Creating a good work-life balance is hard for any working person, and even harder for an entrepreneur. There are so many things in life pulling our attention in different directions. Between business, family, social events, pets, and life’s other commitments, it can feel like there’s not enough time to accomplish it all. Much less time for yourself! However, taking care of yourself is 100% essential, not just for you, but for the success of your business. These 7 tips will help you hone in on where you could be saving time, and thus using that time to create a better work-life balance.
Define your priorities for work-life balance.
The first step in creating a healthy work-life balance is prioritizing. Make a segmented list of your priorities ranking them into three tiers. Tier one are things that require your immediate attention: meetings with clients, book-keeping and accounting, spending time with family. Your second tier priorities are items that you must do, but not immediately: finishing an action plan for a client, looking for a new retail space, etc. Tier three priorities are generally things you want to do, but can wait: taking your clothes to the dry cleaner’s, reading that new book, or a much needed night out.
Breaking your to-do list into priorities will help you discern between what has to be done right away and what can wait. If a task can wait, don’t stress about it. Don’t neglect it, but if you have to choose between taking the clothes to the cleaners and spending time with your family, take the time to hang with family.
Make a schedule and include self-care.
Time is our most valuable asset. It’s also the easiest to waste. Take a few hours every Sunday to make a weekly schedule. The more detailed, the better. You’ll cut down on time spent deciding where to start each day because you already planned it. Include time for self-care, family, and a hard end time for your day. We neglect self-care because we “don’t have the time.” However, scheduling it within your week will ensure you make the time.
The other benefit of making a schedule is giving yourself a specific time to stop working each night. Many entrepreneurs work long days and into the night still responding to emails. Schedule your day’s end at a specific time and do nothing work related after that. Use that time to be with family, relax, take a warm bath, or even just sleep. When you return to work in the morning, your brain will thank you by being refreshed and ready to work.
Make exercising and maintaining your health a priority. Even if it’s just a 20 minute walk around your neighborhood. Exercise is proven to give you more energy, relieve stress and even increase your sex drive. It’s also a great way to tune out the world and meditate. If you’re competitive like me, you’ll enjoy challenging yourself to do five extra reps, or to hold your plank for an extra ten seconds. Physical endurance helps build mental endurance which is essential to your journey as an entrepreneur. Don’t believe me? Get in the gym and find out for yourself.
Remember that every yes is a no to something else.
Someone always needs us to do something. Your mom may needs her prescription picked up from the pharmacy. The PTA is requesting volunteers for the school’s annual carnival. A co-worker at your part time gig asks you to cover their shift, and you need the money. Your friends have been trying to drag you out to that new little dive bar for the past month. There’s no problem helping people out or even going out and having some fun. However, a good rule to remember is every time you say yes to something, you are saying no to something else.
Yes to a girl’s night may mean no to those extra hours of sleep. Yes to volunteering with the PTA could mean no to the date night you and your spouse so desperately need. Choose wisely, but before you agree to an activity, think what will this cause me to say no to? When all else fails, refer back to your list of priorities. Where does this activity fall on the list?
Like what you do and find ways to keep it enjoyable.
They say if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. This isn’t 100% true, but there is some truth to it. If you’re an entrepreneur, hopefully you’ve chosen to build a business based on your passions. Even still, there will be days that you feel like quitting. Burn out is common among entrepreneurs. Enjoying what you do will not only make it easier to work, but will also make your free time that much more enjoyable.
Ever try to have a relaxing weekend with a huge project hanging over your head, or when you knew that come Monday you’d be returning to a job you hate? Unfulfilling work makes it that much harder to enjoy your life outside of work, and it also affects your families’ happiness. Find ways to keep you enthusiastic about your business. Explore new methods, solicit new clients, or collaborate with another entity. We all have to work, but the benefit of entrepreneurship is you control how you work.
Implement a no phone/technology zone.
I know it sounds cliché, but it’s absolutely essential in creating work-life balance. And it doesn’t have to be after your designated quitting time every night. Schedule period throughout the day in which you just disconnect from everything for 10-30 minutes at a time. This goes for both business and personal lines and accounts.
Keep Family first. Keep People first.
To say you went in business for yourself to make money is not a bad thing. But don’t get so caught up trying to make the coins that you neglect those whom you most likely want to share the money you’re making. Your children need you. Your spouse needs you. The good thing about running your own business is there will never be a shortage of work. Don’t be afraid to put some tasks on the back burner to attend your daughter’s soccer game, your cousin’s bar mitzvah, or your college roommate’s engagement party. We really only live once. And though having a successful business is a nice accolade, successful relationships bring a much more heartfelt since of accomplishment.
These tips are helpful for entrepreneurs at any level. Managing a business is much harder than most people think, and to be honest many fresh entrepreneurs are still working while running their own business. With that being said, achieving work-life balance is a key component to maintaining mental health, healthy relationships, and enjoying the journey. Work-life balance cuts down on burn out, keeps you enthusiastic and makes you better for customers, family and most importantly for you! Stay the course and remember what’s important.