How do you separate work and personal life as an entrepreneur?
I am finding it really hard to not think about my startup. There is always so much work and I am constantly thinking about my to do list. I am not doing a good job turning it off when I am at home. Does anyone have any recommendations on how they manage this challenge?
The reality is that you can not and you will not, at least during your start up phase.
Once you step into the entrepreneurial life, it becomes your whole life. We are all in the same boat.
I will suggest a different approach!
Engage your family and beloved people in the process. Make them part of your success.
They will feel connected and you will all enjoy a lot of successful moments.
Bryan, it is not even a problem to constantly be thinking about your to do list or work when you are at home, becasue you never know; some of your best most creative sparks of genius might and will come to you when you are looking at your beautiful family.
the important thing is how you manage your thought process by not allowing it to stop you from enjoying life with your family at home.
We are human first. Very few of us are Borgs or Vulcans. And even if you are Vulcan you need down time every few years or you have the same break downs as us mere humans...lol. Personal life is need to re-gather one's self, every so often. Otherwise, the original self that made you a great entrepneur will get scatchered and diffused and possible loose its way. So make time for being you. Maya Angelou, talked on this one a lot. A reasonbly successful human being.
To become an entrepreneur is a life choice because you are always on the lookout for ideas and how to turn them into something such as a business. You can have a hobby but your mind is always thinking and wanting and so it’s a 24/7 thing rather than part time.
Bryan you will work longer hours and harder for yourself than you ever did for any job you have ever had. And at the beginning you may not see an immediate ROI. I'm 20+ years into my business and I am still working 7 days a week, building, growing, learning & improving, I will go months at a time w/out a day off, this is what works for me, I save my time off for when I am traveling. Sometimes I jump out of bed in the middle of the night because I am struck by a great idea or a way to do something better and I don't want to lose it. Personally I would live this way for a 100 years rather than being someone else's employee, because that is of #1 importance to me, you need to find out what is #1 importance to you. Now what are you willing to do to get it?
Hi Bryan- I go through this all the time...and if you're married and have a family...hands down...'family first'...at the end of the day- despite any little business victories or success, family is EVERYTHING.
That being said, have an understanding with your family (and partner) that there will be times when you have to attend meetings, pitch sessions, or events that are business related (and this will happen a lot if you're an entrepreneur chasing the money). Always use good judgement and make good choices. Don't schedule meetings or go to events that aren't going to bring value to your business/startup or bring you new contacts that will benefit your business. Embrace the available technology at hand and multitask while at home...there's no reason you can't catch up on emails, or texts while you're alone in the bathroom (I know that may sound gross, but it works) or waiting for the kids in the car, or whenever. Learn to multitask...instead of wasting time chit chatting on a phone call- address the client's needs in an email or text and address your day's priorities or goals using your phone, tablet or computer. Catch up on calls you have to have while you're in the car on the freeway (speaker)...you can do it...I know you can :)
Make peace with it for now you have to spend most or even close to all of your time thinking about or working on your startup. Don't fight it, because that in itself will wear you out. Take 3 or 4 doable items from your big todo list for each day and focus only on those. As you get to cross them off the big list, you'll know you are making progress. Hopefully you love most of what you have to do . Set timeframes and short term goals. Find ways to get help as you reach certain benchmarks. As you are making lists for the day work in some breaks to refresh yourself...and some fun time with friends and family probably on the weekends.
If you hire a coach you will have an objective expert to talk things over with, to keep you accountable and make sure you stay on track toward your ultimate goal.
Dorene Lehavi, PhD
Many good advises here and I believe the intention to separate work and personal life is no more correct. Entrepreneurial spirit in found within the heart, part of an individual's mindset and behaviours. Whether acting during work or personal life, entrepreneurship cannot be separated.
So many people lots of great advice...I would suggest getting to know yourself better, so you know what areas your strengths and what areas are your stress points. Best way to start this process is through assessments. I find that not all entrepreneurs are alike and that while work takes up a great deal of time and energy, not everyone has the same stress point or time management problem. Knowing not only your passions, your presence, but also how you process can greatly help you understand how to manage your time better, how to manage those things that keep you up at night, and maybe even how to find ways to get some of the things that you are not good at outsourced, so that you can spend more time doing the things you are good at.
Do you also wake in the middle of the night and adding another half a dozen things to your list?
I follow a goal setting regime and plan my day (as I expect you already do) however I also make sure to include goals and tasks and other things that excite me that are NOT around my business.
Whilst I'm no athlete, I particularly like physical activities. I find they allow my body to work to the exclusion of my brain. I do boxing training ...Monday morning to start my week and Thursday evening to shake out the stresses before the weekend (and I pay a trainer to ensure that I don't duck out with the excuse of other 'higher' priorities). I've also set a goal of reducing my golf handicap this year as I find that, whilst I'm playing, I concentrate on my golf rather than my work. I also meditate (badly, but I'm getting better), there are literally hundreds of guided meditations on YouTube to follow. I found using these worked better for me rather than meditating to music I listen to what I'm being told rather than listening to my 'chattering monkey' telling me all those things I should be doing instead.
So ask yourself, is there anything that you'd particularly like to do that would excite you and within which you could get absorbed? Can you add these as short, medium and long time goals to your to do list and make them as equally important thereby giving yourself down time from your startup and allowing you to find balance in your life?
First let me say, that I am in the exact same boat in terms of seeking balance between work and personal time. I'm the proud, anxious, overcommitted, passionate owner of a start-up in it's second year. I'm also a wife and mother of 2. My family is super important to me and it hurts when things feel out of balance.
I read a great book called Getting Things Done by David Allen (highly recommend it) and one of the key points I took away from the book was the idea of creating a "hard landscape" to your day in the form of a calendar where you map out the must do's. All other tasks are secondary. The must-do's are things like critical client meetings, kids school events, date night with your spouse, meditation time, prayer time, exercise time, etc. I found that I was able to commit to these items better when they were pre-scheduled on my calendar. Scheduling these things for myself makes it easy to say no to all the "shiny objects" and urgent requests that seem to come up daily in the realm of small business. The way you manage the work time you have that is not committed to the hard landscape will have a lot to do with your satisfaction level. If you don't already have a good to-do list, CRM or workflow tool...find one.
In the book, David Allen also talks about a concept called "Mind like water" which is pretty much a fancy way of saying peace of mind, a mind of peace, a clear head. With a hard landscape designed by you, and a solid workflow management practice you can quiet that "list" and become more present in your non-work life.
Keeping a journal may help too...I've found that I can do this right before bed and first thing when I wake up in the morning and it gives me an outlet for all my excitement, frustration and inspiration.
Hope this helps! Best wishes.
I know how difficult this can be Bryan, I feel your pain! The best way to "balance" your life is to set clear hours for both. Right now since it is a startup you may have a little more work hours than personal hours - but what is important is to make sure your scheduled personal hours (whatever they may be) are not interrupted by work - or even thoughts of work. If inspiration comes to mind, instead of switching gears and working on your idea right at that moment- write it down and save it for later when you are in your "work hours". Good luck!
if you have children you definitely going to have to shut it down, try to set up Business Hours, make a checklist, put on the frig, but that is the Beauty of having your own Business! but we all NEED BALANCE!
Bryan I hear you on this. But the question is not how to separate both but how to balance. It will be harder if you are fighting to separate. It will just burn you out. Find a balance. All start with disciplining yourself with a schedule. It takes time to get used to it. I break my day in 30 mn incremental time. If a work need 2 hrs it is 4x 30 mn. Between each 30 mn, I take 5 mn break to reply to important email. After 2hrs, I take 30 mn break to work on my social media presence, make calls, call back missed calls...Understand that work will be always there for you and you just need to limit yourself to the time budgeted for each task. Now our brain think of 1000 things at the same time. You need to focus your brain on both side of your life. As someone said meditation helps, work out helps, team sport helps.
Make sure you put all our modern life distractions out of the way. Distractions consume most of our daily time.
Good luck and I hope this helps
First, I believe you are one person with one life. It is not a separation strategy you need, IMHO. I suggest time management to balance your focus, energy and efforts. The wonderful thing about being an entrepreneur is that you choose when is the best or optimal time to focus your energy. If you are best at getting you business done in the morning, make sure you get up and set time to plan your day. Give yourself a reasonable schedule. Don't forget the basics, like food, exercise, disruptions. They will happen, just leave time for them. Once you are in the habit of planning what is the most important things you have to do in the day it is much easier to put the other "tasks" aside. Note them and evaluate them again the next day. However, let them go if they are not a priority.
Hope this helps.
It should be hard to turn it off - because, as an entrepreneur - you should be working on your passion and your life's purpose. Don't fight it -- instead, set a date and time for everything that is important explicitly in your calendar. That way you know you have scheduled the time to do those imperative things. The imperative things include important family and personal life things (as well as your business things). Once you have an explicit block of time on your calendar for these things - you can more easily relax because you know you have the time to work on them.
Things on your calendar should be things that only YOU can do. Other things should be considered for delegation, outsourcing, automation, etc.
If you need help in creating effective systems so that you can do more with less - please feel free to contact me. That is my business.
Thanks for all the great ideas! I was sitting at my computer today and could not for the life of me think of something to write about. This was really helpful. Thanks again!
Set work hours for yourself and stick to them. Reserve set times in your schedule for activities that allow you to recharge and that add value to your life, such as daily exercise, a weekly date or social night, reserved time for family activities, and a yearly vacation.
You really have to balance life and work - I started to do something completely different from my company - I started writing at the weekend as it took my mind off the day to day struggles a start is - if you have a family uses them to distract yourself as they will become distant if you dont - set yourself time and stick to it - work will always be there tomorrow.!
The best thing is to make your business think for you. At the end of the workday, plant things that generate fresh ideas for harvesting in the morning. Growing a business is the same as growing a vegetable patch - make it grow while you rest then tend it during the day.
It takes some effort and discipline to "stop work" when there are so many more things to be done.
We often treat our cars better than our bodies, so think of yourself as a car.
If you don't stop and service it now and then, fill up the fuel tank, check the oil, etc, it stops or blows up.
Set some ground rules and then stick to them . . . e.g.
- don't go in your "office" after certain hours
- don't answer the phone after hours, unless you are an emergency service
- set routines and stick to them, e.g. daily exercise at the same time
Know that while you may have a lot to do, your business will ultimately benefit if you are fit and healthy and on the ball, rather than run down or overwhelmed.