Let’s face it, entrepreneurship isn’t the sunny walk in the park that corporate workers imagine it to be.
All too often, entrepreneurship is tagged as a way to instant freedom, when in reality it’s actually quite the opposite for the first few years. Running a business means that you’re completely in charge of it – there’s no boss to wait on to make decisions, there’s no coworker to blame for that late report submission. It’s just you, all you.
For a workaholic like me, that’s easily a recipe for disaster. I’m so passionate about my goals and what I do that I’ll lose track of time, meals and sleep just to get it done. I’ll be conversing with clients at 2 in the morning, even though I need to be up by 5 to get my day off on the right footing. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s not a healthy thing.
Sacrifices are necessary, but it’s easy for your sacrifices to become torturous to your health. The last thing you want to do is make your passion a pain. We don’t want that.
In one of my previous posts, Control Freaks Finish Last, I wrote on how easy it is to want to manage every aspect of your business that you lose yourself. (Note, nobody likes losing themselves.) This time around though, I’ll be laying out five tips that you can use to have a healthy work-life balance.
Tip #1 – Work-life balance is different for everyone
I think this is one of the biggest misconceptions that entrepreneurs walk around with. What might seem like a healthy work-life balance for you and your business might be unhealthy for another entrepreneur. It’s all about finding what works for you and the current situation that you’re in.
For example, if you’re running your business in your spare time after you get off your 9-5, your idea of work-life balance would be completely different from a full-time entrepreneur. Therefore, you need to sit down and map out just what kind of a work-life balance you’re after, and if the kind you want is conducive to the success of your business. Case in point, I’d love to sleep in till 12 every day, but I can’t because I know my business would suffer, and I’d end up broke *gasp*. So I wake up 5 and when I feel generous, 6:30.
Tip #2 – Add no to your vocabulary, and use it often
If you can’t say no, you can’t be an entrepreneur; it’s as simple as that. When I found myself eye-brow deep in work with barely enough time to breathe, I realized that it was because I couldn’t say no. I don’t think I ever refused a client. In my mind, it was okay because I was negotiating better prices for faster delivery – still, I often ended up shirking sleep and medicating myself with energy drinks and coffee. Needless to say, I crashed and burned pretty fast.
Adding no to your vocabulary will help you create the work-life balance that you’re after, regardless of your business structure.
Tip #3 – Schedule, schedule, schedule
I was opposed to scheduling before I became an entrepreneur. I’m not sure, but I was opposed to planning my days, because I thought I was being “spontaneous.” Still, without a schedule, your work time is going to easily spill over into your life time, and before you know it you’ll be replying to emails at three in the morning. In order to make my day more productive, as well as to ensure that I get finished with my day on time, so I don’t spend my life time working.
You need to set clearly defined boundaries. You need to define what time you’ll spend working, and what time you’ll spend doing regular activities, like hanging out with friends or destressing through some form of recreational activity. After you set these boundaries, you’ve got to stick to them. Otherwise, they’re pointless.
You can rock this thing called entrepreneurship, and life in general
I can assure you that if you apply the tips I’ve listed above, you’ll find the peace of mind that comes from (kinda) having your life under control. You can rock this thing called entrepreneurship; it just calls for innovation and cultivating the right habits.
Work-life balance is achievable. You can do it!