For entrepreneurs, the work day never ends. A 2014 survey by The Alternative Board found that half of entrepreneurs in the U.S. work at least 50 hours per week and 20 percent say they work 60 hours a week. Even so, 80 percent said they think they work too much and would like to work a more traditional 40-hour work week.
So can you find balance when you eat, sleep and breathe your business? Some say no, and for your business to rise instead of plateau, you should put 100 percent of your energy into it.
“Most of the highly successful and not-burned out people I know work single-mindendly towards a goal they think is important, whether it’s developing a new piece of software, inventing something, or a cardiologist who’s seeing patients on nights and weekends instead of playing Monopoly with his kids on the weekend,” Marty Nemko, a career coach, author and radio host was quoted as saying in a widely read article on Business Insider.
However, there’s another camp that believes business owners can find a way to their professional and personal endeavors and still come out on top. If you subscribe to the belief that balance can be achieved, these tips will help you find an approach to work that suits you, your family and your business.
1. Set boundaries for yourself.
There will always be another email to respond to and another problem to solve. For entrepreneurs, it simply never ends. To avoid sending those 3 a.m. emails and attempting to conduct business at your kid’s t-ball game, you must set boundaries for yourself. You can also avoid spending an excessive amount of hours in the office by conducting some of your business from home. There are many resources available today that allow you to work remotely, such as video chat or the virtual office. It will be difficult at first to stick with a dedicated work schedule, but once you get into the groove, you’ll probably find you like keeping a somewhat “normal” schedule.
2. Put time into what really matters.
As an entrepreneur, time is your most important resource. Don’t waste it on projects and problems that don’t impact your business. You may find it difficult to pare your day down to the truly vital work, but it will be worth after your discover you have time to focus on the projects that will move the needle for your company.
3. Turn it off.
It may seem unbelievable, but smart phones and laptops and tablets have off buttons. Use them accordingly. Turn off your technology during family dinners and gatherings. Leave the smart phone at home when you go out to dinner with friends. Don’t pack the lap top when you go on vacation. By stepping away – even for a few minutes – you’ll get a fresh look at your work and be able to respond with more perspective and less emotion.
4. Recognize you’ll be busier at times.
You shouldn’t expect each and every week to be a carbon copy of the last. Some weeks will be busier than others and you won’t have such a great work-life balance. Some weeks will offer you more down time to focus on family or hobbies. Don’t let this frustrate you. Recognize you’ll have to change your pace from time-to-time to manage your company’s needs.
5. Build personal time into your schedule.
One of the great things about being an entrepreneur is the ability to set your own schedule. Set time into your schedule each day for trips to the gym, for yoga, family activities, lunch dates with friends and vacation. The real challenge will be sticking to it. Look at these activities as simply another task on your calendar that must be done during the course of a day.
Avoiding burnout should be a goal of any entrepreneur. Finding ways to balance your work life with your personal needs will help your own mind, body and spirit which in turn will help your business grow.