Here are eight things you can do to achieve and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Entrepreneurship is exasperating and exhilarating. Some days, you feel like you're ready to take on the world, but other days you feel like everything is falling apart. It is emotionally draining and trying to find the right rhythm for your business and your life can take its toll. Work, eat, sleep, repeat is the daily grind, and it can impact your physical and mental well-being.
According to research, entrepreneurs are 30% more likely to suffer from depression than managers at the lower levels of an organization's hierarchy. This statistic is no surprise since entrepreneurship is a struggle. You may often have to work late into the night to finish a project and there is no limit to the number of hours you work. If sales are down, you may wake up in the night in a cold sweat. All told, entrepreneurship can do real damage to you if you don't take care of yourself and make efforts to achieve – and maintain – a healthy work-life balance.
Here are eight things business owners can do to gain balance in their busy lives.
1. Don't let stress take over you
Stress is something that weighs down a lot of entrepreneurs. Life is really too short to stress over things like deadlines, sales and future cash flows. You might be spending a lot of time worrying about things you have no control over. Ask yourself, "Is this something I can change?" If it is, find a solution. If it is something that you have no control over, learn to let it go and adjust accordingly.
Are you prioritizing correctly? If your to-do list is all messed up or you've got a larger number of tasks on your plate than you can possibly accomplish, you really got to prioritize. It's a big responsibility to realize what your priorities are when you've got a full schedule. Gwynne Shotwell, part of the leadership team of SpaceX, considers prioritization as the key to finding a better work-life balance.
Look at the big picture and identify the tasks that are the most important in the long run. Then, prioritize your responsibilities by spending your time on the right things. You can plan your projects using tools like Basecamp and schedule daily and weekly tasks to keep things under control. Setting your priorities straight can also reduce stress dramatically.
3. Don't wear "busy" as a badge of honor
"Busy" is a status that I see many people wearing as a sign of success. They think if they are busy, they are working hard and that eventually, they'll become wildly successful. But, being busy without producing results is directly related to being dull, boring and unfruitful. So, keep yourself out of the "I am busy" club. Stay no to things that do not support your goals. Make time for things that help you enjoy your life more.
4. Be mindful and present
Making mindfulness a regular part of your life shouldn't be an overwhelming task. Although being an entrepreneur means that you're being constantly pulled in a hundred different directions, it's important to be completely present in whatever you are doing. You have to be present and able to think with complete focus to consistently produce the best results.
5. Make little changes for big results
Entrepreneurialism can be draining. You need to take steps now to avoid serious burnout, as that can have terrible consequences on your business. Make sure you're making an effort to take care of yourself. Here's a short list with some suggestions of small changes that you could make.
- Get up 15 minutes early so you don't feel rushed in the morning
- Exercise in the morning to help you stay energized throughout the day
- Whenever possible, don't procrastinate on tasks, take care of them now so you don't have to worry about them
- Learn to be more tech savvy so you can use the technology you use daily with ease
- Switch to a healthier diet
- Be kind to others
- Let go of old habits
Trust me, if you do these little things, you'll soon notice the positive effects in your business too.
6. Create an achievement manifesto
There are going to be days of rejection and failure, but do not let these days dominate your happiness. When life seems like it's falling apart, remember the things you've achieved in the past. It will simply boost your confidence. Create your achievement manifesto by listing the things you've achieved. Whatever it is, personal or professional, write it down on the list. This will bring your confidence back when life brings you down.
7. Establish a daily routine
Having no routine is draining mentally, physically and emotionally, because even though you know what things are important for you to do, you feel like you have no time to do them. Find the routine that works best for you to make sure you make time for what is important.
Once you find a daily routine, you'll find that it's easier to set priorities, limit procrastination and keep track of your goals. Your daily routine will drive your motivation, making it easier to reach your goals. You will also have more physical and mental energy, which will make you feel more satisfied with your life.
8. Regularly do something you love
Last but not least, regularly making the time to do something fun or work on a passion project will reinvigorate you. When was the last time you did something for yourself? When was the last time you did something fun? Don't remember? It's time to set a regular, recurring appointment in your schedule to do something you enjoy. It can be as simple as meeting up with friends, working on a hobby like horse riding or going to the theater. You deserve it!
You're the boss. If you're not happy, it's time to make some changes. To keep doing what it takes to create and run a business, you need to have a balance in the personal and professional demands on your time. When you achieve work-life balance, you'll see positive effects in your business as well as in your life.