Striking out on your entrepreneurial journey was supposed to give you freedom, but now it feels like work has taken over your life. Work overload is common among the entrepreneur set, and it’s taking a toll.
If longer hours, more stress and missed opportunities outside of your business are all coming to a head, you need to take remedial action. Here’s how you as an entrepreneur can achieve the elusive goal of work-life balance.
Fill Your Cup With Non-Work First
Nearly every person, no matter their station or achievements in life, cites the same thing as their most treasured. If you can’t already guess, it’s loved ones. Humans tend to value their relationships with family and friends over everything else.
However, many professionals, entrepreneurs especially, reserve the bulk of their family time for the end of their life. This practice can result in decades of missed experiences that financial and business success cannot make up for. That’s why it’s essential to fill your time with things that fuel your heart, not your wallet.
While it shouldn’t require a health scare to jolt you back to reality, that’s often what it takes to reset a workaholic’s path. Serial entrepreneur Mike Koenigs can testify to that firsthand. Koenigs had seen great success in business but with great sacrifice. It was a cancer diagnosis that inspired him to make a change that later brought success and balance. Today, he focuses on helping others fulfill their soul purpose and put their family first.
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Prioritizing yourself and your family’s needs isn’t selfish—it’s essential for long-term success. If you don’t have a solid foundation, you won’t be able to achieve your highest potential. So set boundaries on your work hours, step away for mid-day school recitals and recharge with personal pursuits that are simply for fun. By giving your real life its due, you can bring fresh energy to your workdays.
Take the Best Parts of Corporate Life and Make Them Your Own
You probably don’t want to return to corporate life anytime soon, but it has beneficial aspects you shouldn’t be quick to dismiss. The most obvious perk that many entrepreneurs skip is paid time off. Stepping away from your life’s work can seem impossible, but it’s an important factor in establishing work-life balance.
Most employees are granted an annual amount of paid time off, and more experienced hires often earn multiple weeks of it. Consider your current approach to PTO and be honest about your habits. If it’s been ages since you’ve taken a vacation, you can probably feel it. And if you usually bring your work with you when you do step away, it’s time to create some boundaries.
Review your current commitments, calendar and revenue cycles to determine your busiest and slowest seasons. Then determine how many days a year your current commitments allow for true disconnection. Initially, this may shake out to a small number of days, but this baseline number is a start.
Use this calculation to allot a fixed number of PTO days you’ll use each year. Block planned vacation time on your calendar, protecting that time for some much-needed disconnection. Share these dates with your employees so everyone can plan around your availability. Be clear that this time is firm, and that you won’t be in touch when you’re away. With this clarity and planning, your team will be prepared to handle business while you recharge.
Create a Routine That Keeps Your Priorities Front and Center
A solid routine can be the differentiator between a successful entrepreneur and an underperforming one. Humans crave consistency, both in body and mind. Leverage the power of routine to maximize your effectiveness during working hours and increase your presence off the clock.
Routines create order and consistency wherever they’re applied. And when you maintain them over time, they can also reduce stress. By creating predictability in your day, you can focus on the task at hand. This can lead to more productive work time, which is often followed by maximized results.
Sticking to a routine also benefits those you share your life with. Whether you’re picking your child up from school or preparing for your bi-weekly date night, routines reinforce relationships. When your promise to show up is proven to be reliable, you build trust with the people around you.
Use your calendar to set limits on when you start and end work, and schedule commitments for family. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, and it’ll vary according to the business you’re in, so do what works for you. The point is to establish a repeatable routine that allows you to keep your priorities at the forefront.
Maximizing the Benefits of Entrepreneurship Without Sacrificing What Matters Most
Shaking up your current work-life cocktail may be simpler than you think. Entrepreneurs are already built differently, and many of the traits that make them successful can be repurposed 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’ll approach your business and life with a refreshed perspective and a renewed sense of purpose.