If you’re an entrepreneur by trade, you probably cringe at the term “work-life balance.” Not because you don’t agree that it’s important, but probably because it seems so painfully out of reach for you and your lifestyle. Entrepreneurs can be guilty of thinking that if you’re not investing as many hours as possible, you aren’t doing everything in your power to make your business succeed. And while that drive and passion is vital to successful entrepreneurship, it doesn’t make for a very balanced life. If this sounds like you, here are a few simple habits to adopt that will help you restore some work-life balance.
Set some boundaries, and stick to them.
You’ve probably heard this one before, but age-old advice is age-old for a reason. Boundaries are the first step to a balanced life. This is true whether you are an entrepreneur starting your own business or an employee at a corporate job. For example, one good boundary to set is defining your office hours. Decide which hours you will be available, and stick to those hours. Don’t come in early, and don’t leave late. Of course, there will be exceptions due to unusual circumstances, but it shouldn’t be a habit. You should follow these hours 90% of the time.
Learn to do nothing… and do it well.
Setting boundaries can be difficult for entrepreneur , but this next one will likely feel even harder. Nonetheless, it’s an important skill. Time is a limited resource, so it’s hard not to feel like idle time is wasted time. But resist that feeling! Rest is immeasurably important to the longevity of your career and your business. If you’re not good at doing nothing, get good at it! Define what down time looks like for you. For some, that may be going for a run or reading a book for leisure (not for business). And eventually, with practice, it may be doing absolutely nothing, and that’s okay too. Whatever brings you rest and leaves you feeling recharged for when you return to your work will pay off in the long run.
If you’re having trouble with the idea of doing nothing, keep in mind that this can actually be a great way to generate some new, fresh ideas. Your mind can’t be at peak performance if you keep it working 24 hours, 7 days a week. Give it some rest, and see how much more creative you feel afterwards! Not to mention how much your friends, family, and loved ones will appreciate having you around with minimal distractions.
Learn to say “no.”
Another hard lesson for entrepreneurial minds: saying no. You might feel like you’ve gotten to where you are today by saying yes. But an inability to turn down requests and opportunities is a fast track to burn out and can leave you feeling overwhelmed and unmotivated. Determine the things that are most important to you for the next steps in your business, and only focus on those. Really examine every opportunity that arises and ask yourself if it fully aligns with your current vision and trajectory. If it doesn’t? Well, say no!
The term “work-life balance” is a hot term right now, but we don’t think it’s just a trend or fad. It’s here to stay, and that’s for the better. Corporate America is catching on, and so should the world of small business and entrepreneurs. We will all be better for it in the end – our businesses, our health, and our families.