As an entrepreneur or small business owner, you may have to work from home a…
June 5, 2019
How to Achieve Work-Life Balance in 2019
It’s difficult to start up a business. Long hours, little revenue coming in – and if it’s something you’re passionate about, you may find that you spend days, nights and weekends on the company.
Sounds dedicated, doesn’t it? Well, it’s actually a recipe for disaster.
According to Bank of America, 29% work between 51-70 hours per week. Almost half felt that running their business was demanding, and 24% have had a nightmare about their business failing. When your business starts invading your personal life, that’s when you know it’s time for a change.
Work-life balance is essential to maintaining sanity while you run your business. If you feel you’re burning the candle at both ends, there are some things you need to be aware of:
Stick to a 40-hour work week
This is tough for people, especially when the business is booming and customers are knocking at your door. But working overtime – into the evening and on weekends – can lead to burnout and affect your health. Eight hours seems to be the optimal time for a person to work and still have enough time for themselves and their family.
So how do you stick to that?
Be more productive when you are at work. You need to be able to achieve what Mihály Csíkszentmihályi referred to as “flow” – being in the zone and focused on your work. You can achieve that with as few distractions as possible.
If possible, check your email and voicemail only a few times a day. Productivity guru Tim Ferriss suggests checking it only twice a day and setting an autoresponder that tells people that. Some people, though, may rely on email and phone calls for their business. But the less you check it, the better chance you’ll be able to achieve flow
Learn to say no. You’re the boss; learn how to delegate. You can’t do everything. If you need help, then hire someone that can handle some of the more day-to-day distracting things that pile up. You can even hire a virtual assistant to handle chores, set schedules and call people back.
Get up earlier. Many productivity gurus have pointed toward successful business owners who get up early: Tim Cook, Jack Dorsey, Richard Branson and Howard Schultz all awaken before dawn or get into the office by 6 a.m. Using these hours when no one is awake to bother you can allow you to get a lot of things done. Even waking up early and staying at home can reap benefits such as focusing on your day, exercising or meditating (more on that later).
Set a goal for the day. Don’t go to work and react to everything. If you could get just one thing done that day to make it successful, what would it be? You may have 23 items on your to-do list, but prioritize them.
To achieve work-life balance, you have to have a life. You have to have something to go home to. For many of us, that life is family. You must create time for your spouse, partner or kids, even if it’s getting home in time for dinner every night. Put away your phone for a few hours and relax.
Get back to your hobbies. We all have hobbies, but they sometimes get forgotten about in the middle of growing a business. When was the last time you played piano, made something with your wood tools, or listened to a new album? Hobbies give us another interest outside of work and are a perfect and much-needed distraction from work.
Take a vacation (or three). Have you ever thought that weekends weren’t long enough to fully unplug? That’s what vacations are for! Go somewhere where you can relax; for some that may be a beach, and for others it may be sightseeing in a big city or hiking in a national park. Try not to glance at your phone too much; from time to time, an emergency may creep up, but tell your staff not to bother you unless it’s an emergency. They’ll survive for one week.
Meditate. We don’t want to sound too much like a self-help guru or new age practitioner, but meditation is good for you. Scientific studies have shown that mindfulness meditation – simply being in the moment and relaxing, not thinking of the past, future or anything else – can lower blood pressure, anxiety, increase your attention span, help you sleep better and make you a happier, nicer person. And it only takes 10-20 minutes a day.
Take care of yourself
What good is having a business if you aren’t around to enjoy the benefits? Taking care of yourself should be your number one concern.
Sleep. While seven to nine hours of sleep a night is optimal, many entrepreneurs burn the candle at both ends. Sleep deprivation can lead to memory loss, decreased concentration, mood changes and accidents. Sleep is important. Get enough of it.
Eat healthy foods. No, fast food for lunch and a pizza may seem like the only thing you have time for, but it’s ruining your body. They can lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack and stroke. If you don’t have time to fix a healthy meal, there are many meal kit services that deliver food to you.
Exercise. Exercise is not only healthy, but it’s a great way to get your frustrations out, clear your head and feel energized. Get outdoors and go for a jog in the park, or take a fitness class at your local gym. Any exercise is better than no exercise at all.
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