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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!”

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          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

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                  “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.”

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                        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!

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                                “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)

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                                    Last Updated on September 17, 2018

                                    How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

                                    How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

                                    Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

                                    Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

                                    All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

                                    Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

                                    How bad really is multitasking?

                                    It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

                                    Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

                                    This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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                                    We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

                                    So what to do about it?

                                    Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

                                    Now, forget about how to multitask!

                                    Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

                                    1. Get enough rest

                                    When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

                                    This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

                                    When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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                                    2. Plan your day

                                    When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

                                    When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

                                    Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

                                    3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

                                    I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

                                    I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

                                    Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

                                    4. When at your desk, do work

                                    We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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                                    Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

                                    5. Learn to say no

                                    Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

                                    Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

                                    By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

                                    6. Turn off notifications on your computer

                                    For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

                                    Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

                                    7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

                                    Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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                                    You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

                                    The bottom line

                                    Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

                                    Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

                                    Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

                                    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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