Work-Life Balance for Entrepreneurs
Most entrepreneurs love their careers. Running their own businesses gives them the freedom to choose what they work on and how they achieve their goals. They often work harder, longer and more hours than traditional employees. But it's hard for entrepreneurs to find a break in their schedules. But every healthy person should have a work life balance. Some say that achieving work-life balance is impossible but only you can find out your own answers. Here are some things to think about.
Creating a Definition of Work-Life Balance
What work-life balance really looks like in the real world can be different for everyone. For many successful entrepreneurs, the right balance is a combination of work and play every day. Entrepreneurs, especially those launching startups, often don’t take vacation and instead incorporate downtime into their everyday routines. For these types of entrepreneurs, downtime isn’t a reward for work that’s been done, but instead is preparing mentally, physically and spiritually for the hard work to come. Some work and some downtime every day is a very achievable goal, just as full work days and weekends to rest can be accomplished. It’s also important to put some boundaries around your entrepreneurial life. Because many entrepreneurs identify so much with their business, it can make it hard to let go. Seeing your business as an enterprise that has part of you in it, rather than being an extension of your personality, can make it easier to create a livable definition of work-life balance.
Fitting in Family
One of the biggest struggles of not being a traditional office worker—and this applies to freelancers and professionals who work nights or weekends as well—is balancing family commitments alongside the long hours required by your enterprise. Many successful entrepreneurs have found a need to be truly present when they’re at home. That often means turning off your smartphone, closing the laptop, or ditching the tablet for a few hours. Others have found that getting their families involved in their business helps them to understand the commitment and stakes involved. If they can experience the product or service you are building, they tend to understand more why you’re so devoted to delivering it.
Keeping Some Gas in the Tank
It’s also important to keep some parts of your life for yourself. Side projects, hobbies and friends can all help, so it’s important not to sacrifice your relationships to spend all of your time at work. Additionally, be sure to conserve some energy every day. Spending all the energy you have on your startup isn’t sustainable in the long run. Save some of your energy so you have a buffer for when things, inevitably, don’t go the way you planned.
The Hidden Costs of Burnout
There’s a real trap in working too much for anyone but it’s especially true of entrepreneurs. They have trouble sleeping and because they’re exhausted and burnt out, they have trouble coming up with new ideas and often miss opportunities for collaboration, partnerships or investment because they’re too tired to realize an opportunity is passing them by. Some entrepreneurs that have fallen into this trap advise others to put systems in place so the business can still survive without you for a few hours or days. By building your business in a manner that allows you to take time off, you’re investing in building a better life for yourself and your loved ones.
Finding work-life balance as an entrepreneur may take some experimentation but learning from your mistakes can mean the world for your own health, your company’s success, and your own long-term sustainability.