As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get sucked into the hustle bustle of work.
There are hundreds of quotes out there that tell you hard-work = success.
Do or do not. There is no try.-Yoda
The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.-Vidal Sassoon
Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.-John F. Kennedy
Success is sweet, but the secret is sweat.-General Norman Schwarzkopf
Today’s tears water tomorrow’s gardens.-Matshona Dhliwayo
While it’s true that hard work is a key ingredient to success, there’s another side of the story that is seldom shared.
That is, living a healthy and balanced life.
If you are just starting a business, it can be hard to separate work from the rest of your life. There’s so much to do when starting a business that it’s easy to fill your entire day with work, work, work.
I like to remind myself of this quote:
No one on his deathbed ever said, ‘I wish I had spent more time at the office’.Paul Tsongas
While all this might sound great, sometimes it is easier said than done.
I’d like to share some tips to maintain work life balance as an entrepreneur while still having plenty of time in your day to build your business.
Everyone starts with 24 hours in a day.
1. Make time for “you time”
Without proper planning, it’s easy to get sucked into the “all work and no play” routine.
With an infinite amount of work as an entrepreneur, you’ll sometimes have to rip yourself away from the computer knowing perfectly well that there is still plenty of work to do.
You might tell yourself that the intense workload is just temporary, and to suck it up. But I can assure you that the infinite amount of work will always be there. Even years into running your business.
The solution is to create set times in your calendar for “you time”. I recommend at least 1-hour per day.
What you choose to do with this time is completely up to you. You can do anything that you enjoy.
Read a book, watch a movie, go on a bike ride, enjoy a craft beer, it doesn’t matter!
There are hundreds of studies that show happiness and relaxation contribute to overall productivity.
If you struggle with taking time off work, just remind yourself that by taking time off, you are going to be even more productive when you return.
With 1-hour of “you time” you still have 23-hours in your day.
2. Get sufficient amounts of sleep
Sleep deprivation is a real problem for entrepreneurs. When you first start a business, everything seems deathly urgent.
Whether it is a client texting you in the middle of the night, a figurative or literal fire you have to put out, your website crashing, etc. these things happen.
Getting sufficient sleep is vital to maximize your skills and build your business.
According to SleepFoundation, the ideal amount of sleep is 7-9 hours for individuals 18 – 64 years old.
There’s a reason doctors and scientists across the world have poured extensive time and effort into this study. Sleep is extremely important to your overall health.
Add 7 – 9 hours of sleep to your calendar (along with your “you time”). These things are non-negotiable. So far, you should have about 10 hours of your 24-hour day blocked off with non-negotiable static events.
Sleep + you time leaves ~14 hours in your day.
3. Take care of day-to-day activities
Day-to-day activities are unavoidable. These activities include laundry, cooking/eating, doctor/dentist visits, dog walks, diaper changes, bathroom breaks, etc.
It’s hard to plan these perfectly in your calendar but you can give yourself some flexibility throughout the day for these things.
Everyone has different day-to-day responsibilities and commitments so it’s hard to put an exact time estimate on this but I typically budget 2 hours per day for this.
Sleep + you time + day-to-day activities leaves ~12 hours in your day.
4. Understand fixed vs dynamic
It’s important to remind yourself that you time, sleep, and day-to-day activities are fixed events. This means that they are non-negotiable essentials for you to be the best version of yourself.
Once you’ve accepted that fact, you’ll have a much easier time maintaining work-life-balance.
No matter how much work you have (there will always be a lot), or what is going on with your business, you have ~12 hours in your day to work. The rest of the time is filled with static essential events.
5. Consult with friends and family
If you really aren’t sure whether or not you have a handle on work-life-balance, ask those who are closest to you.
Whether that is your spouse, parents, siblings or friends, take time to get objective feedback.
Be careful though, because as an entrepreneur, we often hold ourselves to a higher standard (which is perfectly fine).
If your friends tell you that they really wish you were going out to the clubs with them more often, but you know this is harmful for your business, take this with a grain of salt.
Not everybody will have you or your business’ best interest at heart.
However, if your spouse tells you that they haven’t had any 1-on-1 time with you for a month, it’s probably time to make a change.
You are an entrepreneur. This means that you are independent and hopefully, a great decision maker. Get feedback and use your discretion to see which areas of your life you are wrongfully depriving and pivot.
You are going to do amazing things with your future!