Finding Balance as an Entrepreneur

The “B” word, BALANCE!  That elusive, nebulous notion that we all hear about, but who has the time, right? Not us! We’re too busy and have no place for laziness. 


As an entrepreneur, is it smart to be lazy? NEVER! 


Yet, is it wise to be rested? ABSOLUTELY!


So, how do you make time to rest, balancing work and life, without feeling you are neglecting the business or the family? You have successfully managed your corporate budget yet struggle to master a healthy balance between work and life.


Think of time as the currency of your life. Our lives are the sum of what we have purchased with our time.  Wasted time equals a wasted life. If we focus on mastering time, we will master life.


Studies have shown that a poor work-life balance can have negative effects on your business and your health. Increased stress. Reduced productivity. Overall unhappiness.


The key to finding harmony in your work and in your personal life is to make balance a PRIORITY.


If you want to have a stable work-life balance, you have to be intentional about it. Many might create “To Do” lists for work and keep a “datebook” for personal time. Why separate the two as if they are independent of one another? A calendar is a plan for your professional AND personal time-, which is shared.


The problem with To-Do lists is they are deceiving. While the tasks are important, we often focus more on the number of checkmarks rather than the goal of the mission. At the end of the day, we admire our accomplishments. Surely, I’m a great time manager. Just look at all my checkmarks. Right?


We take pride in the number of checkmarks but with such quantity, what quality did we sacrifice?


Did we solve the problem yet ignore the person? 


Did we accomplish the “win” yet compromise our principles? 


Did we close the sale yet sabotage the production team’s ability to create a quality product?


Five Tips For The Optimal Work-Life Balance:


  1. Set your priorities

The majority of people look back on life wishing they had done things differently. When evaluating their life, few say, “I wish I had spent less time with the family.” Or “I should have ignored the business and just travelled more.”


Figure out what you want your priorities to be, not what you think they should be. The world will lead you to believe success is gained by hard work. I challenge you to think that success is found in smart work that is easily managed.


This simple question will help you determine what makes it on the list. Is this activity getting me closer to my goal or is it increasing the distance between my goal and me?


  1. Time planning


Take a look at your day, your week and how you spent your time. Did it align with your priorities? Identify those things that don’t matter to you and decide to do away with them or delegate them.


There are only 24 hours in a day. Use them well. You should reserve time for things that are rewarding – to your business, to your family, to your community, to you. There will always be uncomfortable challenges that demand your time. Just don’t let them hijack your balance.


“The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate

of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.”

-C.S. Lewis


  1. Make a schedule


If time is precious, you must commit to protecting it. The best way to not lose minutes is to reserve them with a schedule. 


Prioritize your time based on quality vs quantity. Most business leaders will say they have too many meetings yet the operation cannot function without them. Schedule meetings with specific start and end times, discussions with set agendas. Rather than work to do, your strategy should be to work to get things done.


Set aside time in the day to not be disturbed so you can dedicate time to pressing projects and critical assignments. Reserve time to rest!


Respect your private time. When you work, work. When you play, play. Protect your family time. It would have to be an emergency for you to reschedule an important business meeting. That same rule should apply to your personal and family time as well.


  1. Ask for help


Few successes are the result of a one-man workforce. When you have a strong team that respects your time, you will be one step closer to having that balance. 


Look at your schedule and your To-Do lists and find where others can help. Delegate what can be handled by others. You may find it easier to do it yourself, but you run the risk of compromising your priorities and your work-life balance.


You may need to hire a personal coach. These professionals are skilled at helping you assess your current work-life balance, prepare your priorities and implement good practices for achieving that optimal balance.


  1. Take breaks


We cannot ignore the need for rest! In an interview of over 300 entrepreneurs, Olympians and straight-A students, one of the 15 secrets uncovered was that most of them made sleep, relaxation and breaks a priority. 


For most white-collar workers today, our productivity and effectiveness are tied to the speed of our thinking. Without enough rest, our thinking slows down considerably.


Disconnect for a while. Turn off your cell phone, or at least silence the alerts. When you have made family time a priority, don’t let technology creep in and interrupt your personal time unless it is for an emergency.


Recharge your batteries. The benefits of getting proper rest for our bodies are remarkable. Proper rest and relaxation are necessary to replenish our energy and mental alertness. Along with rest, dedicate time to exercise. Physical activity relieves stress, helps clear your mind, and ultimately makes you more productive.


Take a vacation! You’re not running away from your responsibilities, you’re investing in your productivity. Studies show that long breaks from the office can recharge your energy making you more mentally focused, physically healthy and psychologically poised to take on the challenges of owning a business.


Finding balance in work and life is a challenge, for if it were easy we’d have fewer executives burn out and check out. When we make the commitment to making balance a priority we will certainly be met with resistance by those around us who have not yet seen the necessity of such a “renegade” position.


You will be called to carefully guard your schedule. Others will try to hijack your priorities, take over your to-do list, commandeer your breaks, and steal your rest. 


A survey of 2800 millennials conducted by talent assessment and analytics firm Jombay found that more than 80% rated quality of work is the top motivator for their work. Quality of work is not always derived by how we spend our workday but how we come to the workday and to what we leave the workday. That “bumper” of time is the LIFE.  We should work to live, not live to work. When we find that work-life balance, we truly find success.


In the West, we have a tendency to be profit-oriented, where everything is measured according to the results and we get caught up in being more and more active to generate results.


In the East — especially in India — I find that people are more content to just be, to just sit around under a banyan tree for half a day chatting to each other. We, Westerners, would probably call that wasting time. But there is value to it. Being with someone, listening without a clock and without anticipation of results, teaches us about love. The success of love is in the loving — it is not in the result of loving. ” – Mother Teresa


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