If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you probably eat, sleep and breathe your business. Like a new human baby, a startup requires constant care and attention. While you may have been happy so far to put in 60+ hour work weeks, right about now you may also be feeling some major burnout with your life and work.
If you’re struggling to find a perfect work-life balance, one that allows you to have enough free time to spend with loved ones, enjoy hobbies, and maintain your overall health, you are definitely not alone. According to a survey by The Alternative Board, a business coaching organization, half of all U.S. business owners work 50 or more hours per week, 20% work 60 or more hours, and nearly 80% said they feel they just work too much.
The 2017 World Happiness Report found that work-life balance is now one of the strongest predictors of happiness. Not shocking. And yet for many entrepreneurs, this particular happiness seems like a pipe dream.
But it doesn’t have to be.
The following are some tips on how you can balance your life and work like a Rockstar so you have time for your loved ones, health, and personal growth.
Even rock stars have to unplug every once in a while. You can hardly have dinner with your family, learn that second language or train for a marathon if you are constantly checking your email and social media accounts. Commit to a technology-free life for a set number of hours each day. Not only will this help you focus on other areas of your life, it will give your brain a much-needed break.
Set Working Hours and STICK to Them
All change requires action and commitment. You can’t just say you want to work fewer hours each week, you have to make a plan and commit to it. Otherwise you’re no different than the person who says they want to lose 30 pounds but then does nothing about it.
Once you know exactly how many hours you realistically have to work each day, set a schedule and let your whole team know they can only reach you during that specific time window. And stick to it!
Get Over Yourself!
That survey I mentioned earlier? Many entrepreneurs stated they worked so many hours because they felt there were too many tasks that only they could handle. As someone who has started my own company, I totally get this feeling. And in the very beginning stages of getting the business off the ground, you may have had no choice but to do everything yourself.
But I also know our ego can get in the way when it comes time to hand certain tasks over to other very qualified people. It’s a bit like going out that fist time and leaving the baby with a babysitter. You feel anxious, you call home every five minutes to make sure everything is okay because you are convinced no other human being, not even your own mother, can keep your baby alive like you can.
All entrepreneurs have to get over this belief. No one knows your vision like you, and you can’t expect others to share your same level of passion, but there are plenty of educated and trained professionals who can help your business thrive.
Get over yourself and your limiting beliefs and start delegating tasks. Delegating will not only free up some time for you, it will also improve employee morale because you show your team you trust and appreciate their abilities.
Schedule Your Vacation
Okay, it’s not as cool as taking a spur-of-the-moment trip like some people, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Many couples have to schedule date nights and… you know… intimate moments once they have kids, so there’s no shame in you scheduling your vacations ahead of time. And by the way, you may also want to start scheduling date nights and intimate moments with your significant other. A balance between life and work often calls for extreme practicality.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t have all the details of your vacation, and you don’t even have to book anything yet, just carve out some time on your calendar.
Go to Bed Earlier
I get it, you want to eek out as many hours in the day as you can. But try to only burn the candle at one end. By that I mean, you’ll actually get more accomplished if you start your day earlier. But to get up earlier and have the energy to focus on that day’s tasks, you’ve got hit the sack earlier to get a solid 7 or 8 hours.
To get to sleep earlier, skip that 2pm vente latte. In fact, cutting out all caffeine is a good idea if you have one of those minds that won’t shut off at night. Also, try not to use electronic devices before bed. They emit a blue light that interferes with your natural sleep patterns. Instead, read an actual, physical book, listen to music, or take a bath. Something calming that will lull you to sleep.
Lists help people get stuff done. But in this instance, lists can serve as a visual indicator of how much balance you are achieving on a day-to-day basis. If seven out of the eight to-do’s on your list are work related, your day is unbalanced.
Your Monday through Friday list could have 60% work items, 20% personal time items (hobbies, working out) and 20% family/friend items. On the weekends, change that up so your list now contains 60% family/friend time, 30% personal time and 10% work time.
Will making any of these changes be easy? No, but playing the guitar with your tongue isn’t easy and plenty of rock stars do that. While finding a work-life balance will take time and effort, your happiness is totally worth it!
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