Your entrepreneurial journey was meant to give you freedom, but now it feels like work has taken over your life. Work overload is common among entrepreneurs, and it takes its toll.
When longer hours, increased stress, and missed opportunities outside of your business all come to a head, you need to take corrective action. Here’s how to achieve the elusive goal of work-life balance as an entrepreneur.
Fill your cup with non-work first
Almost every person, regardless of their status or achievements in life, quotes the same as their dearest. If you can’t guess yet, they are loved ones. People tend to value their relationships with family and friends above everything else.
However, many professionals, especially entrepreneurs, reserve most of their family time for the end of their lives. This practice can result in decades of missed experience that cannot make up for financial and business success. That’s why it’s essential to fill your time with things that feed your heart, not your wallet.
While it shouldn’t take a health scare to bring you back to reality, that’s often what it takes to reset a workaholic’s path. Serial entrepreneur Mike Koenigs can attest to that first hand. Koenigs had seen great success in business, but at great sacrifice. It was a cancer diagnosis that inspired him to make a change that brought success and balance later on. Today, he focuses on helping others achieve their dreams soul purpose and put their family first.
Prioritizing the needs of yourself and your family isn’t selfish – it’s essential to long-term success. If you don’t have a solid foundation, you can’t reach your highest potential. So set limits on your work hours, go away for school recitals, and recharge with personal pursuits that are just for fun. By letting your real life come into its own, you can bring new energy to your working days.
Take the best parts of business and make them your own
You probably don’t want to return to business any time soon, but it has beneficial aspects that you shouldn’t be quick to dismiss. The most obvious benefit that many business owners skip is paid time off. Distancing yourself from your life’s work may seem impossible, but it is an important factor in achieving work-life balance.
Most employees receive an annual amount of paid time off, and more experienced employees often earn several weeks of it. Consider your current approach to PTO and be honest about your habits. If it’s been a long time since you’ve been on vacation, you can probably feel it. And if you usually take your work with you when you leave, it’s time to set some boundaries.
Review your current obligations, calendar, and revenue cycles to determine your busiest and slowest seasons. Then determine how many days per year your current commitments allow you to really disconnect. Initially this may take a small number of days, but this base number is a start.
Use this calculation to allocate a fixed number of PTO days that you will use each year. Block planned vacation time on your calendar and protect that time for much-needed disconnection. Share this data with your employees so everyone can plan around your availability. Be clear that this time is fixed and you will not be in touch while you are away. With this clarity and planning, your team is prepared to do business while you recharge.
Create a routine that keeps your priorities front and center
A regular routine can make the difference between a successful entrepreneur and an underperforming entrepreneur. People crave consistency, both in body and mind. Harness the power of routine to maximize your effectiveness during work hours and increase your off-the-clock presence.
Routines bring order and consistency wherever they are applied. And if you maintain them over time, they can also reduce stress. Creating predictability in your day allows you to focus on the task at hand. This can lead to more productive work time, which is often followed by maximum results.
Sticking to a routine also benefits those you share your life with. Whether you’re picking up your kid from school or preparing for your biweekly date night, routines strengthen relationships. When your promise to show up is proven to be reliable, you build trust with those around you.
Use your calendar to set limits for when you start and finish work and to schedule commitments for your family. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, and it will vary depending on the business you’re in, so do what works for you. It’s about establishing a repeatable routine that helps you keep your priorities at the forefront.
Maximize the benefits of entrepreneurship without sacrificing what matters most
Shaking up your current work-life cocktail may be easier than you think. Entrepreneurs are already built differently and many of the traits that make them successful can be reused to achieve better balance.
Use your time-tested ingenuity and tenacity to invest in the most critical player in your business: you. When you do, you approach your business and life with a renewed perspective and a renewed sense of purpose.