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The struggle is real, especially for entrepreneurs clocking 14+ hours a day. Your sanity, just as your life deserves to have a healthy balance between work and play. To get you started, there are two things you need to keep in mind if you want to maintain a good balance between your personal and professional lives. One, all work and no play or all play and no work makes you a dull entrepreneur. Second, you cannot dedicate yourself completely to both work and life at the same time – it just doesn’t work like that – each requires your attention. The more time you give to one, the more time the other one loses.
Together, these things make it hard for you to be an effective business owner and a family, friend, or partner, if you don’t find a rhythm or schedule that works for you. Here are some things you can do to achieve a perfect work–life balance.
Deal with the hardest tasks when you are fresh. Simply put, the “best time” is when you are most productive. Doing so means you get to do each task efficiently, which means you have more time for things outside of business. Research has shown that for many people, this time is in the morning. However, some people are more “awake” late in the day or even at night. Find the time that works for you, and maximize it. As you go along, your tasks become easier and you slowly will have more time to ease into fun mode.
Don’t be afraid to say “no”. Starting a business can be very demanding in terms of energy and time, so you have to say “no” when necessary. The fact that you want your business to succeed does not mean that you have to agree to do any and every request that comes your way. By declining to do certain tasks, you are then able to make time for your personal responsibilities. At the same time, you show the people you work with that you have boundaries that they must respect.
Follow your passions and hobbies. Find something that you love, and do that at least once a week. This gives you a lot of benefits. First, you get to relieve stress and “recharge” for another hectic week. Second, you have something to look forward to at least once a week, so you become motivated to get your work done and done right the first time. Not to mention, by having time to unwind, you naturally become a better leader, as you are not always plagued with stress every day.
Get rid of the time and energy drainers. Sometimes, you have a hard time balancing your work and personal lives due to something that dramatically drags down your entire day. You may have that single task that takes up so much of your time and forces you to be MIA at your niece’s birthday party or consumes so much of your energy that you would rather sleep than have fun with friends or family. Either way, find a solution to make that job easier or to make it go away completely.
Learn to ask for help. One way to efficiently manage your time and improve your work–life balance is by asking for help. Just because you own your business does not mean that you have to do everything. If you find yourself stuck, go get help. It can be procurement, online marketing, customer service, or design work, but whatever it is I am 99.9% sure you can outsource it for cheap.
Make time to disconnect. Technology has made it common for people to be online and connected 24/7. You may feel pressured to be constantly connected and accessible, but this is a slippery slope that can have you addicted to being on your phone or checking your email. For your sanity, you have to fight the urge to be online all the time! Go offline and build in at least 2-3 hours each week to spend time with loved ones without checking your phone.
Learn how to delegate. Delegation is crucial for all entrepreneurs to learn. Even CEOs of big companies who started their giant ventures in tiny dorm rooms had to learn how to delegate at one point, and that is how they became big. As the owner of your business, you have to know what tasks you can delegate and who can be trusted enough to carry out these tasks for you. Also, learn when it is right to delegate and how to do it.
Keep your mind and body healthy. One of the things that will help you balance out your professional and personal lives is by making your mental and physical health a priority. When you are in excellent health, you can carry out your obligations well and quickly. So this means that you should strive to get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet, and make exercise a part of your daily routine.
Work where you work best. One major advantage you have as a business owner is that you are in full control of your time (and where you work). Figure out where you work best. Is it in a home office, a dedicated workspace outside of your home, in a business office, in a quiet library. Wherever this place is, make sure you are in that space as often as possible to boost your productivity. The more you can get done, in a shorter period of time, the more enjoyable your overall work-life will be.
Declutter your life. Before dividing your time between work and personal affairs, look at your week and see if there is anything unnecessary that can be reduced or eliminated altogether. For example, instead of physically going shopping for supplies or groceries, you can just shop online. You may also have tasks at work that do not contribute a lot to the growth of your business. Cut those out or outsource them to others. Your time should be focused on growing your business, not working in your business.
A Final Word
Aside from knowing how to start a business, balancing work and life is key to being a great business owner and a well-balanced (and sane) entrepreneur. If you find yourself focusing too much on your business, you will inevitably get burned out. Instead, build in times in your day and week to enjoy your personal life, while also designating time for you to get work done.
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