. Now, how do you decide where to focus your energy? This is where you’ll need to ask yourself some questions—and give yourself some honest answers—about your business:

  1. Who is our ideal customer or client? This is the single most important factor in determining your use of social media, so if you don’t know the answer to this question, it’s time to figure out who you’re selling to.
  2. Are we business-to-consumer (B2C) or business-to-business (B2B) based? Marketing a product or service to consumers is entirely different than marketing to another business. Learn more about the difference between B2C and B2B.
  3. What are our goals for social media? Do you want to build an email list, increase recognition of your brand, reach a larger audience or introduce a new product/service? It’s time to define what success looks like to you.
  4. What kind of content should we post? Your content can be as simple as a typed update or as elaborate as a video demonstration of your new product. The key is understanding which content performs well on each platform and scaling the content to your abilities. Check out these ideas for social media content.
  5. Where are our competitors? Do a competitive analysis on your competitors’ use of social media. See what they do well, analyze what they don’t do so well and learn from your observations.

Summing it all up

When 72% of the public uses some type of social media, it’s time to connect with your current and prospective customers where they are. And the most important thing we can tell you is that if you’re not out there, it’s well past time to grab the opportunities that social media offers the small business owner. From brand awareness to more responsive customer service, social media can be the next best thing to a face-to-face conversation with your customers (and you won’t have to keep cleaning those walls!).

With the move to remote and hybrid work, our business devices are frequently at our fingertips 24/7. That means it’s all too easy to finish one more task…make one more phone call…send one more email…only to find we’ve added even more hours to our workday.

If you’re wondering where your work-life balance went, here are a baker’s dozen of actions you might want to consider taking to improve it. While they’re not detailed tips, they link to more detailed information and are a good launching pad for living the life you want.

  1. Set your priorities. Make a list of the things that are important to you: family time, hobbies, meditation, exercise, mental health, your career. Then rearrange them in order of priority. And never apologize for what’s important to you.
  2. Say goodbye to fear. Has this thought ever crossed your mind? “If I’m not here working, they’ll replace me.” Don’t let fear take away your right to live your personal life. Fight your irrational fears and reclaim your life.
  3. Be realistic about your to-do list. Do you feel like everything on your list MUST be done before you sign off for the day? It’s not always possible. So take a few minutes each day to prioritize critical tasks…and leave the rest for tomorrow.
  4. Just say no. Is it hard for you to say no to “Just one more thing…”? Time to set your boundaries. Your world won’t crumble, and neither will the asker’s. But you’ll be more focused and less stressed…and present for what matters most.
  5. Unplug during personal time. When the workday is done, or it’s vacation time, disconnect from the work world. Don’t answer calls. Stop checking emails and texts. Just enjoy time with your favorite people, doing your favorite things.
  6. Take your breaks. No one can—or should—run at full speed all day. Everyone needs breaks. Even a few-minutes break can reset us and keep us going. So take your lunch hours and get up now and then throughout the day. You’ll thank yourself.
  7. Ask about flexibility. Are life’s demands overwhelming you? Ask your employer about implementing a more flexible schedule. Don’t wait until you’re so stressed you can’t think straight; give yourself a chance to think through a proposal now.
  8. Don’t neglect your health. Whether you work in the office or at home, it can be tough to stay fit when you sit at a desk all day. But it’s possible to work fitness into your daily routine. And P.S. Don’t forget to schedule your regular checkups.
  9. Schedule the good stuff. Just as you schedule work-related appointments, block off time for anything that helps your physical, emotional and mental wellness—exercise, meditation, lunch with friends or after-work family events.
  10. Take your days off. If you’re sick, call in sick. If you have vacation days available, take them. Not taking time off is a sure recipe for mental and physical burnout, and even short breaks of a day or two can help.
  11. Do nothing. Have a free evening? Try the blissful art of doing nothing. We’re such a go-go-go society that we tend to feel guilty if we’re not taking advantage of every moment. But doing nothing is doing something—just more quietly.
  12. Remember: nobody’s perfekt perfect. Practice compassion for yourself as you learn how to balance your work and personal lives. It won’t happen overnight, and it won’t always go smoothly. But you’ll learn with every twist and turn.
  13. Ask for help. You don’t have to do it all yourself; if you’re struggling with balance in your life, ask for help—from family, from a friend, from your employer or from a professional. Don’t let yourself get to the point of burnout. 

Giving more time to the work side of the work-life balance can take a toll; a long-running UK study of more than 10,000 civil servants showed that people who worked three or more hours longer than a normal workday had a 60% higher risk of heart-related problems than those who worked no overtime.

While you can’t change the equation overnight, hopefully, the actions above will give you a start toward managing your time and energy in a way that will help you find a true balance—one where you’re able to feel engaged and fulfilled whether you’re on the clock or off.