Being an entrepreneur requires total commitment to making your business work and staying afloat financially. It’s not always possible to keep regular work hours and go on leave when you would like to. While running your own company can be exciting and fun, because you are doing what you love, it is also stressful and exhausting.
When work becomes more stress and less fun, and your health becomes affected, you could be heading for burnout. Symptoms of burnout include irritability, insomnia, emotional responses, susceptibility to illness and even road rage.
Achieving a work-life balance is crucial. This entails balancing the major components of life by investing appropriate amounts of time, energy, and attention in all of them.
Here are seven tips for improving your work-life balance that I have found help me:
1. Schedule downtime, not just work
When planning your week, make sure to include time with family, friends and doing activities that you enjoy or find relaxing.
- Try this: Schedule downtime just as you would schedule your meetings and stick to it.
2. Write a to-do list for the next day
One of the biggest challenges at the start of a workday is simply figuring out what to do first. It’s easy to waste time in the morning getting back into the flow.
- Try this: Before you leave work, make a list of three things you need to accomplish tomorrow. The following morning, look at that list and get started on the tasks. Your morning will immediately become more productive.
3. Don’t take on more than you can handle
Many people find themselves with a work-life balance that’s out of whack because they take on more projects than they can reasonably manage. Sometimes executing a small number of projects well is better than juggling many larger projects and doing them poorly.
- Try this: Commit to not taking on new projects until you have completed the ones that you’re currently responsible for.
One of the most difficult things for an entrepreneur to master is the art of delegation. It is also easy to fall into the trap of micro-managing.
- Try this: Surround yourself with good employees you can trust to take the load off every now and again; employees who are competent, so that you don’t feel the need to micro-manage.
5. Use technology
Let technology help you to stay organised.
- Try this: Use the reminders and calendars on both your smartphone and email to help you through your daily tasks and commitments.
6. Take short breaks
Allow yourself to take short breaks during the day to make coffee, run an errand or check in with the family. You will be able to concentrate better when back at your desk.
- Try this: Set three hourly intervals where you remove yourself from your workstation to focus on another activity that is not work related and that you find relaxing or reenergising.
7. Time management
It’s all about focus and preventing distractions.
- Try this: Check your email now and again, not constantly. Manage your phone calls and messages; don’t get bogged down in answering those that can be delayed until you have the time to attend to them.
While this list may sound simplistic, it is very easy to let things slide when you are under pressure. Print it out and put it where you can see it so that it functions as a reminder every day. And remember the words of one of the world’s most famous entrepreneurs, Sir Richard Branson: “You are far more likely to succeed if you are having fun.”