As entrepreneurs start getting more involved with their businesses, it’s not uncommon that they find there’s less time to spend on themselves. Unfortunately, being a successful business owner can often mean spending many hours engrossed in work without taking personal breaks. The result is almost always burnout, which can have negative effects on your health and well-being.
But how does an individual take back their personal time? To help, eleven experts from Young Entrepreneur Council offer their suggestions on how entrepreneurs can reclaim some of their time for much-needed rest and relaxation.
1. Schedule ‘You’ Time First
If you wait to fit it in, it won’t happen! So when you’re planning for the week and take out your schedule to write everything down, plug in the time you need for yourself to rest, work out, connect or whatever else you need to recharge, and then plan appointments and your to-do list after, instead of the other way around.
2. Develop Strong Routines
One of the most effective ways to stay centered and focused when business life is chaotic is to build strong morning and nighttime routines. Having dedicated time to yourself to get your day started and defining how to end your day is a foundational form of self-care that keeps me calm and rested. This is my way to be sure I’m enjoying life on my own terms and enjoying the process.
3. Set Clear Boundaries
Setting boundaries with your team and clients is one way to reclaim your own time for relaxation. Let your boss know when you’re available during the workweek, but keep your evenings and weekends for yourself, friends and family.
4. Start One Hour at a Time
The key to reclaiming your time is to start one hour at a time. Plan out your day and leave an empty spot for an hour of unplanned free time. As you get more comfortable getting more work done in less time, or at least learn how to manage your time without burning yourself out, you’ll start to slowly reclaim the personal time you lost.
5. Address Big Tasks First
I define the top things I want to achieve for both the day and week. We all have a lot to do, but you’ll be more stressed out when you don’t do the big things first. Once they’re done, I feel accomplished and can then turn to the small things. If I feel like I need to rest or do something fun, I’ll feel comfortable doing that instead. It’s harder to relax if I still have a big task ahead.
6. Force Yourself to Delegate More
Force yourself to delegate more, especially if you’ve struggled to do this in the past. If you don’t think you have properly trained workers to take over some of your tasks, pause your workweek to allow just enough time to train them effectively. This might put you a bit behind in the short term, but in the long term you’ll have that much more time for rest, relaxation and happiness.
7. Get Rid of All Distractions
To reclaim your time and make the most of it, get rid of any and all distractions next to you. This could be your phone, television, another person, a pet, what have you. As long as it takes your attention away from your tasks, it’s best to put it in another room or find a way to separate yourself from it. This gives you more focus and concentration to get your work done.
8. Create Daily Events
I try to create daily events in my life that allow me to focus on my family and myself. These include making school lunches, doing school drop-offs, getting a run in and making dinner for my family. They are small tasks, but they provide windows in my day that my business calendar needs to work around. If I make these nonnegotiable, it keeps me committed to myself, my family and my business. Balance!
9. Take a Full Day Off
Take a day off — I mean, a full day off every week. Often, we end up doing busywork during our weekends, and I think this contributes to burnout. Instead, take at least one day where you do absolutely nothing related to your job or household chores. This way, you have time to decompress and go back to the office (or home office) on Monday feeling ready to rock.
10. Always Keep Your Weekends Free
As an entrepreneur, your life is always going to be busy and hectic. But despite that, you have to find time for yourself. The best way to do that is to keep your weekends free, no matter how busy your work schedule is. Save it as your “me” time and use it to connect with your loved ones, improve your skills by attending courses, socialize with your friends or do anything that makes you happy.
11. Take a Week-Long Vacation Regularly
I like to reclaim my time by taking a week-long vacation every quarter. I know that there will be weeks where I have to work overtime to bring our company together. But having one whole week off every quarter gives me the time to relax and improve my focus.
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.