As an entrepreneur, I spend some time reading about other entrepreneurs, more time reading about the entrepreneurial spirit, and A LOT of time reading about how to be successful as a small business owner. Why? Because I’m passionate about helping other business owners succeed. So, I forage for and collect the best tips and advice out there for you. (Thank me later!)
In fact, I sat down to write this article about ways to ramp up ROI and rock the wash world. But then, I came across an article that totally stopped me in my tracks…
Knee-deep in a quick read about effective business success strategies in Entrepreneur, I ran smack dab into a tip about avoiding burn out. Now bear with me for a second as I let you in on my immediate and overwhelming inner response to seeing the term “burn out”…
Yeah, right. Whatever… Ever heard of you snooze, you lose? We’re entrepreneurs, buddy. We live on coffee and adrenaline, In fact, it’s time for another cup…
But then, I read this: “This isn’t just a stale piece of advice: Your health is literally the most important thing in your life. When your body gives out, you’re done. Your heart doesn’t care how good a business you have; your circulatory system isn’t all that impressed with your money or accomplishments… You will burn out if you sacrifice your physical and mental health on the altar of business.”
This got me thinking about something we really don’t talk enough about as entrepreneurs: work-life balance.
How’s that Nonexistent Work-Life Balance Going?
According to research conducted by NodeSource, entrepreneurs rank work-life balance as the biggest challenge they face. Can you relate? I know I sure can… Let’s drill down into this stat a little deeper, though.
Small business owners around the country worry more about work-life balance than threats such as a tightening job market and cybersecurity breaches. But unlike the job market or cybersecurity, work-life balance doesn’t grab headlines. In fact, you may feel too busy to read about burn out let alone take positive action.
The thing is, your health and mind can’t wait around forever for you to stop being a workaholic and start living life. And, yeah, I mean it when I use the term “workaholic.” According to the Alternative Board, 30 percent of small business owners work 50 hours or more per week. Twenty percent work 60 hours or more per week. And wait for it, here’s the kicker. Eighty percent of business owners report that they work too much. Period.
Why are we working ourselves into early graves? Part of it stems from the passion we have for our business and its ultimate vision. Another part comes from the fact that we’re probably the most (or even only person) qualified and able to do certain tasks crucial to our business’s survival. According to researchers at MIT, physiology plays a role, too. “Entrepreneurs have higher-than-average brain dexterity, allowing them to switch easily between left and right brain activities and solve problems more creatively.”
We’re usually the most invested person in our company and its future. We very likely remain one of the most qualified members of our company team. And we do things more quickly and efficiently. So, we end up doing more of everything. How’s that nonexistent work-life balance treating you?
Just reading this article may be stressing you out. After all, you’re a busy individual (like me) with a million things on your plate that must get done. But the problem is, something’s got to give. Don’t let it be your health, your family, your marriage, or your life.
But if you decide to take better care of yourself and spend a little less time working, that means your work and success have to give, right? Not necessarily, but processes will need to change. Here are some suggestions for regaining work-life balance.
First, create a list of what needs to get done. Prioritize the items on this list, focusing on the most pressing matters and putting the others out of sight and mind. Here’s a caveat, though. Don’t focus solely on work as you craft your priority list. Think about home and other life priorities, too. (We’ll revisit this soon.) Congrats! Now you know what you should be working on.
But what about the rest of the crew? Go back over that list of priorities and delegate tasks to your employees. In the process of going through the list, you may even decide you need to hire a new employee or engage a new service. And remember how we told you to include tasks from your person life? Here’s why. If your house is a wreck, and you don’t have time to clean, do yourself a favor and hire a cleaning service. You’ve just removed some stress from your life. If you’re unable to shop for food or cook, give meal kits delivered to your door a try.
For work-related tasks, hire a freelancer or student intern. You have so many more choices than you may currently realize. And you may just end up enriching your workplace with new ideas and talents, too. Last but not least, schedule the heck out of your life. That includes scheduling time to spend with family and friends. Get it all on a calendar, and then stick to that schedule. Over time, adjust this schedule to optimize work-life balance. Not only does this strategy help you make better use of your time, but it lets you see in black-and-white what your current work-life balance looks like.
Commit to Work-Life Balance
Remember that old adage: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy?” Don’t be a dull boy or girl. You’ve only got one life to live. Get out there and enjoy it! Wasn’t taking control of your life what led you to be an entrepreneur in the first place? Well, it’s time to reign in over-functioning and get some good, old-fashioned work-life balance going.
Like what you read? Interested in learning more about success strategies for entrepreneurs? Check out our blog for the tips you need to make your wash and life shine.