Advertising
Advertising

Ask The Entrepreneurs: 16 Ways to Master Your Work-Life Balance as an Entrepreneur

Ask The Entrepreneurs: 16 Ways to Master Your Work-Life Balance as an Entrepreneur


    Ask The Entrepreneurs

    is a regular series where members of those involved in the Young Entrepreneur Council are asked a single question that aims to help Lifehack readers level up their own lives, whether in a area of management, communication, business or life in general.

    Here’s the question posed in this edition of Ask The Entrepreneurs:

    How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance as an entrepreneur?

    1. Let Go of Fear

      “Many entrepreneurs struggle with fear that if they’re not working every minute that they could possibly be working, their business will fail and they will regret not having put in more time. However, in my own experience and in observing other successful entrepreneurs, letting go of this fear not only leads to work-life balance but also more meaningful productivity and accomplishment.”

      Elizabeth SaundersReal Life E®

      2. Build Lifestyle into Your Brand

        “These days so many people are focused on getting funding, explosive growth and spending 80 hours a week on their business. While that’s all great stuff, it can lead to burn out and unhappiness really quickly. Make lifestyle the most important factor in business from the beginning, and then grow with that principle in mind—less stress, more happiness.”

        Sean OgleLocation 180, LLC

        3. Schedule Your Life, Not Just Work

          “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 not only will have something to look forward to, but also extra motivation to manage your other time well so you do not have to cancel on others—and yourself!”

          Advertising

          Doug BendBend Law Group, PC

          4. Set Some Boundaries

            “Calm down. It’s 11 p.m. You’re not going to lose that client if you wait until tomorrow to respond to his request for a project estimate. Set work hours for yourself and stick to them. If you make yourself available at all hours—while out to dinner, while on vacation, during “sexy time”—you set a dangerous precedent!”

            Steph AuteriWord Nerd Pro

            5. Turn It Off!

              “Our smartphones are a part of our everyday lives, but as an entrepreneur, we literally sleep with it tucked under our pillow. Simply turn off the phone and be amazed at how much you can get done—you can even fit in a work out. You have to know when to separate work and life, which starts with shutting off from everything to take time for yourself. That’s why there’s a thing called voicemail!”

              Ashley BodiBusiness Beware

              6. Learn Something New

                “I started taking beginner piano lessons at age 26 so I could schedule time away from my computer. Now I know that my Tuesday and Thursday evenings are piano nights. I’m paying money to be there, so you better believe I’ll be shutting off my work to get there.”

                Allie Siarto, Loudpixel

                7. Work It All Out

                Advertising

                  “Being an entrepreneur often uses up all of your time but it’s important to remember to stay healthy and work out. Try and add a calendar invite reminding you to go to the gym, run or do whatever fits you. If not, you’ll most likely regret it when you start seeing negative results.”

                  Ben LangEpicLaunch

                  8. Figure Your Fuel

                    “Too often, the work-life balance discussion revolves around sleeping and exercising schedules; but for nonstop entrepreneurs, the conversation needs to begin with what we’re using for fuel. It’s important to stock up on healthy snacks that will reduce your cravings (for less healthy foods) and keep you going 24/7. Stash them in your desk, computer bag, and car for emergency use.”

                    Benjamin LeisSweat EquiTees

                    9. Remember Your Friends?

                      “Many entrepreneurs I talk to often think about how much time off that their peers have because of their cushy corporate jobs. Entrepreneurs should try creating similar schedules as well so that they can have proper work-life balance. If corporations can make it happen, entrepreneurs can too!”

                      Danny WongBlank Label Group, Inc.

                      10. Delegate Your Life!

                        “It’s great to delegate bookkeeping, marketing, and admin work, but for many who are just starting off your budget won’t necessarily allow for it. Get creative and delegate more of your “life” duties like childcare, cleaning house, and grocery shopping to a spouse. Having my husband help me out by doing some grocery shopping means I have more time to spend with him when we’re at home.”

                        Advertising

                        Jennifer DonoghYoung Female Entrepreneurs

                        11. Try Time Boxing

                          “If you can offload common tasks, such as scheduling and other appointment setting, you’ll free up your time to focus on the most important tasks. Time boxing will allow you to apply laser focus to one project at a time.”

                          Jeff SlobotskiSilicon Prairie News

                          12. Put Yourself First

                            “If you’re an entrepreneur, your business relies heavily on your sleep and sanity. Make sure that you are putting yourself first by eating right, sleeping well and exercising (at a minimum). Remind yourself that those things are critical to thinking, creating and performing at your best, and make sure you stand firm to your commitments to all three.”

                            Jenny BlakeLife After College

                            13. Balance Is Not “Equal”

                              “Personally, I’m not happy if I’m evenly dividing my time between work and other things. I really enjoy what I do, to the point that I get bored with a lot of hobbies. I focus on making sure that I’m doing well on a personal level: if I’m feeling stressed out, I’ll take a step back; if I feel like I’m not getting enough work done, I’m cool with investing more time.”

                              Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting

                              14. You Deserve a Reward!

                              Advertising

                                “It’s easy to forget about the “life” part. Unfortunately, this ends up making you burn out, while never giving yourself “me” time and enjoying the fruits of your labor. Reward yourself, whether it’s by taking a vacation, treating yourself to a day at the spa, or turning off your devices and reading a book. It will make you a better worker in the long run.”

                                Steven Le Vine, grapevine pr

                                15. What’s Your Work-Life Story?

                                  “Whether I spend 80 hours a week working on business or I’m on vacation and give 100 percent of myself to my reflection and refueling, my experience of both are pretty much the same. I make it my priority to narrate the story of what I’m doing, how I’m feeling, and how I’m spending my time in a way that makes me feel good and balanced. The story I tell myself is what keeps me thriving.”

                                  Alexia Vernon, Catalyst for Action

                                  16. Schedule It Like You Would An Important Meeting

                                    “If you want time for yourself, you need to schedule it into your day. 4 days a week I make 2 hours for myself through Crossfit. There is nothing more important to me than my health. To ensure I never miss a class, it is scheduled into my calendar weeks in advance and my day is planned around it just like an important meeting with a client. If it’s scheduled, you will do it. If it’s not, you won’t.”

                                    Greg Rollett, The ProductPros

                                    (Photo credit: Work Life Balance Writing on Businessman’s Hands via Shutterstock)

                                    More by this author

                                    9 No-Brainer Ways to Track Employee Time Ask the Entrepreneurs: 12 Things Entrepreneurs Should Stop Doing Ask the Entrepreneurs: 9 Best Note Taking Tools Ask the Entrepreneurs: 12 Tips for Mastering Public Speaking Ask the Entrepreneurs: 9 Tasks You Should be Outsourcing

                                    Trending in Lifehack

                                    1 20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity 2 Forget Learning How to Multitask to 10X Your Productivity 3 How to Plan Your Life Goals and Actually Achieve Them 4 The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness 5 What Everyone Is Wrong About Achieving Inbox Zero

                                    Read Next

                                    Advertising
                                    Advertising
                                    Advertising

                                    Last Updated on July 27, 2020

                                    20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

                                    20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

                                    Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

                                    If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

                                    1. Create a Daily Plan

                                    Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

                                    Here’s How to Create a To-Do List that Super Boosts Your Productivity.

                                    2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

                                    Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

                                    3. Use a Calendar

                                    Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

                                    I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

                                    Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

                                    4. Use an Organizer

                                    An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

                                    Advertising

                                    These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

                                    5. Know Your Deadlines

                                    When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

                                    But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

                                    6. Learn to Say “No”

                                    Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

                                    Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

                                    7. Target to Be Early

                                    When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

                                    For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

                                    Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

                                    8. Time Box Your Activities

                                    This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

                                    Advertising

                                    You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: Get What Matters Done by Scheduling Time Blocks

                                    9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

                                    Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

                                    10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

                                    Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

                                    You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

                                    11. Focus

                                    Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

                                    Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

                                    Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

                                    12. Block out Distractions

                                    What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

                                    I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

                                    Advertising

                                    When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

                                    Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

                                    13. Track Your Time Spent

                                    When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

                                    You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

                                    14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

                                    You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

                                    Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

                                    15. Prioritize

                                    Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

                                    Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

                                    16. Delegate

                                    If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

                                    Advertising

                                    When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

                                    17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

                                    For related work, batch them together.

                                    For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

                                    1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
                                    2. coaching
                                    3. workshop development
                                    4. business development
                                    5. administrative

                                    I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

                                    18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

                                    What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

                                    One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

                                    While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

                                    19. Cut off When You Need To

                                    The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

                                    Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

                                    20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

                                    Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

                                    More Time Management Tips

                                    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                                    Read Next