No matter where you work or what kind of work you do, it can be surprisingly difficult to strike a healthy work-life balance. Nobody can simply stop thinking about an issue at work as soon as they arrive back home, and millions of people are guilty of bringing their work home with them after a long day in the office. However, the concept of balancing work and life is especially tough for entrepreneurs.
When you’re managing your own business, it can feel like you’re constantly being pulled in a hundred different directions. To avoid burnout, it’s essential for entrepreneurs to learn how to prioritize tasks, say no, and take care of themselves. A healthy work-life balance should be sustainable for the long-run, allowing you to achieve your goals in and out of the workplace.
If your own life feels out of balance, here are 5 key tips to keep in mind:
Schedule time for your social life.
Brenden M. Egan, the founder and CEO of Simple SEO Group, recommends putting social activities, date nights, and other events on your calendar, and then treating them like non-negotiable business meetings. By carving out this time to maintain an active social life, you can plan your work schedule around your personal life, instead of the other way around. Your friends and loved ones will be delighted to see you more often, and being around people you care for will allow you to unwind and focus on things outside the office.
Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks.
Entrepreneurs can easily fall into the trap of believing they can take on everything by themselves. In fact, Jo Clarkson, the UK Operations Director at The Alternative Board UK, reports, “82% of business owners are working 40+ hours per week, but only 44% want to be. The best way to reduce your workload and get more time to spend with the people you care about is by delegating tasks you don't need to be doing yourself and creating a strategic plan that allows you to work on your business, rather than in it."
Remember that it’s OK to not personally respond to every email or spend your valuable time on tasks that could be delegated to someone else. Knowing your strengths is important so you can focus on making the most out of your business instead of worrying about every client, task, or opportunity that comes up.
Establish clear boundaries.
Communicating clearly and establishing firm boundaries will make it easier for you to separate your work life from your home life. If you don’t want to respond to phone calls from clients after 7PM because you want to spend time with your family, communicate this with your customers. Be firm with your boundaries, and people will quickly learn when they can and cannot reach you.
You shouldn’t feel like you need to justify taking “time off” from your work, but explaining your reasoning to customers can help them understand why you can’t immediately respond to them at any hour of the day. As long as you communicate respectfully, most people will respect your boundaries without question.
Putting in 14-hour days, surviving on nothing but fast food and coffee, and not getting adequate sleep will only make your work more difficult. If you want to perform at your best, you cannot disregard your basic needs. Resist the urge to power through exhaustion or illnesses. Try to eat a balanced diet, drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, and schedule regular check-ups and doctor appointments. Running your own business is already a challenge, so don’t make it more difficult than it needs to be by ignoring your health!
Network with other entrepreneurs.
Even with an active social life, it can feel lonely if you’re the only entrepreneur of your friend group. Sometimes, you just want to hear some advice from other business leaders, or vent to peers who can understand the problems you’re facing.
One great resource is the Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO), which includes group forums, mentorships, learning events, and social gatherings for local entrepreneurs to motivate and inspire each other. The EO Minnesota chapter alone consists of 100 successful business leaders in the Twin Cities area who can offer other members support, valuable insights, and good company. If you’d like to be a part of this thriving community, click here to begin the application process!